Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's my life...


I can tell you that if you came to Dubai on business and didn't get to see anything but a grocery store, you'd still feel like you'd had a wildly exotic experience. Our first weeks here were consumed with the fun of finding all the different products and learning what passes for commonplace, and what needs to be hunted down.

The Springs shopping area looks much like you would expect, with the exception of all the different people milling about. Women and men in traditional Arab dress, many Pakistani in their loose-fit flowing shirts and pants, tiny Filipinos and lots of Indians. Here, though, the percentage of European heritage folks is much higher, coming from the grocery store or Hayya! Exercise Club. (Hayya translates to "get up off of that thing and move it." It's a good word to know should you need to shout at your camel.)

All the sorts of stores and restaurants you'd expect to see in a little stripmall are inside, including the ubiquitious Starbucks and McDonalds. Wherever the white man goes, those franchises follow.

Thomas knows the "Mac-dawnlds!" quite well, especially since he can get a tiny ice cream cone for 1 Dirham. (27 cents). He can spot those golden arches a mile, er, kilometer away. What I love about in there is the folks are SO happy to be working for McDonalds.

Air conditioning and tidy uniforms.

There are people constantly cleaning, (I saw one cleaning the stop sign pole!) security man strolling the corridors, and SUVs and high-end cars jockeying for parking spaces outside. In the morning one can get a spot, but as the day goes on it gets a little iffy.

Once in the grocery store, Spinneys, I can either turn over the stroller to the security guard and use a cart, or carry a basket if I only have a few things to buy.

Unless, if course, I buy one of these:

Ostrich Eggs

Then I'll need the cart for sure. Those suckers are huge! That's a lot of omlettes!

Next to the Ostrich eggs, you can see the darkly splotched quail eggs, found in every store.

Also in the refrigerated section, Thomas' new favorite:

Strawberry flavored Camel's milk

Yes, folks, that does say "Camelicious" You can also get this in plain, saffron, chocolate, vanilla...

Thomas asks for it every time he's thirsty, but as I've heard rumors that you should start out slowly with camel's milk to let your digestive system adjust to the different proteins, I'm limiting his intake.

I tried the plain version of camel's milk, and it's OK, but I think I'll stick to the sweeter, creamier cow's milk.

The produce section here is not as exciting as at some of my other haunts, like LuLus, which is a big Hypermarket ("hypermarket" means you can get everything, and they do mean pretty much everything, there), except of course when they have real pumpkins. Next year I'm lobbying for sugar pumpkins, because I haven't had pumpkin pie for a very long time. Those who know me know that this is a bad thing. At least I can get the whipped cream, in a pressurised can, no less! We get our fruits and veggies, and everything that doesn't have a barcode needs to be weighed in kg and tagged at the counter.

Then we move on to a very separate area I always feel slightly sheepish (porkish? piggish?) to enter:

Any true shame I might feel for shopping here in an Islamic country is easily mitigated by the desire for bacon...and sausage...and pizza....

1 comment:

sherrip said...

mmmm... bacon.... (Homer says, while drooling). I love that it points out who the Pork section is for (in case your a tempted Muslim, I guess :))