Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

The Crazy Ladies Say Goodbye

We were gathered at my place for coffee, so much laughing, so many topics. One friend stands up and I know, to my sorrow, it is time to say goodbye.

“If we go right now,” she says, “We can make it to the fabric souks before they close. Want to go?”

Her question is both a query and a challenge. That’s the kind of women my friends are. They push the limits.

“I can’t . . . ” I begin, thinking of the packing, the details that are still to be done before my departure, “Wait!” I finish, “Let me grab my purse,” and I run to the back to grab my handbag – and money. One more trip to the fabric souks? How could I say no? An opportunity for one more adventure with my friends? LLOOLLLL, bring it on!

I had shown them earlier a piece of fabric I could not resist, even though it was WAY overpriced:

When we first saw it, they wanted 6KD per meter, a price for cotton that would make any serious minded fabric connoisseur gasp. I didn’t buy it, but neither could I get it out of my head. I went back with another fabric-friend a few days later and bought a meter; this time the price was 5KD, and it is still shockingly expensive, but the store won’t come down and I will be leaving shortly. There was another piece, purple, with big Arabic or Persian letters, that I couldn’t get out of my mind. . .

The woman who I saw it with first said “why didn’t you buy it when you were with me? I wanted to buy it, too!”

“I didn’t dare!” I explained. “I knew you would think me foolish to pay that price!”

So off we went, back to the fabric souks, arriving just as many shops were closing. She bought a meter – at 4 KD/meter (oh ouch!) and I bought some embellished cotton for a summer dress, then she hustled me out of the store.

“But I thought we were meeting up with (our other friends) here!?” I resisted.

“I just talked with them! They told me to get the blonde out of the store so they could get a better price,” she explained. “We are going off to buy some thread and will meet up with them.”

I am NOT blonde.

“No, but you are the kind that makes the prices go up, you look European, we call you blonde,” she explained.

I am too amused to be insulted. LLOOLL, I am a blonde. I look too European. I love these ladies, they tell me exactly what they are thinking, and only a fool would take offense. We have such a good time together; I just need to remember to give them my money and let them buy for me.

I remember once, years ago, when I had a Thai friend in Damascus, and I lived in Amman. We would visit back and forth, and once, I gave her $100 and told her to buy me things with it.

“What should I buy?” she asked.

“Oh, some copper pots and pans, maybe some brocade, you’ll know what to buy, you have such a good eye,” I told her.

A month later, a huge carton arrived, HUGE. As I opened it, I pulled out enough beautiful Damascus-made items to start a store, each unique, gorgeous, and how on earth did $100 buy all this?

Same with my friends. They get the really good prices. As hard as I bargain, they have the advantage.

It was late in the day when I returned to the chalet, but oh, what a day, what fun, and what a great way to spend my last hours in Kuwait. 🙂

Thank you, my friends, for all the good times. 🙂

February 16, 2011 - Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Friends & Friendship, Kuwait, Shopping

3 Comments »

  1. My female colleagues always tell them they’re teachers because they know teachers don’t make much money and almost always get a better deal 🙂

    Comment by Ken | February 16, 2011 | Reply

  2. what a great, sweet story (and I LOVE the fabric!).

    “blonde” in Arabic is what we would translate as “fair”. I’m always thrown by what counts as “fair”, too 🙂

    love you and hamdella 3a salame!

    Comment by adiamondinsunlight | February 17, 2011 | Reply

  3. Ken! What a great idea! Wish I had thought of that!

    Little Diamond, it was so much fun. One guy re-opened his store for me, LOL. Guess they still remember me down there. 🙂

    Comment by intlxpatr | February 17, 2011 | Reply


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