Thursday, August 19, 2010

Things That Will Be Missed: Carrefour at Granada Mall

The sun in shining, and the heat permeates this Riyadh night. As I fast these days of Ramadan, I rarely leave the house during the week; only to pick up a thing or two at the compound's supermarket. There are days when I barely leave my own room, mostly only to break fast with my parents. I have truly become a hermit in the desert! Maybe I should think of changing my blog title...

But here is the real scoop: in less than two weeks, 12 days to be exact, I will be on my way to the United States. I am leaving this physical desert to another place, another time zone, another climate. No more hot suns, no more abayah, no more days indoors. I will be thrust into a new life without my parents and with complete strangers.

I have focused a lot on the craziness of Saudi Arabia, and the troubles in my heart. I want to share with you over the next few days things that I will truly miss about the Kingdom and my time here. Although I spent most of it wasting away, there are certain things I will not get back until I return; if I do return. Who knows what the future has in store for me? So here is what I will give you today: an image-heavy post from yours truly, with much love, about:

Carrefour: the Supermarket of Granada

First, I must show the bread selection to you. As a Mauritian, it is the most important food item EVER. We get fresh bread every morning for breakfast and that makes our day! The US definitely has the worst bread! I wonder how Americans deal, sometimes. Riyadh, however, does not disappoint.

The bakery: A man makes fresh Arabic bread every day. It is still hot as it enters plastic bags for selling.

More of the bakery and breads, seeping into the cakes section, with some view of ice cream.

"Special Bread" basically refers to bread crumbs, and then Filipino and Portuguese bread, both of which have a smaller market here.

I am not really a cake person, and as I have said to several of my American friends, I cannot understand the obsession with cake. However, everything in Carrefour would make my mouth water as I walked past - ESPECIALLY during Ramadan!

Cakes! They look lovely, but are usually sickly sweet.

Frozen cakes from abroad that are more likely to make my mouth water!
The frozen food aisle was probably the best I have ever seen, containing many foods that saved my life here by becoming my lunch!

The samousas that my parents and I microwave for random pangs of hunger. Yes - microwave! Samousas!
While the displays of Carrefour are not usually well thought out...

The industrial aisles of food and cold tiles are reminiscent of those in other countries, but the people are not.
...the area near the spices, nuts and fruits always proved to be more impressive.

These displays are put up usually right before and during Ramadan.

The choice we have of things to drink is on a completely different level to anywhere else. I am guessing it is due to the crazy heat and dryness of the desert.

Remember these?

I will have to admit that the US and its supermarkets (like Target, Walmart, etc.) are much better in terms of clothing than here in Riyadh, but when I get a chance, I love to see what they have for various Engrish findings as well as wacky colours.

But what if I want to name my breasts something else? And uh, fish blouse?

Poor girl. Poor deformed fashion failure.

Most women buy clothes from places other than supermarkets, but I think this is the place for those on a tight budget. I know when my shoes broke, I bought an emergency pair from Carrefor. The pair that broke were ALSO from here. I'm a terrible judge of shoe quality, and I repeat my errors. I must be dense!

And what would women do here without a good scarf or bag?

Abayahs for those not willing to do the whole "boutique" thing.
Abayahs are actually quite expensive in abayah stores. If you are only visiting for a little while, or you do not have much cash, this could possibly be the place you would get one. To be honest, I didn't think they looked bad at all!

Blurred picture of the two best abayahs (in my opinion)

Detail of the abayah on the right
The last picture I took was this one. I am in love with the colours and prints of Arabian kaftans.

Kaftans! The most comfortable item of clothing. Also: Winnie the Pooh?

Whenever I am away from Riyadh, I always think about how much I miss the food. I don't eat as well in the US, with all of its garbage fast food and cheap supermarket garbage. Everything here is seeped in as much, or even more, sugar and fat, but the difference here is that Saudi's imported and local food just tastes better. I avoid American food like the plague and go for European or Arab stuff.

Carrefour makes a lot of foreign food available for shoppers, making it a "posh" supermarket, I guess. Whenever I want things that aren't so snazzy, I just go to the aforementioned compound supermarket. I would show you pictures of it, but that would give too much away about my living situation here. I have a home to protect!

I'm going to miss Carrefour a lot, maybe even the most. I loved going for a coffee right afterwards at the adjacent Cafe La Wien, and then following it with an hour or so of shopping. I can't even do it one last time because it is Ramadan and the mall itself is closed.

My days at Granada Mall are just about over. I will have one more grocery trip before I go. I have to admit, it's gonna be quite a shame to leave it behind.

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