Due to the exceedingly hot and now humid weather, our daily exercise on the Corniche has gone on hold, to be replaced by walks around the local shopping Malls.
Villagio offers a mock-Venetian indoor, air-conditioned experience and a 45 minute stroll under blue skies along the canal, round to the designer shops, up along by Carrefour, and back to the fast-food and restaurants where I might reward myself to a Coldstone ice-cream. Ezdan Mall provides less interesting vistas but does have the benefit of being maze like, so we tend to walk much farther than intended in an attempt to get back to where we started.
During a late afternoon walk last week, a perfume shop in Ezdan Mall attracted my attention. In the window was a box containing a lump of wood placed on a soft cushion. In front was a label telling me I could be the proud owner of the said lump of wood (and I assume the box as well) for 19,800 in Saudi Riyals (£3,200 or $5,400).
The wood is agarwood, reputedly, and judging by the sticker price the most expensive wood in the world. It’s used to make Oud, a very popular and expensive fragrance for both men and women in the Arab world. It can also be broken into small pieces and burnt as ‘bukhor’ a pungent incense which makes me cough.