Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Pensacola Ramadan Lanterns

Have I mentioned how low my shopping resistence is? Oh? More than once? LLOOLLL . . . . it is a serious problem for expats coming back to settle. It is even a problem these days for expats coming back just for a few weeks! You see all the kinds of things available that you never see, or you see things you never buy at prices you cannot believe, and if you are returning, you return with a ton of chocolate chips (if you are me) and Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix, Knox gelatine, colored sugar crystals, and . . . well, you get the idea.

At one time, we could take two big duffels, even in economy. At one time, when you checked in overweight bags, the people checking you in just looked the other way, most of the time. So we brought stuff back, books, computers, printers, whatever you could get in a duffel – and trust me, you can get a LOT in a duffel.

There was one thing, though, that I couldn’t resist in Doha, and in Kuwait, the Ramadan lanterns. I loved those lanterns, so beautiful, so exotic. I bought many, different styles, I loved them.

So imagine, I walk into the local Pensacola TJMaxx and what do I see? These are advertised as ‘garden’ lanterns, but many of them bear an amazing resemblance to ‘Ramadan’ lanterns:

March 30, 2010 - Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Cross Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Shopping


  1. hi-I have a friend who has offered to bring me back a gift from Kuwait and I am wondering if you might have a suggestion as to something traditional that might be an “artifact” of the culture. I was so excited to see this posting adn then to see that the photo was at a Tjmaxx was so underwhelming. any ideas would be helpful. thnaks

    Comment by rob | August 14, 2010 | Reply

  2. Rob, there are very few things you can find that are typical of Kuwait. Most things you see on sale are Chinese or Indian.

    In the falcon souk, there are tiny sculptures of falcon heads and falcon hoods that fit on these. I think they are lovely, pertain to the traditional hunting culture, and are unique.

    At the Sadu House, you can find locally woven items – wall hangings, small bags, purses, carpets. These are more expensive, but traditional, and lovely and authentic.

    There are a few dealers, one in the Al Manshar Mall in Fehaheel, (across the street from Al Kout) who sometimes have other local traditional goods. From time to time he will have a pearl chest, or an authentic old house lantern or . . . you just never know. You have to ask for something really from the Gulf, and he has to believe it matters to you. He is back behind the little Chilis in the mall.

    The Rajabs used to have a wonderful shop in Salmiyya, torn down with all the other older complexes to raise new buildings. I don’t know if they have ever re-opened elsewhere, but they had lovely items, not necessarily Kuwaiti, but special.

    There are wonderful Kuwait dates still on the market, down in Mubarakiyya; I am not sure you can get them into the US unless they are commercially packaged.

    My husband brings back lots of packets of spices and pistacious and walnuts, not because we can’t get them here, but because they are so fresh in Kuwait.

    There are jewelers in the old Kuwait gold souk who make beautiful little gold bracelets laced with tiny pearls; they were traditional gifts for daughters, and some still carry them. Some Kuwaitis consider them old fashioned, but lovely is classic in my eyes. 🙂 They are expensive – and lovely.

    Some people buy carpets – they are still a good buy, if you have a reliable dealer, one you can trust. Some buy traditional clothing, mens and/or womens. We often have special requests for the sets of Hajj towels, huge cotton towels Moslem men wear when they go on pilgrimage to Mecca. They are a great favorite gift. 🙂

    If you don’t mind Iranian (next door to Kuwait), there are tablecloths, as well as carpets, and there are beautifully inlaid boxes, so many beautiful Iranian things.

    And there is always amber. There are also prayer beads in all colors and in all price ranges, some truly lovely ones in real stones.

    There is a special sort of incense called “oud’ and special burners and tiny briquettes of charcoal on which to burn the oud; you might like that.

    Hope you get something you love, Rob.

    Comment by intlxpatr | August 14, 2010 | Reply

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