Friday, January 27, 2006

Slipper Quest, 2006

Winter in Kuwait is worth a few eye-rolls to someone used to pipe-bursting frigid winters. Any time someone bleats "it's cold today," I start giggling. It gets chilly enough for both a sweater and a light coat sometimes, but I haven't once regretted leaving my mittens and parka at home.

Nevertheless, the tile floors in my apartment do chill my lower extremities. Meaning my toes get cold.

Socks haven't beaten back the chill. I needed slippers with rubber or plastic soles.

This afternoon, I hopped the 505 bus up the Gulf Road past Kuwait Towers to Sharq Souk, the mall I'd visited on my first night in town. Slipper Quest 2006 didn't produce ideal results. Debenham's had lots of toasty slippers in sizes too small for my big feet. The 1.50 dinar slippers at Sultan Centre (the local equivalent of Shop-Rite or Safeway) were one-size-fits-all—if you are a member of the Yeti family (speaking of which, did anyone notice that the Malaysians are hot on the trail of Big Foot? But I digress.). A nice Filipino saleswoman walked me over to the KD 2.50 section and there I acquired the necessary foot coverings. Not furry or wooly as I was searching for, but I was ready to take what I could get as I don't plan on carrying these back to the States with me. KD 2.50 is USD 8.50. For a cheap pair of slippers. I'm missing dollar stores at this point.

I walked back through the mall, dosing myself on fast food with the excuse that I needed more salt in my diet since I'd been dehydrated. What a difference the time of day makes! When I'd visited Sharq last, it had been filled with teens and young adults, all decked out in hair gel and romantic flowing princess outfits. The afternoon clientele was nearly all families. Women were covered in black robes and veils. Men wore dishdashas—long loose robes and head coverings.

Children were everywhere. Baby carriages seemed as likely to be pushed by men as by women, which caught me by surprise. Older children appeared to bear some responsibility for the younger children.

Last night, I'd been in a completely different sort of shopping center. It was in the middle of town, its clientele far from the glamorous nightclub-looking denizens of Sharq or the teens of Marina Mall. The downtown shopping center was the melting pot of malls, with few Kuwaitis in sight.

Mr. Fixit took Sven, Mrs. Fixit, and me to the pirate DVD shops in the basement of the shopping center. It was a little Bollywood empire, with each of four shops competing for our attention with the latest Bollywood video. The Fixits and Sven paged through the available Hollywood DVDs while I turned my attention to the video screen of the shop next door.

"Sanjana, I love you," belted out the handsome Indian star as he swung Sanjana out over the bow of a cruise ship. Wait, I'd seen this. I'd watched half of this movie in the lobby of Econolodge in Dar Es Salaam while waiting for someone to get off the manager's computer so that I could use his internet. In this movie, Sanjana's parents tried to set her up. The boy they'd set her up with didn't feel like showing up, so he'd sent his friend. The friend and Sanjana fell in love, and then the parents found out the future Mr. Sanjana was an imposter. How did it end? I never found out. The internet became available and I'd forgotten about Sanjana's dilemma until this moment.

The shopkeeper, a young Indian guy with a doo-rag pulled tightly over his hair, instructed his helper to fast-forward so that I could see the end. Too far. All I got was an ensemble of dancing Bollywood actors doing a complex routine as the credits rolled. The shop staff looked to me hopefully.

"Thank you. That's exactly what I wanted to know," I said politely. The Fixits and Sven—DVDs in tow—showed up. We left Sanjana behind and went for some curry.


Jared said...

How did it end? Who did she choose? Now you've left me hanging? Don't be cruel...

scarfalonius said...

Yeti quote of the day:
"During the late occidental Mousterian culture, relic populations of Cro-Magnoid developed into allochthonous or autochthonous soanian-mousterian civilizations of Markansou, thus hybridizing into occurrences with different timing."

So there you are.

