After yesterday’s mall adventures, today was low key from a work perspective. We spent the day in the condo researching, discussing and compiling information regarding the UAE and US food and retail markets. While we don’t have an end product to show, at this point, we have plenty of time and are making good progress.
Outside of work, today’s cultural experiences focused on food and drinks, mostly in honor of Cinco de Mayo. For lunch, one of my teammates, Matt and I walked through Jumeirah Beach Residences (JBR) to find some food. Since we had researched the market, we have been finding all kinds of food options that we are interested in trying. As we walked down the street, we walked past a Subway, an IHOP, a KFC, and a Starbucks – all the American favorites (wait, some of those aren’t?), as well as a few non-traditional options. One of these, which we had also seen yesterday at the mall, was Burger Fuel out of New Zealand. We decided to go for it. After looking at the menu, Matt went with a chicken sandwich, and I ordered a …. PBJ burger? I guess I thought that I would try something unusual and see what happened.
Big mistake! The burger had a peanut sauce, not peanut butter, strawberries and strawberry sauce, not jelly, and mayo (wait, mayo? why?). It was one of the top 5 messiest burgers I have ever had. I can’t remember the other messiest sandwiches, so I can’t say for sure, but I know for sure that it’s in that group. Sometimes messy is okay, and sometimes messy is not. With this combination of flavors and toppings, it was not okay. The thought of this burger still makes me want to gag. With that said, Matt had a great chicken sandwich. So, all blame falls to the orderer, yours truly. But I went down trying something outside my comfort zone.
As the work day began to wrap up, the team wanted to go out and celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a beverage or two. For those that aren’t aware, the UAE operates under strict laws and serving alcohol is prohibited outside of hotels. None of us had taken a sip of alcohol before today as a result of these limitations. However, tonight we were determined to find a bar. As we searched for a bar, we walked past a Mexican restaurant and so we looked at their menu. They had a variety of cocktails listed with no mention that they were virgin drinks, so we asked and they laughed at us and said, they don’t serve alcohol. So we continued walking, which ended up ~3/4 of a mile down the way, to a hotel. We discovered they did in fact serve alcohol!
On the way back, we decided to stop back at the Mexican place, El Chico, which ironically was an American chain that none of us had ever been to. Go figure, you fly 7,000 miles to go to a Mexican place you have never been to, yet is in your back yard.
Another interesting thing about Dubai, at least where we’ve been, is that virtually no one is from here. Seemingly every worker at the Mexican restaurant was from south east Asia. Likewise, most of the service workers around the city are from south east Asia or India. There are just so many opportunities here in Dubai as they hope to welcome 20 million tourists a year by 2020 – a big goal for the 2020 World Expo to be held here. Meanwhile, the construction continues day and night, literally, you can hear the hammering coming from all directions as you go to bed. It’s not just one 40 story tower they are building outside our window, but at least 3, in addition to the countless one’s that have already been built. How many other people need housing here anyway?