A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

Archive for August, 2009

eau d’abaya

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on August 16, 2009

Americans whose knowledge of the Arab world – and particularly the Gulf – comes solely from television and other media miss out on one crucial aspect of life in the region: the delightful way that women smell. This is a perfume-friendly region, and while walking past a man has often left me choking in a plume cloud of the local version of Drakkar Noir, walking past a woman has more often left me just plain envious.

The perfumes I smell aren’t ones I associate with Americans – and certainly far from the ones I wear (Opium, Narcisse, Liberté). They’re full of baby powder and light florals, which should smell nauseatingly sweet but instead smells delightful. And they instantly make me feel that my perfumes smell heavy and overdone.

So when I found myself at the Four Seasons spa in Doha, cleaning up after spending an afternoon on its beach, I clustered around the grooming table with several abaya’ed women. We dried our hair, fussed with face creams, and … tried on the spa’s suggested perfume.

It wasn’t anything like my usual perfumes. It was full of baby powder and light florals, and it had a name that suggested both a spa experience and an ESL moment: Pure Treat Blossom. I loved it.

I smell like an abaya! I told my aunt happily when I returned home. She smiled – she knew exactly what I meant. And I was even happier later that evening, when a short Amazon search told me that I could smell like an abaya for some time to come, for only $12.99 plus shipping:

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Pure treat, indeed :).

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Posted in fashion, Qatar, women | 3 Comments »

water where you least expect it

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on August 11, 2009

For the past two weeks, I’ve been doing a fine job of ignoring my half-written Doha posts. But this past weekend, a chance encounter with a stray water bottle reminded me that I have much to do before this blog goes back on hiatus.

This past Saturday I found myself visiting my friend J, and looking at the eclectic liquor collection on J’s kitchen counter. Banana rum, flavored vodka, something pink and fruity – something for everyone in need of a party drink, it seemed.

And then I saw something for me: a tall skinny water bottle, with a design and color scheme that reminded me of some familiar water towers:

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You have a bottle of water from Kuwait! I said to J in excitement.

What? J asked, clearly not paying particular attention either to me or the counter-top liquids.

When were you in Kuwait? I asked, still excited.

I’ve never been to Kuwait, J said, surprised. Why are you asking?

I held up the bottle, with something of the same gravity that the Statue of Liberty holds her lamp.

This bottle is from Kuwait, I said, much as if I were saying, This is the Holy Grail. Sometimes I get a bit over-enthused.

I’ve never been to Kuwait, J insisted, frowning. I think the bottle is from my trip to Turkey.

Sometimes I have the patience to explain that in Turkey people speak Turkish, which is written in Roman script, and in the Arab world people speak Arabic, which is written in the Arabic script. Sometimes I don’t. So I just smiled and said: I’ve always wanted to go to Turkey.

I’ve always wanted to go to Turkey, which (according to J) imports its water from Kuwait :).

Posted in Kuwait | 1 Comment »