robertisenberg

Egypt: 9

In Uncategorized on May 16, 2010 at 10:09 pm

In Giza, there are two government shops, located right next to each other. One is a papyrus shop, which was a dream come true: I have always wanted to see paper made from scratch, and the process is simple but enjoyable to watch. We bought a number of manuscripts, all recreated from ancient sources. If we must amass souvenirs, these seemed particularly fitting for a writer.

The second shop sold fragrances, and this interest us at all. After all, nobody I know wears cologne or perfume; most of my friends would consider the practice tacky. Meanwhile, the store’s spokesman was a monotone lug — the kind of meathead who teaches middle-school social studies and coaches the soccer team.

“THIS IS ALSO THE FRAGRANCE KNOWN AS CHANEL NO. FIVE,” he yelled at us. “AS YOU CAN SEE, EUROPEAN FRAGRANCES CONTAIN FAR MORE ALCOHOL.”

To prove this theory, he drew a packet of kitchen matches, but he failed to strike the first three sticks. At last, he sprayed the Chanel No. 5 bottle, and the mist flared slightly. The Egyptian version, stored in an elegant bottle, did not.

I walked away with only this picture, which has delighted every woman I’ve shown it to. Take that, Chanel.

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