Friday, April 28, 2006

The smell of the Arab street ...

... no, not what you're thinking. [Well, not sure what you're thinking ...]

The other day, driving out to that great Thai place off Charleston Hwy, I get an IM on the mobile from my buddy Mitch. Well, nothing great there. Except he's sitting somewhere over the Atlantic in a business class seat (attached to a Lufthansa airliner), wondering when they started offering internet connectivity in the air (apparently, since 2003), on his way to the Sudan.

Yep, you read that right. He's doing some stuff for the State Department there. Fresh out of college (and freshly wed too!). The kid's going places, I tell ya. Literally. :-)

Anyway, he's a great writer, so follow along at Egyptguy.

[And Mitchum, I figure the visitor from Khartoum on this blog earlier today was you ... so here's to you friend. Khuda hafiz!]

[Oh yeah, if you read his last journal entries you'll figure out the title of this post ... ]


St. Elizabeth of Cayce said...

One assumes it's the limes?

Did we ever figure out exactly what they are for?

who thinks limes are easier to transport than tiny little pine trees...

Gashwin said...

I really think they're for post prandial aromaticization (nice word, eh? :)).

It's almost universal in India, for instance, that after dinner at any restaurant that thinks it attracts upscale clientele, they will provide you a bowl of water with lime wedges, for the purpose of cleaning your fingers.

It can lead to some hilarious misunderstandings if one doesn't know this ... it's not lemonade! :)

assiniboine said...

That's far from a uniquely Indian institution; it's a finger bowl. Judith Martin's "Miss Manners" expounds at some length on its proper use. She doesn't, as I recall, recount the hoary anecdote so beloved of my fishknife-conscious Grandmother about Queen Victoria during a visit from some oriental potentate (Queen Victoria was famously attracted to them; hence Disraeli's ingenious tack in ingratiation of creating her "Empress of India"). The visiting potentate — I'm sure you know this story (or is it only Parsis who go in for this sort of sentimental royal hagiography?) — lifted the fingerbowl to his lips and drank it; the stuffy courtiers sniffed; Queen Victoria put paid to that by drinking raising her own fingerbowl and drinking it.