Here’s the guy that came with the house……..
he comes just about every day, as close as we can tell. He sweeps the walks and steps, cleans up flower petals, branches or leaves that drop, keeps bushes in check, trims anything that needs trimming, waters everything and then rinses down the walks and porches and patios.
I dunno who he is, he only interacts with Phil….. that’s just the way it is here. The first week he came, he paid a LOT of attention to the front entrance, steps, bushes….. the second week, he saw TBG and said “Back gate. No key”……. the back gate was locked, that’s why he hadn’t been doing anything back there. So, the situation is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before,….. kind of odd, but he’s working. Steady, too. DAILY he comes…. Well, six days a week.
December 2nd was National Day, sort of like the UAE Independence Day – it celebrates the union of the 7 Emirates. Talk about a blowout – holy smokes…. Fireworks like you can’t believe, everyone has their cars decorated up with stickers, magnets and wraps and the UAE flags are everywhere. Including the malls, restaurants, people’s clothing, cookies, cupcakes, newspapers, decorations up like it’s Mardi Gras – truly awesome display of patriotism…. Err…. Nationalism. And the Silly String is rampant – remind me to buy stock in the company that produces it next year BEFORE this celebration, there’s that much!
Oh, and TBG personally got a personal text message on his personal cell phone personally from the Prime Minister of the UAE, Sheik of Dubai, Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. First in Arabic, which is a really pretty written language, but makes no sense to me. Of course, later, he got the translated version you see below. Pretty cool, huh? I didn’t know TBG had even met the Sheik, much less was on personal texting terms with him. I was totally impressed! <grin> Now he truly hasn’t met HH, but I thought that it was kind of comforting and spooky at the same time that the ruler of a country could/would have the ability to send you a text message to your personal cell phone. There are a lot of things here that impress me. Many others that confound me.
Grocery shopping here is constant and can be quite annoying. There are no “one stop shopping” places…. No Wal-Mart, no Kroger, no Meijer. In order to get everything on your list, you may end up shopping at 4-5 different stores, located in 3 different malls. Driving about a total of 2 hours to get to/from all of them. And the strangest things are simply not available here, like Crystal Light drink mixes, to which we’re both totally addicted. So, that particular product deserved a chunk of space in my excess baggage, and will continue to do so on trips back and forth to the US. But I had a devil of a time finding dry mustard powder, and with ALL the spices available here, I found that odd. Finally found it in a “UK” section of one of the groceries. Now dried onion powder? I’m starting to think it may not be here. So, you just adapt to not having a specific item for now….lol.
Shopping carts are different too. In small stores, like a “Dollar Tree” kind of store, you’d kind of expect to have little baskets you put over your arm. Well, they are here, but if you have more stuff, you put the arm basket into a kind of “frame” cart that will hold one on the top and one on the bottom. Tons of more space, really. (/sarcasm off) I’m intrigued by the shopping cart system, though…. And they’re called different things. Carts, flats, baskets, trolleys, all sorts of different names. And most of them are 4-wheel steering….. nice to “drift” around the corners of sharp turns and to slide around hairpin aisles if you’re in a hurry. 😉
Since the malls here are multi floor, if you buy groceries on the 2nd floor, but you parked on the 3rd floor, no problem, there are escalators with no steps so you and your shopping cart go to the floor you parked on. But wait. There’s more! Can’t imagine holding that cart in place on a moving escalator, especially if it’s heavy and headed uphill, right? I thought TBG was superhuman or something….. turns out there’s some kind of magic force field that puts the brakes on the carts when all 4 wheels are on the escalator surface.
I still don’t get it, but I’m sure glad it’s there! Some kind of weird shopping-cart mojo I suppose, Who the heck thought of that and have any of my readers encountered it anywhere else??