Funny how things look different when you’re standing in a new place. Take bottled water, for instance. That’s all we drink here, although the water in our apartments is safe enough for washing and cooking, we’re not encouraged to drink it in large quantities. So where do you suppose we get our water from? Some of it comes from the UAE, which makes sense given their high standard of living, but we also get water from….Pakistan and Uzbekistan. I personally find that somewhat hilarious, as those are not necessarily the first places I would have thought of to find sparkling pure water. Even better is that apparently there was some sort of scam being run by one of the Pakistani water bottle companies (or someone using their packaging) wherein they used the water by making an opening in the bottom, refilled them with tap water, and then resealed the bottom. The other drama is that of late we discovered that some of the UAE water bottles had the tops of the caps sliced off, were used and refilled, and then the top was fitted back on cleverly. And the circle of life continues. You have to admire the sheer ingenuity of whoever it was that decided it would be a brilliant idea to go to such lengths to steal bottled water and then sell it back.

Living here is helping me to get over some of my germ phobia, since the sheer variety and hardiness of the microscopic organisms here is mind-boggling. One of the girls in my office got a parasite that was so nasty she had to take arsenic for a week to get rid of it. Apparently the arsenic left a very distinct metallic taste in her mouth that made her lose her appetite during the treatment…note to self, should I taste metal in my mouth I need to check my food sources more carefully. Luckily neither Danny nor I have tangled with anything worse than a temporary bout of upset tummy (trying to keep this site family friendly… 🙂 ), but we do still have ten months to go. It does put things in perspective, though — germs on sponges (one of my personal pet phobias) pale in comparison to giardia or parasites requiring arsenic to kill them off. I’m not promising to embrace sponges any time soon, but I’m learning.

One trend among my co-workers that I refuse to adopt is the Purell craze. Seriously, people Purell their hands after shaking hands with people, before and after eating, and whenever anyone near them get sick. They also overuse antibacterial soap to a degree that makes my crunchy granola side shudder. Not to mention the fact that the embassy doctor seems to think that Cipro is the cure-all for everything from strep to an upset stomach and hands it out like candy without even doing a culture first. As if this country didn’t have enough problems, we need to introduce resistant strains of bacteria? Yikes. I’m all for cleanliness, but let’s be reasonable…

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