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: