Thursday, June 28, 2012

Got Milk?

"I love you
I am the milkman of human kindness
I will leave an extra pint" - Billy Bragg

Sooner or later I had to write about the milk here in the UAE.  Here are a few observations:

  • It is sold by the liter instead of the gallon
  • There is long-life milk in a box and fresh milk in a plastic bottle/carton
  • Milk prices are somehow subsidized or regulated because fresh milk costs the same everywhere regardless of brand, fat level, or store.  The equivalent of a gallon is 17.50 dirhams everywhere.  That is just a little less than $5/gallon in US dollars
  • Milk never goes on 'sale'
  • You may have noticed above that I said Fat Level.  They don't categorize the milk here as whole, 2%, 1%, etc.  Instead, it is Full-Fat (or cream), Half Fat/Cream, and Low Cream.  
  • There are a lot of dairy companies... although I haven't really noticed a difference and, as mentioned above, they all cost the same.
The long-life boxed milk costs about 25% less than the fresh milk and you can store it for weeks.  Our kids will drink it, but although at one point on my mission I could guzzle it from the box, I strongly prefer 'real' milk.  

Here's a few photos of the milk sections at the local supermarket and the milk we bought last week.  Yvonne's not really a milk drinker, so we go for the full-fat variety.  It sounds unhealthy, but tastes great. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Inspiring or CRAZY?

"Time to move on, time to get going
What lies ahead, I have no way of knowing
But under my feet, baby, grass is growing
It's time to move on, it's time to get going" - Tom Petty

I think it is interesting to try and interpret the responses of people we know when we tell them that we moved our family of young children from the US to the Middle East.  It is also fun to gauge their reaction when we share that Yvonne had reconstructive surgery on her achilles tendon, a pregnancy and a new baby all on the other side of the world.

Many say they think it sounds adventurous, but you can almost hear the muttering under their breath as they walk away.... "those guys are nuts!"  Others sincerely do seem partially envious, or at least respectfully fascinated by our experience.  In reality, I don't really know if we know what we think about the last two years.  It is fun trying to figure it out.

That being said, you gotta respect this family.  They sold everything and are now driving cross-country with their FIVE kids from Alaska to Argentina.

Is that inspiring, or are they just crazy?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Quiz Time

"I'm an Alien, I'm a legal Alien" - Sting

It has been almost two years since we moved from Hawaii and ended up over here in the UAE.  Yvonne and I were just discussing how when we first arrived, almost everything seemed very foreign... and it was.  Now, although there are plenty of things that are strange, different, or we haven't experienced yet, we no longer notice all of the things that were so foreign when we first got here.  The strangeness has become part of our daily lives and is no longer strange.

For example, we used to get a kick out of signs like this one. It is on every entrance to the mall near where we live.  Now, we don't even notice it anymore.

Quiz time:  What on this sign is strange compared to what you might see on a sign outside a mall in the US?