The mundane things...
09.05.2011 - 10.05.2011 38 °C
While this modern bustling city looks like many we see in North America, there are some interesting differences in the daily life. We have already mentioned that in the summer it is very hot so you see few people outside. They dash from air conditioned cars to malls to homes. At night they emerge to eat, chat, walk around and smoke.
Supermarkets are much the same as we find in North America but a closer look gives some interesting insights. There is a separate section of the meat department which sells pork - and it is clearly marked as selling pork and for non Muslims only. Most of the prices are surprisingly similar to those we find at home. There is a very large selection of teas but a much more limited selection of coffee. There is more espresso and lebanese coffee but not much of a selection of the regular type of ground coffee we find at home. There is a HUGE selection of different types of honey compared to home and quite a large sweet section of snacks, cookies, cakes, candy and jams. There are plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit. Berries are very, very expensive but you can find about 8 different types of mangoes. Oranges are very cheap. After you select your produce you take it to a little counter to be weighed and priced prior to going to the cashier. Even individual heads of lettuce or those English cucumbers have to be individually priced. The dairy counter has lots of soy products as well as milk but the milk comes in smaller containers and has a very short shelf life. It is hard to find cream. They have full fat milk (homogenized), low fat (like 2%), and skim. I did find "double cream" milk which was like our light cream (5%). There is lots of yogurt and a good selection of cheese.
Laundry must be a focus because there are lots and lots of bleaching products - probably for those sparkling white robes many of the Emerati men wear. There are also a number of products advertised to "keep your blacks black" for the women's garments. We have not seen public laundromats yet - that may be due to the area we are living in - a very trendy part of town. The washers and dryers are very different from home though. They have a single combination machine which both washes and dries. The machines are small and frequently front loaders. After your laundry has finished its wash cycle the machine beeps and then you can select the dry cycle. I found that the little machine took a long time to dry and it wrinkled the garments tremendously - so I just dry some and hang or drape the rest on the balcony. Lots of people have little drying racks for clothing. It is so hot that things dry quickly. The odd thing is that the dryers have no vents. They have some sort of a condenser unit to extract the water - clearly this is not as efficient or as effective as the large dryers we have at home. I guess you don't miss what you have never seen. Most of the grocery stores are small by Canadian standards and several are of UK origin as are a lot of things here. In several of the mega malls there is Carrefour which is a French chain and in many ways quite similar to a WalMart superstore but with the clear emphasis on groceries.