Sunday, January 31, 2010

Clothes Make The Man

You detail-minded types out there are no doubt asking yourselves: forget about the Russian sluts, X. What happened in the aftermath of you having to throw away an entire bag of clothing when you left Russia, due to excessive airline baggage fees? Have you been going about in only three changes of clothes, like a commoner?

(In point of fact I threw away loads of cheap clothes before I left Russia, also.)

Happily, replacing the cheap clothes -- almost all of it bought at after-Christmas sales at the Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and TJ Maxx -- with equally cheap clothes.

The nearest city -- a fifteen minute drive from our college -- is the nicest Southeast-Asian city in the Middle East, which I will refer to as Al-Filthy. Very rarely do you see local people there -- it's almost entirely populated by imported labor. Fillipinos, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Indians, the occasional Ethiopians, and just very rarely the occasional white foreigner venturing timidly from their compounds. It is devoid of chain shops and restaurants except for a Pizza Hut and McDonalds, and is a stinking, filthy, crowded, chaotic mess. The streets teem in the evening with men without much to do, spitting and smoking and waiting in endless lines at the cash transfer places to send money back home.

There are loads of cheap Indian and Asian restaurants there, and there are also loads of shops selling cheap clothes, gold, fake watches, and electronics. (I have Bangkok flashbacks every time I go there.)

My favorite shop is a Fillipino clothing outlet that sells an interesting combination of factory seconds, second-hand stuff, remaindered and unsold sweat shop clothes of various brands (including Gap, Old Navy, etc.) and stuff that I think has just flat-out been hijacked off of cargo ships. A pair of trousers costs less than $10; you can get three button-down shirts for about $8.

Much like a real Old Navy, the clothes is just kind of piled up in heaps and forced onto racks at random -- you have to dig for awhile to find the good stuff, probably making yourself vulnerable to scorpion bite and N1H1, but as it happens there's not much else to do here.

So it was no trouble at all to rebuild my ragamuffinish wardrobe of ill-fitting blue and grey button down shirts, plain t-shirts, cheap cargo pants and cotton trousers, for considerably less than $100.

So take that, greedy airlines with your high fees and pornographic body scans!


Anonymous said...

Do you drive? Can you get a Saudi license?

English Teacher X said...

I can, but I don't. A lot of my colleagues have cars. Personally I am wary of the insane third-world driving here.