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3/9/09 Word of the day: Hleeb

Hleeb is milk. It can refer to milk fresh out of a cow, in a bottle, or in powder form.

Given how much time I spend in coffeeshops when I travel, and how much I despise coffee and get plenty of tea at friends' and neighbors' houses, I order Hleeb a lot.

In my favorite cafe in SouqTown, the waiters almost don't have to ask any more, except on hot days (when I might order juice). Cold days, chilly days, rainy days, foggy days...I'm ordering Hleeb b shokolat. Milk with chocolate, aka hot cocoa.

Every once in a while, I find a cafe that doesn't have any chocolate powder on hand. I usually settle for Hleeb b sukkar, sweet milk. One day recently, when I was killing time in a bus station (the 12:00 bus arrived at 1:45, as it turned out), I went to order a hot beverage and got a surprise. "We don't have any chocolate," the friendly barrista explained in Tam, "but would you like Hleeb b Leepton?" Leepton, aka Lipton, is Westerners' tea. Lipton tea packets are available in nearly every hanut, but are sold almost exclusively to tourists and hotel owners, as far as I can tell.

I was so surprised by the counter-offer that I accepted it without thinking. I really had no idea if Lipton tea would make for a good milky tea...but it was awfully chilly, and I figured that, with enough milk and sugar, nearly anything tastes good.

Turns out Hleeb b Leepton is great. It won't supplant Hleeb b shokolat in my affections any time soon, but it's good to know that I have a viable alternative in the event of a chocolate-drought crisis. :)

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