Another day of work and for the most part, business as usual on that end. The best part of the work day was the decision to go to the pool during lunch. Nothing like taking a quick dip before headed back to the office (aka our condo). With that said, I’ll quickly move into the more interesting part of the day which was post work. Travis, Gina and I hopped on the Metro and headed back to the Fish Souq/Gold Souq area once again in search of a great stories and possibly custom clothing.
The second we got off the Metro, we blasted with the smell of fish – the station was right across the way from the Fish Souq, so this made sense despite the fact that the market had been closed for 8 hours. As we came out of the station, we headed back to the area we had been in a few days before. Since we had previously found a textile vendor in that neighborhood, we knew we wanted to talk to the tailor they had recommended to ensure the price would be as low as we expected. When we got to the area, we searched for a few minutes to find the tailor. Again, there are many streets and alley’s filled with shops so we had to walk around for a few to find the place. We discovered the place in a less frequented alley and proceeded inside. It was about 10′ by 8′ and filled with tables, sewing machines and finished products. It was obvious they do a lot of business despite the location as they seemed to be busy altering and creating shirts when we went in. They confirmed for us that if we brought them material, tailoring/creating a shirt would be 30 AED ($7.50). With that, we ran back over to the textile shop.
The place was lined with fabrics, both for suits and shirts. I wanted to test the waters with a couple casual shirts instead of going with more expensive material off the bat, just to make sure they would turn out right. Once Travis and I initially selected the materials we wanted, the gentleman working in the store kept telling us they didn’t have enough fabric to make a shirt out of it. I’m looking at the roll and thinking, how much fabric do they need? I’m not a huge guy and it looked like the roll had the 2.5 meters necessary to make the shirt. He kept pointing us to more expensive fabrics and so I quickly realized he thought he could outsmart us. I had a strategy and couldn’t be changed. I was going with the casual patterns I wanted – no questions.
Finally, Travis asked another guy in the store who appeared to be the owner: “How much fabric do we need? Why is this not enough?” With this, finally they conceded and let us get the patterns we wanted. We took them right over to the tailor and got sized up. As we were doing this, a British couple walked in and took a look at a finished product they had made. It was crazy. Pink silk inside of a black blazer, red thread on the buttons. It was chic. Turns out the guy owns a business, capitalizing on the arbitrage of having cheap suits made and selling them in the UK at a huge markup. It costs about $140 to make a suit, and they sell it in the UK for $1,100. Craziness.
After getting sized up, we ventured around the neighborhood to find other textile stores and food. Like the previous night, we found another shawarma restaurant. The combined total of my dinner, shawarma and fallafel, was 9 AED ($2.25).
As we rode the Metro back, we were crazy excited to see what our end products will look like. In two days, we will find out.
*Update, as I write the post for Wednesday night and it’s now Thursday, we have just decided to audible our plans for the weekend and head to Oman tomorrow and Abu Dhabi on Saturday. More details to come.