|Bab Ezzouar shopping center (image pulled from mall's website)|
Having flown into Algiers Thursday evening, we got up Friday morning (weekends are Fri-Sat here) to catch the embassy's grocery shopping shuttle van.
Our destination was further away than I realized--a bit of a drive-- to the Bab Ezzouar shopping center (the shuttle doesn't always go to this one; sometimes it goes to Ardis instead). What surprised me most about the mall was that I recognized the names of several of the stores inside (and I don't mean like the "7-Eleven" in Lusaka, the "Big Boy" in Djibouti or the "KFC" in Lubumbashi). They have an honest-to-goodness Hush Puppies store! They also have Timberland, Samsonite, Benneton, Lacoste, Nike, Swatch, etc. and a bowling alley on the second floor.
About the only things we couldn't find that we wanted in the large Uno grocery store was English tea (lot of herbals and coffees, though) and American-style milk. We discovered the hard way that the stuff they sell in the refrigerated section in bottles that has a label that translates as "100% cow milk" is more like buttermilk or thick liquid yogurt. Anybody got ideas on how to use 5 bottles of it? Pouring it on cereal has already been tried and rejected as an option.
The rest of the day was spent nesting in our new apartment and dealing with jetlag.
Saturday morning after a bit of a sleep-in we were picked-up by our social sponsors and taken to the heated swimming pool on the ambassador's compound so that our daughter could have a playdate with a few of the other embassy toddlers. ---I want to pause a moment and say what great social sponsors we've had. Not only did they have their preschooler daughter make a giant welcome sign for our daughter, they did generous things like loan us a soft set of bed sheets so we don't have to sleep on the cheap welcome kit ones while waiting several weeks for ours to arrive. ---
The community pool at the ambassador's is nestled inside the residence's extensive botanical gardens. My jaw hit the ground when I stepped through the security gates and saw the lush winding paths and palatial home. There is even a small playground near the pool for the embassy children. I'd love to show you pictures of the gardens, but given local security concerns, you can understand why people are touchy about photography around government buildings here. Luckily, there is this photo of her house on the embassy's public website. You'll just have to try to imagine what the rest of the property looks like. I'll give you a hint, though: fountains, a tennis court and rose and decorative herb gardens are involved.
|Amb's house, Algiers (image pulled from USA embassy website)|