Today I went back to one of my favorite old shopping places, the Family Food Center. I have to go early in the morning, as there is hardly anywhere to park. I only needed three things, but I always find cool things there that I forgot I needed.
It was really a quick trip, a reconnaissance, mostly to see what was there, but also because I want to make something special for AdventureMan and I haven’t found the key ingredient anywhere else. Almost all the stores have corn flour, but only Family Food Center has Corn Meal, which is the critical ingredient for corn bread, true comfort food if you are from the Southern part of the United States.
Not only did they have corn meal – but they have Bob’s Red Mill Corn Grits / Polenta, which I was bringing back by the suitcase full from Seattle – at not much less than the price they are charging here! 15QR comes to $4.13 and it seems to me I was paying between $2.99 and $3.59 in Seattle. Crank in the shipping factor, and the space factor, and the “paying for extra baggage” factor, and the mess factor – I am willing to pay 15QR to have it conveniently HERE when I need it to make cornbread for my husband, who will think I am amazing! Wooo HOOOO!
They are also the only store in town where I found my sweet friend that I can hardly do without to get my day started:
Vanilla Caramel, I think I’ve died and gone to heaven! :-)
Because most days I have lunch by myself, AdventureMan eats at work, I found another old friend that I can’t eat when he is around because he can’t bear the smell. He has Southern roots, I have a lot of Swedish in my background, and oh how I love pickled herring.
I make a salad with it, and use the juice it comes in for salad dressing. It soothes the Swedish part of my heart. No, you don’t have to like it, you just have to tolerate that there are people in the world who like to eat pickled herring. You might be like AdventureMan, he finds it very difficult to believe:
The sweetest part of the trip was just icing on the cake. I found everything I needed, the store was uncrowded when I got there, and as it started filling up, I was able to walk right up to the checkout and leave. I didn’t really need help with the bags, I only had three or four, but the bagger-guy was already out the door, so oh well, I guess God just wants me to be generous today. As he was putting the groceries in the car, he said “Madame, we have not seen you for a long time!”
I was shocked. It’s been three years since I was there. I said “I’ve been living in Kuwait, but now I am living again in Doha,” and he said “Welcome back, Madame, we have missed you!”
We know we are “old hands” in Doha, because now we say things like “this was taken from the spit where the Bandar restaurants used to be” and “you turn left at old Parachute roundabout.”
We drove around, noting the amazing expansion of the city and the changing character of the downtown. As I did in Kuwait, I am trying to photograph a lot of it before it goes away, but the urgency is greater in Doha, where change of enormous magnitude can happen almost overnight.
I watched these guys for a long time; I had a safe parking spot and the view was great. I don’t think there is any such thing as a grown man when it comes to heavy machinery. Guys that operate bulldozers and steamshovels always make it look like WAAAYYYY too much fun, don’t they? I wonder if they can hear their Mamas in their heads saying things like all Mamas say: “Don’t you go up on that building in that heavy tractor, that’s DANGEROUS! !”
Look – no underpinnings in the floors beneath, nothing to stop a collapse, and these guys are making dust swirl and sparks fly with their big-boy toys. They ARE wearing helmets.
This is old Dhow roundabout. (You can see the dhow in the center of the roundabout over there on the left, see it?) Everything is changing in this area, but Dhow roundabout hasn’t changed – yet. The traffic pattern has changed a little; you can no longer turn off Dhow roundabout to enter the souk area. It is all for the best. Traffic runs more smoothly now, and when you do get to the souk parking, there is more of it. :-)
This is old Al Ashmakh; this is what most of Doha used to look like back when it was “sleepy little Doha” – not so long ago, like seven years ago.
I know you are thinking “why is she taking photos of things like that?” because it still looks like this in parts of Kuwait, too, like Maidan Hawally and Hawali, and some of the back streets in Subaihiya, but these parts of Doha are disappearing, with all the little tiny stores and their colorful signs and merchandising.
I was in Al Ashmak because I want to have some new kneelers made for our church, and the priest thought the idea of having them done in the sadu-like upholstery fabric was a good one. It would add a more local flavor, and, insh’allah, hold up a little better than the current cotton, which is wearing a little thin.
I went to a shop and waited patiently while two Sudanese women bought beds and mattresses, and when the clerk came to wait on me, some very important gentleman rushed in, interrupted us, and took the clerk away to wait on him. I waited about five minutes – about 4 minutes and 30 seconds too long – before I walked out. I should have known better. I will find a place in my own neighborhood.
When I saw this truck, I shuddered. My household goods should be coming any day. This is how I am afraid they will show up, and maybe a box or two fell off on the way :-(
When I moved to Kuwait, three boxes got lost, the first time that has ever happened to me. Here is what is amazing to me – two of the boxes were full of book. Not just books, but books on quilting. I keep thinking “who on earth would want these books???” The problem is, quilting books are expensive, and some of the ones I had were old, not just out of print, but limited edition books, so they are priceless – and irreplaceable. I used them for teaching, and I shared them generously. It broke my heart to lose them. I almost don’t want my goods to show up; I am almost too afraid, wondering what might go missing this time?