There are stalls here in Amman, often just a cubbyhole in the side of a building, lined with sparkling glass jars of perfume oils.
The essential oils can be mixed to order, diluted with alcohol to the desired strength, and packaged in whatever bottle the customer chooses. These shops can mix oils to imitate major brand-name perfumes. They cost only a few dinars, much more affordable than designer perfumes. Here's one my roommate's father had made for her, it's an imitation of a Saudi Arabian perfume called Daloo'ah:
I can sometimes smell people's perfume from across the street. There is even a perfume section in the baby aisle.
A very old perfume shop in one of the downtown souqs went up in flames only a month before I arrived here. It was probably an electrical fire; unfortunately the oil combined with cloth in neighbouring stalls burned very well, and the souq was largely destroyed. Here's an article from the Jordan Times about it.
Sunday, 22 November 2009
I got a little baggie of halal gelatin candies from a corner store today, they cost half a dinar (about 75 cents). I don't like them as much as the salty herring-shaped Swedish licorice I used to eat before I was Muslim, but they're pretty tasty.
One of the things I love about Jordan is being able to eat anything, without having to inspect the ingredient list for non-halal animal products. So many foods in Canada have gelatin, glycerin, animal flavourings, or alcohols hidden in them. Mentos, for instance, contain gelatin, as do many chewing gums. Ice cream contains flavourings with small amounts of alcohol (vanilla, for instance). Canned soups contain animal broth or fat. Most cheeses are made with rennet, which comes from cow's stomachs.
It is possible to find pork products here, as there are quite a few Christians, but I am told they are not very common and are clearly labelled. I have not yet seen any myself.