Yesterday I wrote about things I missed, so today it seems only fair that I write about a few discoveries.
First thing: we’ve traveled to the other side of the world and found ourselves in…mall culture. It’s hot as hell here, if hell were filled with air the consistency of hot tapioca. Combine the heat with the whole Ramadan fasting-from-sunrise-to-sunset thing and you create a month-long interior, mostly nocturnal culture. After iftar, the meal that breaks the fast at sunset, people head outside…to the mall.
And you know? Mall culture is pretty much mall culture, world wide. Is this what Thomas Friedman meant by “the world is flat”? You be the judge:
Given the weather here, something from Louisiana almost makes sense. Almost. This outpost of US culture, however, does not:
Hardees? Really? (These pictures are slightly blurry because I had to take them in a hurry–seems there’s a wee prohibition against photography.)
Discovery two: yes, Virginia, there is liquor here, right out in the open, just like at home:
Furthermore, the beer is available just down the aisle from the chips. And in the next aisle over, some serious gourmet imported coffee:
Outside the mall and grocery store, a more original fast food.
When I walked by this bush, I thought that brown blob was some hapless bug, but it’s not. It’s a date. From a date palm, one of several growing outside Marks & Spencer:
Shimmy up the tree, and the snacks are yours for the taking. Or you can get them in the supermarket.
I’ve also discovered that when the horizon isn’t covered in a heat-induced haze, my windows are filled with the blues and greens of the gulf:
Asia (or in this case, Middle East) seems to have more American culture than Europe, in my experience.
I’m dying to know what you are doing over there?! (New to your blog – but following it now that I’ve found you!) My friend just returned from a summer holiday (!) over there and holy shit it was too hot to even go in the ocean. I’ve been over in the Gulf – when Fi was 3 mos. we took her to Oman and Dubai – I really loved the expat community, how tight it was (hard drinking, though! – I guess they had to do something!) – and my cousin lived in Saudi for a few years, now she lives in Dubai (great shopping, and a man-made skiing dome). Anyway – can’t wait to read more! How long are you there for? What are you doing over there? This is soooo interesting. (-:
@Ado, thanks for the note! We’re here for a year (!) “at least,” my husband says. I say “a year and don’t push it…” But who knows. We’re teaching here at NYU; our kids are enrolled in a school, and so…here we are! And yes, it’s every bit as hot as your friend says it was. We’ve yet to be at the beach, although we can see it from our apartment. The 15 minute walk to the market blankets me in sweat. Astonishing.
My GOD! I haven’t seen a Hardees in years! And why is there a wee prohibition on picture taking?
Aren’t the heat and humidity insane? I remember walking out and being soaked in 5 minutes. The dampness in the air just seems to stick to you.
I was flying with a pilot once who was boycotting everything American due to whatever political convictions and refused to have Subway with us at the airport. When we got back home I saw him walk down the parking lot and drive off in his Hummer. Guess boycotting only goes so far…
I actually almsot feel bad about saying this, but I honestly hope those who have gone Galt, stay Galt. And those that haven’t, consider it strongly. While it will hurt many people in the short term, they have no idea how much smaller pain they will suffer if their suffering removes Obama.However, I think, even with Obama gone, until much of the last 50-70 years of government mismanagement, corruption, socialism, environmentalism, and such are overturned as well, nothing will change. Republicans can’t create jobs any more than Democrats. They can, only and at best, merely move the government out of the way of those who can. Yeah, worse indeed. But, hey, if you ever meet such a woman again, and see her in a pile of other women, and they all look good and single… give em’ my number! Dang it. :p I’d take em’ all, I’ve got a great big heart and a loving nature. But uhm, my wallet and religion sort of precludes it. Never.Mind.
We have a Popeyes on campus. Students wanted Burger King or McDonalds to come on campus, but I guess Popeyes won the bidding war. Talk about the world being flat! ;P