Tag Archives: shopping

Arabian Ranches Golf and Nails

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Since TBG was gonna go to the Arabian Ranches Golf Club driving range and hit some balls, I decided to tag along and get my nails done, and enjoy the lovely weather.  Luckily, TheNailSpa salon in the Arabian Ranches Clubhouse had an opening, and I was able to get in to get my raggedy-looking nails done.

The interior was pretty and calm and fairly quiet… my nail technician was quick and efficient and did a nice job.  The chairs were comfy, and futuristic looking.  The pedicure chairs looked particularly inviting.

Furniture here tends to be a bit... um..... extreme.

Furniture here tends to be a bit… um….. extreme.

Don't the pedicure chairs look comfy?

Don’t the pedicure chairs look comfy?

It was odd that the salon supervisor and another woman stood together with a clipboard watching her the entire time she was doing my nails.  Prices here are at a premium, they seem to be between 10 – 15% higher than other places I’ve frequented in Dubai.  And, like most, pressure to purchase additional product was consistent and heavy.  But it is convenient and the quality was good.  Beware of providing your phone number, you’ll be receiving many many many phone calls from them!  If you schedule an appointment, they’ll call back to confirm your appointment.  Then, they’ll call the day before the reconfirm your appointment.  Then, you’ll be called on your appointment day a bit before your appointment time to confirm that you’re coming.  And if you don’t schedule an appointment, you’ll be called to ask why and to ask you to schedule one.  If you’re like me, and on a pre-paid phone system, it’s annoying, to say the least!

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After the bit of pampering, I wandered out to the driving range to watch TBG hit balls for a bit.  Not my norm, but I was “car-less” and he was my chauffeur!  Found some comfy chairs to lie back in and wait for him to tire.  The view was lovely and relaxing, so I never made it to the range, just waited for him on the patio.  This is a bit of what I saw as I relaxed…….

Lovely course.

Lovely course.

Some of the villas are right *on* the golf course.

Some of the villas are right *on* the golf course.

Calm pretty view.  In the desert.

Calm pretty view. In the desert.

comfy place to stash my pocketbook and mickey mouse hat

comfy place to stash my pocketbook and mickey mouse hat

Great place to prop up my fee, huh?  The bottom of the trees appear to have all been trimmed.... wouldn't want to brush up against them, ya know......

Great place to prop up my fee, huh? The bottom of the trees appear to have all been trimmed…. wouldn’t want to brush up against them, ya know……

Not long after I arrived, he came up toting his clubs…. And we headed back to the truck.

And yes, TBG, hauling his clubs.   Says something about good exercise..... I think he's too cheap to tip a caddy!

And yes, TBG, hauling his clubs. Says something about good exercise….. I think he’s too cheap to tip a caddy!

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Now, just take a look at the amazing brickwork here, and the landscaping.  It’s such a beautiful, well-tended place.  Hardly looks like the desert now, does it??  It’s a lovely compound, a gorgeous place to live in Dubai.

The Nutmeg Incident

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Those of y’all that know TBG know that he is a *firm* believer in “more is better”, right?  So, if the directions tell you to use a “pinch” of something, two pinches would be much better…….

He was gonna stop at the store and called to ask me if I needed anything.

“Nutmeg.  Just some nutmeg.”

“OK….where is it??”

“Spice aisle, baby…. In the spice aisle!  Just need some nutmeg for French toast”

(see, now I’ve got him associating the spice with something he wants to eat, so he’ll not only remember it but look forward to it… and think I’m planning meals for him.  I’m a wiley woman!)

“OK, nutmeg.  French toast.  Got it.”

Now – I didn’t think a single thing about this again till he got home and handed me the bag triumphantly….  But it was a lot heavier than I’d expected for a jar of nutmeg, you know??  I was expecting this……

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But what I ended up with are these…..

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Lots and lots and lots and lots of these!  Like, enough of them (still in their shells!) for everyone I know to have a lifetime supply……

So, I learned to crack them open and grate them to use them.  Man, is it fine to have freshly-ground nutmeg – the fragrance and taste are ever so much nicer than that little jar, but I’ll never tell TBG that – I just chide him about “The Nutmeg Incident”……lol.

At the local market

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Grocery shopping here is different from what I was accustomed to in the US – not a HUGE change, but different.  There are no “Super WalMart” stores here, but there are grocery store chains as well as smaller, privately-owned shops.  In order to find what our family enjoys in terms of food often requires several shops and multiple trips, as well as a bit of sleuthing on your part, or an extremely helpful store clerk.

Produce here is widely available, and from all countries you can imagine.  We routinely eat nectarines from South Africa, garlic from China, limes from Brazil, grapes from Cyprus, zucchini (called courgettes here!), tomatoes, cucumbers and green peppers are often grown locally, and have excellent flavor.  Check out these tomatoes I saw at the local Spinney’s grocery store this weekend, aren’t they luscious looking??

