Category Archives: Shopping

Wait. Is that *real* grass??

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Excess, right?  I’ve written about it before.  But I didn’t truly realize the extent to which some residents here go in order to maintain a green “lawn”.

Having lived in the deep south in the US, I’ve been an advocate of the “pave it and paint it green once a year” movement.  Gaining no ground however, we simply installed a sprinkler system to maintain the grass looking lawnish.  Here?  What do they do here?  Short of having a guy that comes with your house, some people put out fake grass.

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Fake grass.  I always thought of it as “astroturf”…. The stuff that football stadiums are full of, and is the tacky looking green plastic grass tufts that people covered their cement patios with in the 70’s.  You know, it came all folded up in a plastic bag at the local discount store, and you unfolded it, and glued it down.

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Just like that old Virginia Slims’ commercial “We’ve come a long way baby!” – plastic grass ain’t what it used to be!  This stuff has evolved into some sophisticated groundcover.  Take a look at the varieties I found just at the local ACE Hardware…….

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It comes in different lengths, colors, densities, pretty amazing stuff.  And people will put this in their yard and pay the guy that came with their house to hose it off regularly, I suppose.  Maybe sweep off the leaves and flower blossoms?  Wait – wouldn’t that be pretty confusing to a cat – I mean, they’re wanting to dig in it and all, and that ain’t gonna happen.  Will dogs poop on it?  Or will they opt for something real like dirt or sand?

I also saw the cutest critter fountains – I decided they were meerkats, TBG says prairie dogs….  and a funny recreation of the Burj Al Arab…

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Anyhow – yes, just another example of excess and oddities I’ve seen.

“CarWash, sir?”

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There are carwash guys in mall parking lots.  And parking garages.  They wear uniforms, carry receipt books pre printed and are very efficient.

They’re all over, they push little carts with I’m not sure what inside them, but lemme tell you, they do a bang-up job of washing your car while you’re shopping!  Cheap too, around $6-8 USD if my conversions are right, and they do it year round!

Communicating with them can be an issue, though.  They seem to recognize a few phrases in English – “How much?” they can answer, and if you hold up fingers “How long?” they can answer.  Outside of that, you’ll hear “yes yes yes” which seems to be the standard service answer.  And it does not necessarily mean “yes” at all.

An SUV costs approximately AED25 ($8) and a sedan AED20 ($6) plus tip.

But it certainly is nice to get out of a dusty, dirty car in the parking garage, and when you return to it (not always as easy as it sounds, BTW!  These parking garages are HUGE, multi-story, multiple entrances to the malls, on multiple levels!) and return to something sparkling and shiny clean.  For cheap.

Planning? We don’t need no stinkin’ Planning!

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One major difference that I’ve noticed between Dubai and the US is a difference in planning.  For example, I wanted to see when a particular TV show would be appearing so I could watch it.  We get a small “TV-guide” type booklet from our satellite provider (providing we go pick one up.  *sigh*) with a listing of times and shows.  Now, shows here aren’t exactly scheduled, they may start at 735, or at 1615, or even 1210.  They don’t start on the hour and half-hour.  But the booklet’s nowhere close to what’s showing up on the TV screen……lol.  So planning your TV viewing is a challenge.

Shopping papers, sales ads, or grocery fliers – you may get one the day the sale begins, or the day before.  Not like in the US, where most of them will appear on a Wednesday, with sales beginning on the weekend.  Gives one time to plan out meals and budget.

Recreation can be dicey too – there’s a really interesting looking entertainment complex called Global Village.  Image

It’s got tons of cultural exhibits, amusement-type rides, shopping, dining and performance venues.  I had read about some cool-sounding dance exhibitions, one Egyptian, one Jordanian.  I wanted to plan a trip to Global Village to see them.  I checked their website, http://www.globalvillage.ae which routed me to their facebook page.  I didn’t find a schedule, but I found a phone number -, so I called to ask when I might be able to see these dancers.  The conversation went something like this…..

“Hello”

“Hello!  I’m trying to find the schedule of entertainment so I can see some dancers from Egypt and Jordan.  Where would I find the schedule for upcoming dancers?”

