It’s Raining Stupid People

I had just begun the short walk to the nearby grocery store tonight, when a local driver in a parked SUV rolled down his window and threw out a crumpled up piece of paper. While this is an extremely common sight in these parts, creating plentiful litter-scooping jobs for imported brown men, it never ceases to leave me with smoke rolling out my ears. I muttered some choice words under my breath, just in time to witness the backseat passenger roll down his window and follow suit with a handful of napkins. My Confront-a-Jerkometer shot through the roof, and I could not stop myself from yelling,

“SIR!!”

All three men, in their white robes, in their white SUV, turned my way. Their smiles dissipated as I approached the vehicle, angrily gesturing to the trash on the ground. “Your trash is on the ground!” I scolded them, adding, “You should keep your country beautiful!”

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The driver immediately apologized, sounding surprisingly sincere. The man in the backseat jumped out, hastily collecting the litter before returning to his seat in the back. I thanked them and continued to the grocery store, mulling over how non-confrontational and apologetic the local men are here, and possible contributing factors to their careless habits.

What can be said for people who seemingly have neither bad intentions nor good intentions – rather, a general lack of intentions? How do people become so disconnected from, so unconcerned with, the world in which they live? When all a person’s wants and needs have been effortlessly fulfilled, are they left wanting for nil, uninterested in fixing what they don’t believe to be broken? Or do we just have a case of Intentional Assholes on our hands? It’s impossible to tell.

In another case of Things I Probably Shouldn’t Have Said, I made the mistake of asking an Applebee’s waitress what vegetarian dish she would recommend. Under normal conditions, I would never utter the word “vegetarian” to restaurant staff. After 4 years, I have pretty much mastered the skill of eating veg in non-veg places without drawing attention to myself. However, it was late at night, I was exhausted, and I was hoping to get in and out with a “takeaway” order as quickly as possible so as not to keep the taxi driver waiting.

Without missing a beat, the Filipina waitress scoffed at my request, giving me a once over and telling me I don’t need to lose weight. She then proceeded to explain how delicious meat tastes, and suggested a pasta dish with shrimp. I returned the menu to her and walked out, thinking of all the things I wished I would have said.

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At work recently, a 7 or 8-year-old student randomly commented that non-Muslims are going. I asked him where they’re going. He said he didn’t know, but when the world ends, they’re all going away. I laughed and told him the only place I’m going is home, and that I’ll worry about the end of the world if that day comes.

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January has been a Grumpy Cat kind of month. Welcome, February!

Driver Boss, Jack-o-Lanterns & Camel Chocolate

Yesterday went like this:

J got home from work (flying to Dubai – or was it Abu Dhabi? and back) around 8:00am. I had my driver (he’s not MY driver per se, but the one I always call – “Driver Boss” for the purpose of this blog) take me 30 miles north of the city for my second interview at an international school. I have been toying with the idea of working full time here instead of just part time. The interview went well, and this particular school is quite nice and seems to be very Western.

After my interview, I had Driver Boss stop at Subway. I ran in and ordered 3 sandwiches: 1 for me, 1 for J, and 1 for Driver Boss, who had waited in the car an hour while I was at the school. While the Filipino man behind the counter prepared our sandwiches, an old Qatari man came in and waited behind me. The Dhuhr call to prayer (around noon) came on over the restaurant speakers and could be heard from area mosques. The local man cheerfully whistled along with the whole thing, then ordered his sandwich. I have never heard anyone, let alone one of the locals, whistle along with the call to prayer! It was pretty cute.

I love hearing D Boss describe India, so a portion of the drive back we talked about his home in Kerala – the nature, the houseboats. Most of his family still live there, including his mother, wife and daughter. He doesn’t know when he will move back to Kerala, and says it’s not too bad being here because he gets to go back to his family every 3 months. His older brother, an equally kind, soft spoken gentleman, lives with him here in The Country and drives one of the fleet’s five cars. Even so, D Boss preferred Dubai, where he lived and worked for 12 years, enjoying more freedom and luxuries than there are here.

We talked about religion, one of my favorite topics with D Boss and his drivers. He told me how his mother traveled all the way from Kerala to Mecca for The Hajj, and that he hopes to do the same one day. I asked him why men and women don’t pray in the same area at a mosque, or masjid. Women pray in a separate room from men. He explained how the men line up so close to each other while praying, that their arms actually touch. He went on to say it would not be right for him and someone else’s wife to touch while praying. Regardless of my own beliefs, I understood.

In preparation for Halloween, we broke out the Shuns and got to work on the Lebanese pumpkins we acquired the night before.

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I love pumpkins!

Amazingly enough, the pumpkins were the only things to get sliced (I keep a few bandaids under the Shun knife block just to be safe).

We both walked away from our glorious jack-o-lanterns with all fingers, toes, and everything in between 100% intact.

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Lebanese Jack-o-Lanterns + Cheesy Poof

Trying to get the Cheese monster to pose for a picture with our jack-o-lanterns reminded me of Mixy’s old pumpkin head “costume.” Mixy is my cat who is temporarily residing with my parents back in KC. Mixy wore that pumpkin head and she wore it well, although I can’t find the pictures now. Anyway, I brought Mixy’s pumpkin head “costume” all the way back to Qatari from Kansas City. Here is Cheese Louise in all her pumpkin head glory:

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Lookin’ good, Cheesy!

After royally pissing off Cheese, J and I headed to a gourmet cafe for some camel chocolate.

That’s right, “the first and finest camel milk chocolate.”

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Al Nassma camel chocolate display

Although cheese is my downfall, I opt for organic soy or almond milk instead of cow milk when eating cereal. I really try my hardest to avoid leather products, and of course I don’t eat meat. The thought of camel milk chocolate was pretty disturbing at first. I wanted to try it, because 1. I love trying new things, 2. when else will this kind of “crazy” opportunity present itself?!, and 3. I suspect camels are treated pretty damn fabulously compared to American dairy cows. Does that mean I was up for trying the $24 camel burger on the menu? Eh, no.

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Thanks, but no thanks!

So, what was the verdict in the trial of the camel chocolate? According to J, who absolutely did not want to try the stuff, “It was good! It was better than I thought it would be.” Indeed, it was a very smooth, very creamy, very delicious milk chocolate.

Even so, I don’t think I’d eat it knowingly again, as I couldn’t get the image of a camel being milked out of my head…

…especially not after watching Mike Rowe milk a camel at San Diego’s Oasis Camel Dairy!

What do you think – would you eat camel chocolate?