I went with Alam a few months ago while he got a new battery for a teacher’s car. We drove through a rough part of town where the auto repair places were and we stopped at a small shop that sold batteries.
He greeted the owner and introduced me. The man greeted me in one of the few English words he knew, “Welcome, welcome”, he said. Then he sent a kid to get three old plastic lawn chairs and we sat outside the shop while they talked in Arabic.
In a few minutes, a boy served us some soft drinks, and the two men continued to talk. I thought they would be working out the battery problem, but I could tell they were just visiting. After a few minutes, the man got up and went to work changing the battery. A few minutes later we were on our way.
That happens all the time here. You are given coffee and encouraged to sit down and visit before you begin business. I went to the dentist to have my teeth cleaned, and afterwards we sat in his office and drank coffee and visited.