So we moved into our “fully furnished” townhouse and I instantly had an itch. Our walls and floors are bare and where are my photos? They’re in a box, in the attic on my parents property in Northern British Columbia. I need to go shopping and put something on these walls!
The goal is to be frugal for the first few months to save up a shopping budget (it’s going to be a long couple of months). The 3 trips to the grocery store this week alone have relieved that itch to shop … for food anyhow. Speaking of food. If anyone wants to send us a care package, I can’t find coconut, skor bits, paprika, oatmeal or vanilla so far. Thanks Robyn for this, as I am also craving “Holy Crap” cereal that I can’t seem to find here.
At this point, we’ve been relying on members of the church (for whom we are very greatful) and the AUS bus that goes twice a week to the Sharjah Co-op in Halwan to get us around. In the grocery stores most things look familiar, or like items we’re familiar with. Prices are fairly comparable.
One very obvious difference from the norm that we are used to in Canada is the weighing of produce. In Canada, a scale is provided and we weigh our produce items to give us an idea of how much we are spending. In Sharjah, there is a manned counter you take your bagged produce to and they weigh, and label it with your amount of goods. At busy times, this area can be likened to a cross between a mosh pit and a food fight as bagged produce is flung at the counter so you can be on your way. Throw in a little mystery as you may not always get back what you flung at the counter.
Today our neighbour friend (the Stake President’s wife) took us for a tour of the Sharjah Corniche. We went into a Roastery (which Kirsten is excited to talk about) and a Kitchen Hardware store. In the Kitchen Hardware store items are piled floor to ceiling (and they have high ceilings) with narrow pathways to move through the store. From the moment you enter the store there is a man there watching over you. I quickly learned he is there to bargain with you for the price of items. Somethings have prices, but nothing is fixed. I have a hard time with haggling. It’s either a fair price that I’m willing to pay or it’s not. Who am I to tell the man he’s asking too much for his stuff?
We saw some beautiful architecture I would love to have a closer look at, and some fantastic looking fabric stores. That we’ll save for another day.