More pictures of yetis can be found at

Personally, I'm hoping they find some live Homo Floresiensis - hobbits.

Marie Javins said...

How the hell do I know who Sanjana chose? All I saw was a bunch of people in an ensemble cast hopping around and singing. I'm as in the dark as you are. Someone tell me. Okay, I know it all worked out but HOW did the scriptwriters work it out? Did Sanjana's boyfriend have a secret inheritance? Was he just slumming it to find a wife like Eddie Murphy in Coming to America? Or was he just a modest fellow and Sanjana had a falling-out with the parents or--?

Marie Javins said...

I had this idea once. Almost put it into action but someone owned at the time.

Backstory: A reckless sherpa sneaks into the yeti cave and puts in a webcam. Now you can turn on at any time and see the yeti familiy in their home.

Then you have a fuzzy, lo-res group of people dressed in furs. You tape them doing various yeti-like activities and then put it on a loop. And voila, is born.

As for that "Gorgilla" Marvel Comics reference, I'll check the Marvel server today to see if stuff that old has been archived. I don't buy into that as evidence of the yeti unless it was written by someone other than Stan Lee. Stan just made stuff up (example: radiation gives you superpowers as opposed to cancer). I want a scientist, dammit!

Anyway, in the end, that famous grumpy mountaineer guy with two last names saw the yeti and researched it. He found it. It's a special kind of bear that stands up on its hind legs. I can't remember the guy's name right now. Messner. That's it. Reinhold Messner.

You know the Malaysians just want tourists, says cynical wallowy Marie. The yeti range is Tibet and Nepal.

scarfalonius said...

Isn't Messner the guy who said Hitler claimed he was descended from yetis?

Now how did I know that little piece of trivia....

Someday, they will invent a screw-in tap so we can empty our brains of totally useless information.

Marie Javins said...

And I've just spent another five minute that I'll never get back on Googling useless information.

>What is the Nazis’ connection with the yeti?

One Nazi man, an SS man, was sent by Hitler and Himmler to the Himalaya to search for the yeti. The Germans were hoping that the yeti could be the basis [or missing link] of the Aryan race. Himmler was sick about this stuff.

The man’s name was Professor [Ernst] Schaefer. He died a few years ago. I had contact with him, and I had a few fights with him. He tried to hide his identity, because he was in prison in Nuremberg for three years. He was a great scientist, but he was really also involved in this crazy Nazi philosophy.

Did this Nazi believe the yeti was a bear?

Schaefer found out that behind the yeti probably is a Tibetan bear, and he brought two to Salzburg. He told me before he died, “I was quite sure that the Tibetan bear is the yeti, but if I had said this to the Nazis, they would have killed me.”

Sara Kocher said...

My own 5 minutes of Googling that I'll never get back: could the Sanjana movie possibly be Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon?

I found it reviewed (thumbs down) on Planet Bollywood at

and there's a plot synopsis on at

If yes, then bad news. She goes for the guy her parents wanted and finds he's a better match than the one she accidentally picked for herself. A lesson for us all, one way or another.

Sara Kocher said...

Whoops, messed up the Planet Bollywood link. It should be:

Marie Javins said...

That's it all right. Wow, I never would have called that ending.

I wonder if Sanjana's mother can set me up. I don't pick men very well on my own.

Anonymous said...

hi marie,

Glad to see ur getting the hang of Kuwait.About the movie,it is "main prem ki diwani hoon" and the ending is that she marries her boyfriend ,the impersonator. It happens only after she agrees to marry the guy her family picked out for her(to save family honor and out of love for parents!!) The real guy finds out just before wedding that shes in love with other guy and moves aside for him while convincing the family to accept him, by giving him a high paying job!!! Lame ass movie,and it Bombed at the box offfice. too much info,I know!Just thought I'd make the correction!

Marie Javins said...

Hooray, Sanjana got her man. I know it's lame-ass but I hate seeing half a movie.