Audio Transcript:

MA: I went to a market in Damascus in search of novelty underwear as well as more normal things. But it came to my attention that the Syrian market specialized in racy underwear, particularly wedding underwear produced by local Syrian manufacturers. (Describe some of it for us.) It's pretty eye catching and it's ear catching. The first thing you hear is the sound of these little tinny bells which play popular Arab songs in the underwear. (Do people actually wear this stuff or is it more of a gag gift?) It's not a gag gift, it's the tradition that before the wedding night, the bride to be will receive nightwear and underwear from her girlfriends. There are even ones with mobile telephones. (Is this only a phenomenon in Syria?) It's popular in the wider Middle East particularly in conservative Muslim countries. I think Syria is the leading manufacturer of this kind of material though.