So I'm finally having time to dig through our travel snaps, weed out the blurs, the duplicates, and the flatout failures.
This one is for all my fellow expatriates here across the Gulf; it's the sort of thing that, after a while, could bring tears to your eyes. Not merely because it is a lovely, old-fashioned Continental sort of shop; not merely because it undoubtedly stocks a range and quality of pork goodies that we never see or chickens that weigh more than two pounds. No, the thing that you could sweep the width and breadth of the Arabic Gulf, from Kuwait to Yemen, and not find is what's contained in the promises on the awning: "Conseil - Tradition - Service Soigné".
It's a fantasy to us, you see - the idea of strolling into your local shop and actually encountering someone who knows about the goods they sell; who is pleased and eager to help you purchase them; and who, in so doing, could offer anything even vaguely resembling service that is soigné.
Oh, I suppose I shouldn't complain, I know, but I was spoiled by a childhood of grandmothers both of whom had a legion of "lovely men" - as in "well, of course I have a lovely man who keeps an eye out for the kind of filets your grandfather likes," or "that lovely man at the market saved me these three quarts of black raspberries..."
So we put with up with the choatic, haphazard supermarkets or the occasional forays to the traditional souqs - but, as they say: we'll always have Paris.