Saturday, February 18, 2012

Life in Abu Dhabi



I have been here a little over a week, and I have seen some interesting things. The view from my hotel shows just how modern Abu Dhabi actually is.

I know that when I was in the planning stage of my trip I thought I had to pack everything I could possibly need. Things like Crest toothpaste, Suave shampoo, or a can of Diet Pepsi couldn't possibly be way out here in the desert. Right?  Well, I can honestly tell you, Abu Dhabi has pretty much everything I would look for.



I have found Burger King, McDonald's, UPS, Supermarkets, book stores, and Yes, even Diet Pepsi!  As you can see from the picture on the left, this is a can of Diet Pepsi. What you can't read it???  :-)  I know it says it in Arabic, however if you turn the can around it is in English.

This is true for most of the products you will find in the huge grocery stores located in Abu Dhabi. In addition, you will find beautiful and plentiful produce and bakery items.


 Since Abu Dhabi city has many diverse ethnic populations (Pakistani, Indian, Filipino, English speaking ex-pats, and of course, Emirates), supermarkets such as LuLu's, and Carrefore try to cater to them all.

Within each store you will find large areas where each ethnic group is targeted. Also, you will find many store brands that I have come to know in the U.S. You can find Kraft cheese slices, Lay's potato chips, Knorr soup mixes, and Cheer laundry detergent, just to name a few. One thing you will not find in the major supermarkets, is pork.

The U.A.E. is a muslim country. Thus, it is difficult to locate any type of pork product such as bacon, ham, pork chops, etc. One thing I did not know, is that many products that contain gelatin may have used pig marrow to make the gelatin. With this understanding, you will not find jelly beans, gummi bears, and most Jello products.

If anyone has watched Andrew Zimmern while he eats strange things around the world, you will recognize the Durien fruit displayed here. This fruit is infamous for being pretty offensive smelling when cut. In fact, many think it smells like rotting meat. Ewwwww....






In other stores you would be amazed at the spendid apparel seen in many shops!  There is color and bling everywhere!

I had thought, and I am sure many of you, that most women in the middle east wore nothing but black. This is not true. Although there are many who wear solid black Abayas, many wear splashes of color via a hijib, headscarf, or with decorative trim.

I decided to purchase my own Abaya, so a group of the new EMTs went on a shopping expedition. There are hundreds of shops that sells Abayas both fancy and plain. The problem for me is to find one that fits.

I am a big girl. I am the total opposite of the majority of Middle Eastern women here. Most are thin, small framed, and very beautiful. Where does a plus size woman find an Abaya in a world of size 4s?

Well, it turns out, there are very few places to find any that would fit. A ready made Abaya that would fit, would be very expensive. In the end, I had to have two tailor made for me. It was a fast service as I had them in hand within 24 hours! 

Since I just ordered two plain, black Abayas I decided to give it some color with a colorful Hijib. My first one was peacock blue and has small, sparkling rhinestones.  So what do you think?

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