Friday, January 21, 2011

Observations - Day 6

A few more random observations for you:

Grocery Stores: Are about the same as in the US. The store brand is the cheapest and the 'foreign' stuff is more expensive (the difference is now that foreign stuff is from the US!) We did see some Wisconsin Cheddar cheese, which was funny (and expensive). The other difference is you have to have someone weigh and price your fruit and veggies before you go to the check out counter. Our first trip, we took a mango and two oranges to the check out counter and had to have the process explained.

Shopping: is incredible! There are so many malls, you wouldn't even believe it. What I'm not seeing are the big department stores like Macy's but instead each brand seems to have their own shop. The only exception so far is the UAE equivalent of Wal-Mart called Carre Four, which carries everything thing and looks like the discount brands. Lots and lots of high end brands too - Chanel, Coach, Tods, Cartier, Tiffany's (LOTS of jewelry stores, but I suppose that's the same as in the states). I think I'm going to need to upgrade my image while living here (I know, poor me! ;)

Upscale Dress: I don't know if it's because the shopping is so good or because we're in a big city but people seem to dress better here than in the states. Yes, mostly jeans, but the nice ones with nice shoes and cute tops and sweaters. And then of course, there is everyone in traditional dress. I haven't seen a pair of sweats or shorts in public except for the obvious young backpacker crowd. Again, an image upgrade is sadly needed.

Job Hunt: I have started to look through the papers and a few websites and applied for 3 more positions this week. I read this morning that the unemployment rate in UAE is 16.6% - YIKES!! This job search might be harder than anticipated! If any of you want to provide a recommendation for me on LinkedIn, now would be the time! ;)

Food: Can't comment too much on the food as there is so much American food available, we haven't gotten too adventurous yet. The day we arrived, we had Chili's delivered, then we ate at the hotel a couple of times (Asian and then Italian), we had Fudrucker's the other night and last night we tried to find a Lebanese place, but couldn't so ended up at a high end deli called Jones the Grocer. This morning I went out for Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks. I'm actually a little embarrassed as I write this, but there will be plenty of time for adventure - right now, we're so busy all day that getting creative for dinner just isn't on the agenda. I did find that Starbucks doesn't brew decaf coffee, so the only way to get a decaf is through lattes or cafe Americano. Gonna have to get a coffee maker soon or start up my caffeine habit once more.

Traffic: Traffic is big city bad at certain times of day and the driving is more like Paris or Buenos Aires where cars cut in without blinkers. There is a lot of horn honkin', but no real road rage - it's just kind of how people drive here. Not sure I want to try it, but we'll see. Lots of round-abouts and places to make U-turns, which has been fortunate since we always seem to see the place we're trying to get to as we drive past it! I still haven't figured out where to look for the street signs. And, it is NOT a pedestrian friendly city. Every morning's paper has had an article on someone getting killed crossing a busy street and a separate article urging motorists to drive carefully. The day we had a little rain, the radio was announcing each break to take it easy and be careful of slippery conditions (much like when we get a snowfall in WI). As a pedestrian you do NOT have the right of way, so I've adopted a very cautious approach to street crossing. (let's just say the students on the Madison campus would have a huge adjustment to make here!)

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