Sunday, July 05, 2009

Quick Trip Downtown

DH wanted something from the grocery store that we've not had at our local Commissary since we returned from vacation, so we headed downtown yesterday, for frozen blueberries. He is doing this special drink in morning thing with the blender - all fruit - kind of like a smoothie, lately. Pain in the butt is what it is. Makes a mess. But, if that is what he wants for breakfast every day, then that is what he shall have. We went to Tamimi and although they had frozen blueberries, we didn't get them. They were SR40-something for a small container - more than $10.00. DH has his limits and $10.00 for a small container of frozen blueberries is too much. On the other hand, SR46.50 [$12.46] for a small package of corned beef and the same for a small package of pastrami - no problem. We went through the aisles of Tamimi and got groceries and went to check-out.

A young Saudi man [man? not much older than a boy!] was at the counter and the first words out of his mouth were, "Hello. How are you today?" What a pleasant surprise. Being greeted so heartily. Sure that is his job and all, but I cannot recall the last time I was greeted like that, there. And, no, he probably doesn't really care how we are - that is what everyone [anywhere!] says, right? He is scanning our groceries through and he hit the total and he said, "If you spend three more riyals you will get the discount." How nice of him. No. Really. He didn't have to tell me that I was so close to the limit to get the 10% discount. I grabbed two packs of gum [SR2, each]. Brought my total up to just over that cut-off amount so that I could get the discount.

The young man rang up my total and said, "Was 566 and now 516. You save ten percent. See?"

Not quite sure how they figure the discount - or what the cut-off is - must be SR565. But a savings of SR50.16 is $13.44. And $13.44 in savings is better than no savings. Another man [imported help, not a local] was bagging our groceries and as we were paying and getting ready to leave the young Saudi said, "Thank you. Have a nice day." As we were headed out to the truck with our cart I asked DH if he could ever remember when a young Saudi grocery clerk had been either so animated or so nice. Neither of us can think of a single instance where this has happened in the past. But if Tamimi is doing it - requiring their Saudi employees - to make the effort with customer service by saying, "Hello. How are you today?" or "Thank you. Have a nice day." then it is working! And, to have him point out that I could save $13.44 by spending an extra $1.07, was just the icing on the cake - in a most impressive sort of way. Thanks. Very much!

And, now, for some photos snapped from the truck on our trip downtown...

This is all the rage! "Car dusting." [The pictures are not quite what I wanted - but when you are trying to take them from a moving vehicle...]

Why did I take these pictures? Because something was obviously going on where there was not enough parking so these cars were all parked on the side of the on-ramp of the highway. They do not do the situation justice. There were at least a hundred of them lined up.

More on bad parking. See the middle car? The tan one [old Chevrolet Caprice, maybe?]. It is parked. If this is a street - there is no using it for the time being. Can't find a place to park? No worries. Just park in the middle of the street. The silver mini-van, which turned to try to go down that street, couldn't. I still find situations like this simply amazing. That certain folks - men, specifically, since they are the only ones allowed to drive - cannot be bothered to drive a short distance to park somewhere - and instead inconvenience the rest of the world.

And some more bad parking. Can't find a spot? No problem. Just block someone else - you are, after all, privileged, and deserve to park there regardless of the consequences to others. So what that you're parked in the road. People will go around you.

While sitting, waiting at a light, a white car scooted around everyone [from the right side] and pulled up so that he could be first. He wasn't the only one who did it, either.

A nanosecond later, another car did it too:

They are both hanging out, practically in the middle of the road, just inviting an accident. Any traffic police around to issue a ticket to either one of them? No. Not a traffic cop to be seen the entire quick trip downtown.

Just to give you an idea of the traffic:

We have Krispy Kreme. [I can get Krispy Kreme donuts in the States. I'll stick to cheese bread, here, thank you very much.]

I am pretty certain that everyone who lives here would agree that what we really, really need here is another new mall:

More on some of the architecture - dwellings - in The Sandbox. The ONE house I wanted a picture of is, unfortunately, very, very blurry - will try again another time - it has fabulous windows - and is quite contemporary looking:

And even those these look blurry - they are - part of it has to do with the fact that I was in a moving car and the other part has to do with the fact that it was very, very dusty out yesterday:

Why a picture of a sign for baby wipes? Because I think it is interesting that it is so predominantly in English - the Arabic is written in small letters at the bottom:

Waste of water - in a country that has none - a fountain in the middle of downtown. For what purpose?

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