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Herbs and spices are abundant as well, and are used in a myriad of dishes.  Catering to the extensive expat community here, the groceries carry an amazing array of vegetables and fruits – there’s always something new to try!

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OOhh…. something *brilliant* that is common here that I lovelovelove….. you get your produce weighed and priced IN THE PRODUCE DEPARTMENT! By people that actually know what a white radish is…. and don’t charge you for a “carrot” at the checkout. Only one set of scales, and the checkout clerks simply scan and bag. Brilliant!

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I get tickled at some of the labels on foods here – they’re generally a literal or phonetic interpretation of some sort, but always good for a smile….

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Check out these amazing looking cabbages – they’re quite flat, very dense, and have a “sharper” taste than the round ball-shaped cabbages I’m accustomed to in the US.  Pretty cool-looking aren’t they??

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Many times, I’ve not known what a specific vegetable fruit or spice is used for, or how to prepare it…. but I’ve found that simply asking another woman that’s choosing that item will generally end up in some sort of idea, or at least an attempt to communicate how to cook it.  Thank goodness a fellow shopper steered me away from those tiny cute little peppers, and suggested the larger, milder ones – that dish would have been inedible!

There are some awesome and quite artful displays of food here, and none less colorful than the seafood – rainbow-glistening fish, brightly-striped prawns, and hard shells just daring you to open them and see how pretty they are just inside!

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I’ve come to understand that my expectations are not common to this area… for example – what a local meat counter looks like here.  My western eyes were expecting some small packages with portion-sized bits of meats….lol… not at this store!  Take a look at the size of these!  Now granted, *all* meat counters are not like this, but some are.  These gents were hard at work back behind this meat counter….. see how nicely all the various cuts are displayed?  And they’re labeled with country of origin, price, etc.

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But how did they get into that display counter?  Well, take a look behind the scenes…..  I had noticed a large rack being wheeled into the sawing/cutting area of this meat section…..  filled with carcasses of critters that Ididnotknowwhatthehecktheywere.

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I gestured to the gents “could I take your photos?”  And one began posing, one began covering the carcasses with their original burlap bags, another said “nah, she wants a photo of the critter” (my guessterpation of his native-language comment) and they removed the bags.  And knocked a carcass off its hanging hook to the floor.  And picked it back up and hung it again.

Like I’ve said….. things are different here.

Shopping review – Park ‘n Shop

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It’s not often that I find a local store with higher-than-normal prices that I’ll continue to frequent…. but Park ‘n Shop is one!  Amazing customer service, excellent selection and bright clean store.   Park n Shop opposite Green Communities East … anyhow, it’s new, bright, clean, has a nice and wide assortment of goods, especially those pesky American items that catch my eye. I had to resist a number of things that weren’t on my list! Covered parking, and the cashiers were kind and friendly, not bored and indifferent – but the big plus was that the bagboy actually pushed my groceries out the door without asking! One thing, watch the expiration dates closely – a “buy one get one free” salad dressing deal certainly looked like a great buy, until I checked the dates, and they were just a few days out. But – lovely bakery, watch the signage – if they’re out of something, they’ll just leave the sign there next to something that looks exactly like it, but with a different price. Annoying. Overall? Yeah, a bit spendy, but much nicer produce than my local Motor City Spinney’s and a faboo bakery.  They also have a fish section that’s sort of “separated” from the rest of the store, as well as a “pork” section – no aromas from either make it out.  Oh, and the store is on two levels, with one of the flat magnetized escalators helping you up and down.

 

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Just don’t forget that traffic in and out of the Greens can be monstrously difficult if you aren’t in and out between say 10 am and 2 pm daily.

No Paper for You!

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I think the one black spot out of all my trips to the Dragon Mart here in Dubai (giant Chinese shopping warehouse/madhouse) so far was yesterday, I visited one of the toilets off the main hallway…. Walked in to see 3 doors all closed.  Well, I’ve learned that most toilets have a symbol to tell you if they’re occupied…. One was green, the other two were red, one having the mop bucket and cleaning supplies in front of it, obviously being cleaned, right?

I entered the green door, to find no paper.  *sigh*… minor inconvenience, right?  Walked back out. Looking for supplies, or perhaps a paper towel to use in a pinch…. No joy.  A woman came from the other occupied stall, and I said “paper??”  She shook her head “no”…..  and pointed towards the door with the mop bucket in front of it.  OK, I’ll wait for a bit till she’s finished cleaning….

A few minutes later, a woman in a cleaning uniform exits, WITH HER LUNCH PLATE AND SILVERWARE, scraping her leftovers into the paper towel bin.  She wasn’t cleaning, she was EATING HER LUNCH!!   I said “paper?” She shook her head “no” and said “it is finished”…. I said “where is more?”  she said “it is finished”…..  I looked at her and finally, in an effort to be direct and clear said “go get more”.  She said “it is finished.  I do not understand”.

Insane. I felt like I was replaying a scene from Seinfeld’s “The Soup Nazi” episodes.   But it taught me a lesson…. To carry my own.