“Yes, we have dancers from Egypt and Jordan”

“Great.  When do they perform?  When can I see them next?”

“Yes, they may next be dancing from time to time”

“OK.  When next?  Where is the schedule?”

“Schedule posted daily ma’am.  On website.  In the morning.”

“OK. Where is schedule to tell me next time these dancers will perform?”

“Our schedule is posted daily ma’am.  You can check it online.  If not there in the morning, check it on the twitter.”

“So, you cannot tell me the next time the Egyptian or Jordanian dancers perform?”

“Schedule is daily – you can check daily.”

So.  If we want to see these dancers, we have to check their online schedule daily, or “the twitter” to see if they’re performing.  Because they publish the schedule in the morning for that day’s events, “so as not to cause confusion” according to their facebook page.

My solution?  We’ll just pick a day to go.  If the dancers happen to be performing, it’ll be a happy bonus…. If not, no worries!

Crocs to fit

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We’ve always had a time trying to find shoes to fit TBG – he wears a size 15 in the US.  Here in the UAE, it’s like a size 50, I think.  When you go in the stores here and ask for mens shoes in a size 50, the clerk’s eyes IMMEDIATELY slide down to TBG’s feet…. and that likely means they don’t carry his size.

Well, we lucked up on a Crocs shoe store in one of the malls here…. and lo and behold they had Crocs in large sizes!!  Take a look!!

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Milk By Any Other Name

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Should still be milk, right?  But noooooo….. see, I can’t do a lot of dairy.  Without getting truly disgusting and providing way too much information,  dairy products don’t agree with me much.  It’s called being “Lactose Intolerant” – and you’d be amazed at the products that have milk in them.  But, there’s this fabulous thing called “lactose free milk” that has truly been a godsend for me and millions of others like me.  And those around us if we consume lactose-ed milk.

So, anyway, before I got here, TBG had been hunting for lactose-free milk for me…. Hadn’t found any and had laid in a store of those tablets you’re supposed to take BEFORE you consume dairy stuff.  Yes, even though I had explained to him that we’d tried those, multiple kinds and multiple times, with zero results.  So, when I got here, I was still hoping to find some, thinking that perhaps he’d simply overlooked it.

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Yes!  There’s some!!  Oh wait…. That’s rice milk.  And that lactose-free one right next to it?  Soymilk.  And almond milk.  And sesame milk.  Hazelnut milk, coconut milk, goats milk and camel milk.

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CAMEL MILK??  OK, my brain went a little haywire on that one – imagine the camel-milking dairy workers there…. “yeah honey, I had this tough old gal today, that camel didn’t want to give up any milk, but lemme tell you what…..”  so it has been a bit freaky inside my brain shopping for lactose-free milk here.

But guess what I finally found???  Yup, shelf-stable lactose free milk.  Definitely not low-or fat-free, but I can drink it, and it lasts about forever on the shelf!

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Oh wait – you can’t read that??  Silly me…. See, if you can’t read something here, just turn it around, chances are there’s another language on the other side.  <smile>

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Pretty cool, huh?  This is a square liter container… just a bit over a quart, if I remember my US/Metric conversions correctly.  But feel free to wonder right along with me at the closure here…….

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Hmmm…. Interesting looking.  The first one of these I encountered, I pushed, pulled, poked, slid, tried to pry up the white bar thing, snapped it right off.  So, I ended up pushing the blue tab dealie right down into the milk.

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Yeah, go ahead and laugh.  You *know* you have done the exact same thing with a wine-bottle cork before….. sheesh.  Anyhow, I took a closer look at it……..

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AAAAhhhhhhh……. Looky here!  It says “lift” right there, molded right into the plastic.  Guess what happens if you just lift that little tab up??

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Bingo!  Open milk.

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Ha!  Listen, I’ve yet to meet a milk container that can get the best of me!  But this one gave it a try!  For those interested in the costs of things here, this liter was AED 7 here, approximately $1.90 USD.  Just another odd thing I’ve found here…… carry on.