Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Ramblings - A Trip to the Local Mall

I went to the Mall today with the boys. I am sick of this mall. I don't like Malls in General and going to the same one over and over again is just kind of sickening. But what do you do on a weekend, when it is too hot outside to do anything other than swim and you have no intention of parading around in a bathing suit on a public beach while a bunch of weird men, swimming in their tighty whities (which become nearly transparent when wet), gawk at my ghostly white cellulite and spider vein covered thighs and try to incorporate me into their "day at the beach" home videos.

Once when I first moved here, I went to the beach with my husband and Salman. We were taking a walk along the beach, and an Iranian man suddenly came up and grabbed Salman and was talking about how cute he was. His friend was armed with a video camera. He asked my husband if he could get a picture with Salman. My husband said OK (I don't know why - possibly his need to appear pleasant in front of and to please everyone except for me had kicked in) so the guy picked up Salman and stood near me. When I realized I was going to be in the shot, I ducked out of it, to the side... he then pretended like he had realized the view behind him wasn't nice and moved again so that I would be in the shot... so I ducked out of it again... he kept doing that while my husband stood there grinning like an idiot and chatting with the guy... finally I went and stood behind the guy with the camera and told them "Please take the shot and give me back my son."

Soooo there will be no trips to the beach that involve me wearing a bathing suit.

The good and the bad thing about this town is that there is only one mall. It's good because it means it hasn't yet become a materialistic shopping haven like Dubai. It's bad because it basically has no clothing stores that I recognize aside from Next and G2000, neither of which make for a rocking wardrobe, but at least I can occasionally find something appropriately boring enough looking to wear to work in them. However, I have banned myself from shopping at the Next here after the time I went in, and I was the only customer and wanted to try on 6 things and was told that I could only take 4 in with me. I can understand such "security" measures in a busy store during a sale, but when you have only ONE customer, probably the only one you have had all day, is it really necessary? Is it really so hard for them to remember I have six and not four items in there with me? Do I really look that dishonest? Do they have a lot of problems with middle aged, middle class American moms stealing from them? Anyway, when they insisted, I handed them everything and told them "forget it" and walked out in a huff. In retrospect, I think I might have acted like a bit of a brat, but I had gone shopping merely to blow off steam after having another great day at work of being spoken to sarcastically, blamed for things that weren't my fault, and yelled at for not having ESP and I really didn't need that hassle.

Anyway... today I took the boys to Chiles, where we all ordered Chicken Enchilada soup, and the boys got chocolate milk shakes. After that, we went to check out what was playing in the movie theatre and the only option had another hour before it started so we went for a little shopping.

During my window shopping I had the pleasure of seeing a couple of incredibly hideous window displays. There was one outfit in particular on display that caught my attention. A frilly cheap black lace poofy ultra mini skirt and a red satin corseted bustier top. By the way, it is not a lingerie store. I have no idea to whom that is supposed to appeal or who actually shops there, since the rest of their clothes are gross too - ranging from frighteningly garish to down right sleazy like the one I just described, but they need to fire their window dresser.

It is always amusing to see what people wear to the mall and to see all the different kinds of people. There was this one couple, actually I am not sure if they were a couple or what because the guy was so young and the woman looked quite old, who looked like they were going to a costume party as obnoxious tourists. The guy had a big floppy sun hat on his head, sandals and socks on his feet and was wearing shorts and a t-shirt with an unbuttoned button up shirt a clashing print over it carrying a pink cloth bag over his shoulder. The woman was wearing thin cotton blue and white striped 3/4 length pants, a big t-shirt and orange flip flops.

Most of the people in the mall here are locals, especially men. They crowd the Starbucks. I like Starbucks' hot chocolate with whipped cream, but I never go to this one because it would mean having to weave through tables full of smoking local men who seem to have nothing better to do than stare. So if I want my hot chocolate I have drive all the way out Al Hamra to the deserted mall there where they seem to only have a Spinneys and a Starbucks that are actually open and operating. Which is fine by me, because I much prefer shopping in a nice clean nearly empty Spinneys than in an over-crowded Carrefour full of men holding hands and window shopping in the strangest aisles - like the dog food section, or the diapers and sanitary napkins aisle - and women loading carts pushed by minuscule Indonesian maids, cleaners with massive mops wiping up spills in the canned food aisles, and my favorite - the plastic bag hogs in the produce section who take the entire roll of plastic bags off the dispenser and carry it around in their cart like it is their personal supply and give you shocked looks when you have the audacity to take it out of their cart.

