Farook Prepares for Umrah, The Day Before Departure
Out of time, we finally had to get busy about buying the necessary gifts before his wife became annoyed. Those who believe that Muslim men are never henpecked are, of course, parochial fools. Men everywhere are henpecked. Such is the human condition.
First, we drove to Sharjah, which is a different Emirate, meaning another city-state. Sharjah is located just north of Dubai, and is known for being cheaper. On the main road from Dubai to Sharjah, called Ittihad, a few kilometers from the border is a mall called Sharjah City Centre. Just before the mall are two stores with big signs, 'Everything $2.70 or Less'. We pulled into the first one and there were shirts for $1.35, and Farook filled a shopping cart.
That done, we drove to Ajman, which is the Emirate just north of Sharjah. There we went to a store called Azita Trading with the same 'Everything $2.70 or Less' sign. It had a bigger selection than the store in Sharjah. Farook bought about 10 prayer 'carpets' for $2.70 each. Most prayer carpets that are actual woven carpets cost at least $20, which was far more than Farook was willing to spend. The $2.70 prayer 'carpets' were not what I'd call a carpet, they were more like sheets of canvas. I questioned about having to kneel on such 'carpets,' thinking they would not be very comfortable.
'No need comfort when praying,' was Farook's answer.
There was Arabic incense in glass bottles for $2.70 or in plastic bottles for $1.35. Farook, of course, selected the incense in plastic. 'No need fancy bottle, just incense,' he explained.
This time, Farook completely filled two shopping carts. In addition to the prayer carpets and incense, he bought lots more shirts and pants and sports outfits and gift bags in which to put the gifts.
Finally, Farook drove me home and we went to a tobacco store where Farook haggled over some tobacco to smoke in what were called hookahs in the 19th century, but today the word shisha seems to be slipping into the English language, since the New York Times writes about the shisha parlours in New Jersey, shisha being the modern Arabic word for hookah. Farook bought a large number of small- and medium-sized boxes of tobacco in every conceivable flavour: grape, double apple, chocolate, licorice, cherry, coffee, peach, etc., etc.
And he was finally done and ready to depart.
And I also figured out why I had been invited to tag along: Farook was buying presents for his in-laws. His wife had spent at least $30 on each present she'd bought, so, just in case she was not thrilled at the quality of the gifts Farook had gotten, he planned to blame me, saying I had insisted on dragging him to the 'Everything $2.70 or Less' stores when he'd wanted to buy gifts that were more up-scale.
So Farook is gone for the next month. I'll have to ask him how well his gifts went over when he gets back.