Crap Emporium Extreme Adventure

Those of you that had the pleasure of knowing me during my stint in Melbourne, will perchance remember my fondness for a humble Sydney Road establishment by the name of Hot Potatoes (or H t Pota oe if the sign was to be believed). It was the kind of store where countless delights lay in wait, at rock bottom prices, most of which had no useful function whatsoever (those claiming to have a function were perhaps the most useless of all “well it says CAN OPENER right here on the piece of cardboard it was twisty-tied to!”). This was the kind of establishment where you wandered in thinking “I don’t need to purchase anything in particular today” and then left staggering under the weight of $8 worth of off-brand, poorly manufactured miscellania. I loved it.

Some* have even theorised that my sojourn in China was an attempt to find the mythical font of all of this useless but strangely compelling consumer detritus. This was not the case (nor was I able to find it, living as I was amongst manufacturers of the large and steely, not the small and plastic).

Given the above blathering, you can imagine how chuffed I was to discover this understated gem, nestled amongst the smelly backways of the Bahrain central market.

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Need a box of laundry detergent bigger than most washing machines? Check.
Need to buy a carton of 1 dozen torches whose operational life is probably shorter than that of the batteries inside? Check.
Need a bottle of perfume inspired by the latest Hugo Boss scent (‘inspired by’ in this instance meaning “we made a feral cat look at an advertisement for Hugo Boss’ latest scent while it urinated into the phial”). Check.

The fact that as you are approaching the door you are almost struck blind by the practically visible stench wafting over from the fishmarket just makes the indoor aroma of cheap incense and the aforementioned cat pee all the more alluring.

As it was I made it out fairly restrained, buying only a small wooden shoe rack, a tripod that is unlikely to bear the weight of my tiny camera, and, most lifechangingly, this:

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take that everybody who can’t iron things directly on their hand.

*some such as me. Just now.

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