Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Shopping List

So Mr. Muscato is heading home for the holidays (the Eid al-Adha, darlings - a very big thing in these parts) to see his mother (Mrs. Mr. Muscato? No, I think I'll go with an Arabic-English hybrid and call her Umm-in-law) and (very) extended family. He's even leaving a week before the holiday because Umm-in-law needs at least that amount of time ahead of the festivities to gaze rapturously at him, parade in front him of a series of potential brides (Umm-in-law, Queen of DeNial), and, of course, cook for him.

Aside from far too much quiet chez nous (I'm with Mr. Peenee when it comes to separation: "A weekend without him reminds me, potently, that he is the center of the universe..."), the major practical effect of these occasional family forays is the pressing question of Presents. You don't go to Egypt, you see, without a little something not just for friends and family, but for most of their friends and family, and a few bit and bobs in reserve just in case, as well.

Therefore, we headed out to the edge of town to the remarkable Rameez Centre, aka the One Rial Store. It's a phantasmagoria of tack, a warehouse full of the very lowest rung of mass production, and a repository of things too horrible even for Value City and other similar destinations back home.

I adore it.

While Mr. M. busied himself buying mountains of children's clothes (actually a real bargain there if you look carefully), "Limoges" knick-knacks, and off-brand colognes (always in demand by his sisters-in-laws' endless numbers of brothers), I pottered about looking for treasures. Nothing truly deathless on this round, but I was amused by a couple of things.

Marketing for the most conservative end of the market in these parts presents some real challenges. Here we have a ladies' shampoo called "Al Abaya" after the long black cloak/coat that is de rigueur streetwear hereabouts (and legally so in Saudi). Perhaps it has special properties that prepare one's hair for being covered completely at all times...

She might not rise to the heights of Joe's new mascots Benign and Blandness Girls, but this Barbie Wannabee is rocking a kind of Circassian-Bride look that recalls early-70s YSL, in packaging that is delightfully dada: "Super Star / Twinkle Enter / Collection Edition". I'm heartbroken that my wholly inadequate cell-cam wasn't able to catch the tag above the headline, an imperative we could all take to heart: "Quote the Vogue Current". Or else!

Finally, an instruction that I have no intention, now or in the future, of defying. In these situations, Grandmother Muscato always recommended hot baking-soda baths.

I don't know what Umm-in-law would recommend, but it would definitely be fattening. And involve getting married.


  1. It could be worse. Umm-in-law could be mustering potential grooms for his inpsection.

  2. Oh, he never had any trouble mustering those on his own.

    Until I got my Jungle Red claws into him, that is...