Saha 3idkoum!


There is nothing like an Algerian barber. Finding an Algerian barber has been one of my top priorities whenever I moved somewhere; that is two occurrences. The haircut lasting a minimum of 30 minutes gives you the feeling the barber is giving it his all, and the result is always perfect compared to those few experiences I had with non-Algerian professionals. And let’s not forget the way he drinks his coffee while cutting your hair, or how he apologizes because he went out to smoke his cigarette. The other reason why I like Algerian barbers is all those discussions you hear in the shop.

My barber’s name is Mohamed. He’s a Kabyle from Algiers and he employs two other men: an Algerian from the East and a Tunisian who spent too much time with Algerians that he seems to have forgotten his country. The triplet’s specialty is political analysis but they seldom talk of Algerian domestic affairs as they prefer international ones. I’ve heard them analyse 911, the US invasion of Afghanistan, the second Gulf war, Saddam’s execution, NATO’s war in Libya, etc. but I missed their analysis of Gaddafi’s killing.

A few days ago the topic was Eid celebrations as they were making arrangements for the sheep sacrifice. The discussion went as follows:

Mohamed to Algerian: Shall we do like last year and use your car?
Algerian to Mohamed: No, to each their car ya hbibi. Last year with two sheep in my little car I could have lost my driver license.
Algerian to me: You know last year we celebrated in the garden of someone I know. And believe me the car kept slaloming on the highway with the two sheep alive and kicking; we could have died.
Mohamed to Algerian: Yakhi habess! Why say someone you know, say he’s the grand-father of lemra wella hshamt?
Mohamed to me: And he says a garden… It was actually a 2 square metres space. Garden ta3 tmeskhir.
Algerian to me: Laughing, and after we killed the sheep we found out they were females.
Tunisian to all: So you finally admit it. Matjouzsh for Eid… You know you can go for a female only if you’ve looked everywhere and couldn’t find a male. So did you find any baby sheep in their bellies?
Mohamed to Tunisian: No they were still jeunes-filles. And stop with it, at least we did something. Look at yourself, you went 600km away and came back with only 2kgs meat in a bag.
Tunisian to Mohamed: Yes only 2kgs because I gave everything to the poor. This is the point in Eid. Yakhi hala, sacrificing females….
Mohamed to Algerian: BTW I am selling my car so how would I do if it’s sold before Eid?
Algerian: Ok in case your car is sold then we would use mine.

On this sacred day in this sacred month I wish everyone a blessed Eid, and hadj mabrour wa sa3y mashkour wa dhanb maghfour to all the Muslim pilgrims.

Saha 3idkoum everyone. T3aydou bessaha w lahna fi hyatkoum w hyat waldikoum. Ghafara Allahou lana wa lakoum.

9 thoughts on “Saha 3idkoum!

  1. Saha 3aidek

    La première fois où à l’étranger, je suis allé chez le coiffeur, c’était une femme, ça m’a fait tout drôle, j’étais pas à l’aise… Le mien s’appelait Boualem, un personnage haut en couleur décédé cet été. Mon coiffeur depuis l’époque où c’était mon père qui m’y emmenait jusqu’à l’âge adulte.

    Alors j’imagine parfaitement l’ambiance que tu décris et l’gasra typique du coiffeur, des clients et des pas clients qui sont juste là pour causer… quoique je les imagine mal parlant en anglais.

    • Saha 3idek nta zada.

      C’est marrant comme notre societe, bien que tres diverse, peut etre monolithique sur certains aspects. J’ai eu aussi mes cheveux entre les mains d’une coiffeuse, une fois, et c’etait bizarre… Y compris dans sa facon de les laver.

      Je considere les pas clients presents avec bienveillance contrairement aux clients absents. Il m’est toujours desagreable de voir deux clients qui attendent, d’entrer et d’entendre le coiffeur me dire qu’il y en 4 autres devant moi et qui sont dehors…

  2. I agree entirely. The only times I get a really good haircut is when I am in Algeria. When I was a kid I was always amazed when reading the diplomas barbers would display in their windows showing the gold medals they had won. I often wondered if we really have some of the best barbers in the world. I haven’t visited the entire world but I think Algerian barbers are certainly among the best.

  3. Je ne savais pas que le mouton de sacrifice devait être male! Et le coiffeur aussi!

    Bien sure étant une fille, les scènes que vous racontez, je ne les aurait vu que dans des films, ceci dit une fois je suis allé chez un coiffeur (des ZOMMES) faute de coiffeuse dans la ville ou j’habitais (jadis) et il m’a bien gargât les cheveux!

    Saha Eidkoum

    • A ce que je sais un femelle peut etre sacrifiee. Par contre le coiffeur est forcemment un homme qui ne coiffe que les hommes, donc chez qui tu n’aurais pas pu aller 🙂

  4. Taqaballa allahou minna wa minkoum.
    Aidek Mabrouk à toi ainsi qu’à tes proches et amis et inch’Allah t’as pu toi avoir ton kebch aussi 🙂
    Sinon, ne t’en fais pas, chez la coiffeuse, ça se passe exactement de la même façon…

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