random thoughts, take 2:
-heard the "call to prayer" in the Emirates Mall today .. the link is a youtube video of what that sounds like and looks like ... there are prayer rooms for people to go pray in - and as you see, it's not like everyone drops to pray .. but the call happens 5 times a day, every day.
-I did a lot of "people-watching" while out today .. I'm pretty sure I saw a man and 3 of his wives following him .. they were all dressed in abayas with full face coverings (burqas) .. they were chatting with each other and seemed to be having a very normal, fun conversation. I always pictured them as being in "obedience mode" at all times .. didn't appear to be the case.
-People watching is awesome here .. seriously...
-at breakfast I saw a college-aged couple. The guy was wearing an "Orgeon State" hat and the girl was wearing short shorts and a long sleeved cardigan over her tank top .. her hair was back in a messy bun .. they just looked like I did in college ..I smiled and asked, "where are you guys from?" .. and the guy looked at me, and with his THICK GERMAN ACCENT, said, "I'm from Germany, she's from the states" .. I was floored .. that seems to happen every time I assume someone is American. I went all weird after that because I assumed the conversation was headed toward our commonality of coming from the US, and what our experience had been thus far .. It was hysterical. You just never know what you're gonna get, and you can NOT judge by appearances. I'm such a rookie.
-went to the grocery store today ... it's part of the mall, so when I entered, I was pointed towards the security guy at a counter with a stapler .. he was stapling shopping bags closed as shoppers entered the grocery. (which had my camera in it, so I am super bummed that I wasn't able to take pictures! I was so taken back by having my bags stapled shut that I didn't think to remove my camera!)
-the grocery store was mostly very normal .. it was more like a Super Target attached to a mall .. kind of like the one at Colorado Mills .. it had everything that a Super Target would have .. plus TONS of fish, and tanks to pick your live fish out .. pretty fresh I'd say! It also had a "date" bar .. like the fruit .. not single people! ha ha. (that joke is probably way funnier to me right now b/c I'm delirious with jet-lag!) The produce section is AWESOME .. so many choices! They seemed to have most of the same grocery items - the candy and check out was exactly the same .. minus the National Enquirer. :)
-in the produce section, you go to a "weighing station" to have your items weighed and price-tagged, instead of having that done when you go through checkout
-there are no baggers at the check out .. which cracks me up, because they have things like guys washing cars in the parking garage, but no baggers at the check out .. it's such a service oriented place, I just kind of think that's funny. (p.s. YES, there are men that hang out in the parking garage and wash your car if you'd like them to!)
-oh, and there was a guy scrubbing the sidewalk of the parking garage with soap and water today .. I guess they like to keep things clean! (it looked as "clean" as any parking garage I've ever seen, by the way).
-The comment I made in an earlier post about keeping shoulders and knees covered was from information I received from others.. but watching the people in the mall, I wouldn't say that was an absolute .. I'm sure I'll learn as I go.
-Max woke up at 2 a.m., couldn't go back to sleep .. girls were up at 4:30 .. aah, jetlag.
-on New Years Eve, we had to walk through the hookah bar to get to the patio where we saw the fireworks .. I have never seen people smoke like that .. it's like they're hooked up to an IV in their mouth .. and they just sit there and puff away .. I just stared at some woman who was smoking .. couldn't.stop.staring.
-I'm intrigued by the whole burqa/abaya thing .. there are so many versions! (full coverings with only eyes showing, full coverings with faces only, some ladies wear only head coverings with regular clothing on their bodies, and some of the burqas are fancy, with beading and designs on them--I saw one that opened in the front, kind of like it was pinned at the top, but had zebra print fabric under the crease .. A friend from Abu Dhabi jokingly said that the older generation probably looks at those abaya wearers and says, "kids these days!" ha!
-I want to understand why each person wears their abaya/burqa the way that they do. AND .. some of these women who are fully covered are with men who look like a guy you'd see at a football game! (T-shirt, jeans & baseball cap) .. ooh, and some of the men wear their gowns with baseball caps .. and then the women they walk with are fully covered .. only showing eyes. It's all very fascinating to me. As I learn, I'll share!
-okay - so at the grocery store, I had gone through check-out, my cart was loaded up with our groceries, and my debit card didn't work!! I was in front of a HUGE line, it was SUPER busy, and my "foreigner self" was holding things up with no way to pay! The "lip quiver" I mentioned in my first blog entered in .. but I held it together. The woman behind me was VERY nice .. she just looked at me and said, "it happens ALLLL the time here, don't worry!" .. I wish I could thank her again! So I put my cart aside, went to the exchange center and changed the American dollars I had into Durhams, and was able to go back through the line, re-scan, re-bag and eventually PAY for my groceries with cash. I'm POSITIVE I'll have more moments like that .. such a bummer! I emailed our banker to ask her to fix that problem asap!
-Mark went in to his office today, where he had to get a chest x-ray and an HIV test to get his visa. He said it seemed a little extreme/invasive. His office is in walking distance of our temp housing, so that is very convenient. He doesn't have to start "work-work" until he's ready -- his job doesn't require him to be at the office all of the time anyways, so it's so nice to have him around to get us all settled.
-we go on our first house hunting trip tomorrow .. I can't WAIT! There's a 5-bedroom on the list that looks pretty nice ... check it out: click here
oh yes, more to come ...