Friday, February 12, 2010

Shopping Festival Finds and Randomness

The other day we went to the exhibition centre in Seeb near the Golden Tulip for the shopping festival thing there: i.e there is a lot of booths selling perfume, cosmetics, African carvings, shaylas, jalabiyias, (the UGLIEST weddings dresses you ever saw---one looked like it had glittery rhinestone spiders taped to it), curtains, bedding, toys, shoes, purses (fake Louie anyone?)... All in all a rewarding day/evening. My friend came up with souvenirs for her family (she went with striped galaba men's robes for her male relatives and henna tubes and jalabiyias for her female friends and relations), other friend got a clingy jersey dress from a rip-off Egyptian vendor which we screwed over likewise as he tried to rip off Omani women, oh and she got a purse, I got shoes (yes, I never spend more than five rials on shoes), and two shaylas. I COULD HAVE bought a 20 rial jalabiyia for parties for 3 rial (I am THE QUEEN of bartering BTW), but hey, yeah know, it is easier to barter when you DON'T CARE. And I am broke so "it don't matter" LOL.

I know, I know, shopping experiences are boring to document, because no one REALLY cares WHAT you bought, but... I also had men randomly walk by and say that they thought I was Syrian (which I knew enough Arabic to understand!!!! YAY!!!!), and a bunch of women grabbed me by my arm and held me (I'm serious) and told me in Arabic how pretty I was (kinda creepy) and one Egyptian man told me and my friend that we were cats. I like cats, so this may be good, but then, people kinda get offended when you call them anything related to animals here so... he might have been implying something else entirely? Also, little children kept bopping me in the head with Mickey Mouse balloons, and shooting babies with toy AK-47s. Kinda disturbing.

To ask how much something is at one of these things, say "kam hatha?" Be able to count to ten in Arabic. 1 is wahid, 2 is ithnayn, 3 is thalatha, 4 is arba, 5 is khamsa, 6 is sita, 7 is saba, 8 is thamaniyia, 9 is tisa, 10 is ashra. For thirteen, people will ashra, and then they'll say thalatha right after. If they tell you something costs 10 rials, it costs three, and five is a fair price. If you wear a very expensive blingy abaya, you will get charged more. If you say you are Canadian, they usually give you a discount. IF YOU KNOW HOW TO BARTER!!! Otherwise, you shame your fellow Canadians.

Yes, and our cab driver drove us to Muwalla instead of Seeb so we had to phone an Omani friend to tell the fellow where to turn around. If we hadn't mentioned anything, we think he would have just kept driving.

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