The young local guys, I have noticed, have started getting creative with their Kandoras - I am not sure I like it. I saw a young man in a Burberry print Kandora with matching baseball cap. I have been seeing more and more of the Kandora's with prints on them. I also saw an extremely obese homosexual Local man in a brilliantly shocking blue Kandora. There was another Local walking ahead of me with hips and butt just like a woman's. This is not all that uncommon I have discovered. I saw it a lot in my gym in Dubai. A lot of Arab men look at lot better in a Kandora than they do in gym shorts with socks pulled up to their knees. They would enter the gym looking like dignified businessmen in their crisp clean Kandoras and emerge from the locker rooms looking quite silly at times in what they thought were fashionable exercise outfits. Kandoras hide all kinds of flaws and are flattering to most body types, unless they are too tight and the man happens to be bottom heavy like that one I saw today. Such men look better in the loose fitting Kandoras. I think men should make a habit of checking their posterior view in a mirror like women do before leaving the house.

After watching the movie we came home where I am ending my day by writing this and watching Survivor Tocantins and wondering how "Coach" made it this far with his annoying habit for telling tall tales and the fact that in spite of all of his big talking he is crappy at most of the physical challenges. I am also thinking if I should try sign up for Survivor so I could go on an enforced diet - if I could manage to last long enough - to starve for several weeks. However, the seemingly mandatory costume for women, namely a bikini / tube top and optional pair of microscopic Lycra shorts, doesn't really appeal to me.


Anonymous said...

Is that the same Chiles that we have here in the States? ;)

I haven't been to a beach since I was a teen, my BIL was asking me if I've been to any of the beaches here in the US and I'm like nooooo ... I would be at a loss what to wear, I'm thinking those Splashgear suits look good but they're pricey.
It'd be so nice to have your own pool so you could relax without any weirdos around. :)

Ahavah said...

oh dear poppet, you so made me laugh (though I suspect you weren't trying to be funny - just letting off a bit of steam)...

what on earth is a Kandora?

I have ended up having to make my own clothes - too much of everything showing - yuky pale and white...

desertmonsoon said...

Yes it is the same Chiles, of course the food here is Halal so the bacon bits and things like that are beef or turkey bacon and not pork. but it is the same good old Tex Mex cuisine complete with the oversized portions. Even if we order less meals than the number of people we always have food left over. I don't know who can actually scarf down an entire Chiles meal on their own and have dessert as well. Why do they even have a dessert menu with meals that size?

A Kandora is the term the Emiratis use for the long (usually white) dress that the men wear. In other Gulf countries it is called a thobe I think and in East Africa they call it a Kanzu.

I guess the good thing about here is that people wont look at you and laugh and point if you decide to swim in your clothes. A lot of muslim women do that, though I don't know why because the wet clothes cling to their bodies and it isn't very modest. I find wet clothes very itchy and uncomfortable. My dad took us on an impropmptu swim in a river once in the middle of a hike. I vowed never to swim in jeans again....

Puça said...

You're so right!
Most of them look better with the kandora than without it.
About survivors...I was thinking the same too..hahaha it's the ultimate diet..

Puça said...

It's an interesting common point with one of my bosses, he takes people on a trip with him only to have an entourage, feel secure, so he's the leader of something, as he becames a flea when none of us is around and has to deal with people that does not owe him a respect or does not know who his family is. Needs to feel important to act as what expected on a businessman...

The race has just finished, this year the championship is so crazy..

Lisa said...

I think I was expecting UAE to be so different from the States, but you have Starbucks, malls, Survivor (!) and Chili's! That is awesome especially because I LOVE the monterrey chicken, but is always is wrapped in real bacon!

I'm glad to know that you haven't given EVERYTHING up to live there.

I haven't watched Survivor this time, but am intrigued after what you mentioned about the liar guy.

I cant imagine jeans in a lake, you must have felt like you just gained 100 pounds. I think it's a safe bet, that though I still love beaches een now, UAE beaches would be out of the question. I'm always amazed by how little these guys have to do with themselves. Love you lots dear.

desertmonsoon said...

Yes in the UAE we have also have Baskin Robbins, Haagen Das, McDonalds, KFC, PIzza Hut, Domino's, Little Ceasar's, Hardees, Burger King, Appleby's, the GAP and many other places and I get most favorite American TV programing. I am not sure if that is a good thing... ok when I am lazing around, I do want to watch TV that is entertaining for me and Arabic Soap Operas are NOT entertaining for me, neither are Indian ones - largely because I don't speak Hindi or Arabic and the quality of filming is really bad. I like watching shows like CSI and I get them all here.

In Zanzibar we got nothing American in terms of TV or anything else and I was happer there, but since this place is so hot and there is nothing else to do during the hot months other than go to a mall of stay home and watch TV, I think I wuuld be bored out of my mind here without some familiar things.

You should watch survivor. It is one of my shows I love to hate - along with Beauty and the Geek and America's next top model :) but i don't usually watch them all the time. This time I have been watching every week because of this Coach guy. He calls himself the "dragon slayer" and does some weird martial arts / meditation in the river every day. he told his tribe mates that when he was in the Amazon before he was captured by natives and they almost "ate" him but he managed to escape and kayak out of there... yeah right... He recounted the story for the host of Survivor at Tribal council and the look on his face was priceless, you could tell what he was thinking when he heard it. I am always amazed by how people often let the biggest jerk of their tribe lead them without ever questioning it.