Before there were these crazy big super stores we used to bounce around from grocery store to grocery store looking for everything we loved. Now we just show up at a Kroger Marketplace or a Super Walmart and stockpile for the apocalypse. Those big stores haven't caught on in Qatar. No one wants fast and convenient. Shopping is a past time. It might even be the national sport. You have never seen so many malls. Yesterday we went to the Megamart. I think there are two. One of them is really big and one of them is in a strip mall. I'm not sure if you can see from the sign that Megamart is right next to a Subway. I haven't eaten at a Subway here so I don't know how they compare. From the outside Megamart has a superhero sort of logo. There is no discernible parking and we ended up across the street next to a coffee shop, auto parts store and one business that we just couldn't figure out. Nearly everything is closed for the Eid holiday but Megamart has lots of imported things so it was crawling with hungry expats. From the road and even from the parking lot, Megamart can be hard to spot. It is so worth the trouble though. Firstly they have fabric softener sheets. You cannot find these are Carrefour or Lulu. I don't prefer liquid fabric softener so it's great to have a new source for these. Currently I have been asking people to bring me fabric softener sheets from home.
I got all kinds of fun stuff and some basics too. I buy bottles of water whenever I am at the store and especially if someone is driving since I can get heavier items. It's hard to explain the size of the store. It is very small. It is about the size of the shop at a gas station. The aisles are very close together. I got a pack of coconut water because you don't always see it pre-wrapped.
I had to buy this Waitrose coffee because of the amount of BBC tv I watch. This is a popular supermarket in the UK and I am always eager to try their brand of basically anything. This coffee promises to be 'Full bodied, rich and malty.' I have no idea what a malty coffee will be like. I'm not sure why but the selection of coffee creamer here is limited at best. I don't know if milky coffee is more of an American thing or what. Clearly milky tea is popular since you can get Chai and Karak everywhere. (To clarify I think Karak is Chai. It is a spicy tea with a lot of milk and sugar. I have seen it on the menu as Chai Karak, Karak Chai, Chai and Karak and to me they all taste the same. It does not taste like Thai tea which tends to be a red tea where as all the chai/karak I've had is black tea with other spices.) I have heard it called I enjoyed the suggestion on the back that "Should you not be happy with this product please bring the packaging back to any Waitrose branch and we'll replace you item and refund you." I think a full size Waitrose here in Qatar would be obscenely popular, but I also think we need an Office Max/Dept and that hasn't happened yet either.
I was also enamored with this packet of fruit rounds (in the picture above). In addition to my coffee I chose some Dutch Fruit Rounds. It says Country Garden Cakes and you get three each of apple and strawberry. They really are made in Holland because I checked the label.
Finding hearty wheat bread that is dense and not just brown isn't always easy. The Lulu sometimes has a multigrain bread but often it isn't sliced or the loaf is round which I don't find ideal for making sandwiches. I was happy to see the small bakery had many kinds of brown and black breads that were thick and hearty looking. I bought two loaves and I hope I can freeze some without changing the texture to much. I got Wikinger Bread and Norlander Bread. I haven't a clue what the names mean but the bread is covered in seeds and it was great with butter and nutella last night. I think the first bread is made with sunflower seeds and the second is a rye? I like pita bread but this was a great change up. Also in the bakery section I got karo syrup and nutella.
Some items got to stay behind although they were funny and good for a laugh I just couldn't buy them. Maple syrup must be pretty rare in Qatar to warrant a nearly 20USD price tag. I know the cheap stuff is full of junk that is bad for me but still, yikes. I bought Karo syrup and even the molasses was a better bargain. Not surprisingly, across the aisle from the maple syrup was this single serving of pancakes and syrup. I've made pancakes since I moved here, I don't know that I would buy premade pancakes. I did have biscuits and gravy at Ricks Kountry Kitchen and they were amazing. (also I stink at making biscuits so I would pay for those before pancakes)
Some things are super easy to find here like lotion, face wash, candy, and yogurt. Oh and deodorant not surprisingly, is a massive market, especially aerosol and any sort of body spray like Axe. I think ever major sports brand like Aidias and Nike have their own line of deodorant for guys in a crazy variety of scents and length of time they promise to keep you smelling nice. I saw one for 72 hours but really at that point I think you should just shower. Another item that is mysteriously absent from many stores are ladies hair products. For men I see lots of gel and paste and who knows all what, but for ladies all I see is shampoo and conditioner. I have bought some styling products here so far and it was mostly a failure.
Other things you look at and wonder why they took the time to import it at all. For example this Rich and Velvety coffee by Twinings. I looked at this and thought "but you make tea." I didn't quite understand what the item was, it seems have three flavors but I didn't see how it was all packaged so they were separate. Maybe next time.
My last favorite thing. I don't know that crime is ever a problem here. I wouldn't think you could easily shoplift anything considering how many employees were on duty during our visit. While standing in line I noticed this racket against the wall near where a guard had been sitting. Do I assume it is for swatting flies? I imagined it was for hitting thieves. No idea.
A good time was had by all.