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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cheap Labor and Attitudes-Redux

as-salaam aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

 I previously wrote a post: Cheap Labor and Attitudes and I really wasn't seeing the big picture.  Most of us Westerners are actually no less guilty.  I was thinking I should delete the post altogether but I think I will leave it as a lot of people feel the same way I did and reading both posts may help them also see the bigger picture.

 I am from the US as y'all know...and there is a minimum wage, labor laws, unions, etc... all there to protect employees.  So basically, the US protects the citizens and legal residents with these laws.  And with a minimum wage in place, we cannot imagine someone having to have to work for SO little pay like the domestic laborers (maids, drivers, cooks etc...) and unskilled laborers (office boys, construction workers etc...) in UAE.

 But guess what?  Most of us Westerners SUPPORT the kinds of salaries, working conditions and living conditions that we think is horrible and that we think UAE is so guilty of. 

How you say?

Do you buy products that say "made in China", "made in the Philippines", "made in Mexico"  etc.. ?

Then you just might be supporting this very thing.

Do you buy counterfeit designer goods? This industry thrives on slave labor, child labor, extremely low salaries, and horrible working conditions. On top of all that, this industry supports criminals. 

Do you research each and every company to make sure they are not under investigation for unfair labor wages/conditions?  And even if you are assured their salaries are "fair", does what is a "fair" wage in these countries equal to, or equal more than the salaries of the domestic and unskilled laborers in UAE?  For some, it might be, but for many others, its still an even lower salary.

So you see, just because unfair wages, working conditions etc.. are regulated in the US, we are not less guilty if we purchase our goods from people and companies who practice the very thing we think is unfair. 

For instance, a shoe company that gives what is a "fair" wage in a poor Asian country, $3 a day (which is why people come to UAE because they can get a higher salary than that, even if it is sooooo little to us), to employees to produce their shoes that cost well over $100 in the US.   If the shoe company was in the US, people would throw a fit if they found out the company was paying only $3 a day to the employees.  Yet its ok so long as it happens outside of the US?   And in other countries a "fair"salary is much less than that!

That being said, it doesn't mean I suddenly think what happens in UAE is all ok. Just that I do know I felt it, and others feel it too--like we are all more "civilized" than Emaratis on this issue.  We do the same thing, just pretend to be innocent about it because it doesn't happen in our countries legally.

And also, the laborers are first exploited in their very own countries before setting foot in UAE.  It is a bigger problem than just getting UAE to change their attitudes about this issue.  If their salaries were increased in UAE, the "fees" they have to pay in their own countries just to get a job in UAE would go even higher, thus continuing the cycle of exploitation.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Do You Want to Go to Japan? Yes you do!! Osaka Version!!

as-salaam aleikum wa rahmatullah,

ohhhh wow I have been lazy in the blogging world lately!!  I need to get caught up!!  I tried to spend a couple days replying to the blogs I am following and then got lazy again!!  So I am finally back with a new post!!

Lets talk about one of my favorite places to travel--Japan!!!  I loooooooooooooooooooooooooove Japan!! love it love it LOVE it!! MashaAllah.  

 I mainly go to Tokyo all the time because that is where my family is, but my husband and I have travelled to Osaka as well.  I want to post some photos so I need to split up my posts into Osaka, Tokyo, and then just a photo post of foods in Japan LOL

 Osaka is Japan's 2nd largest city and is known for its cuisine.  There is a saying in Japan:
  "Dress (in kimonos) till you drop in Kyoto, eat till you drop in Osaka" (京の着倒れ、大阪の食い倒れ)  

The dialect of Japanese spoken there is different from the one spoken in Tokyo.  The dialect is named "Osaka-ben" -- I loooove Osaka-ben!!  Its hard to describe it to someone who doesn't speak Japanese though. Interestingly, a looot of famous Japanese comedians are from Osaka or the surrounding areas that speak with a similar dialect.  Its so interesting to hear  :)     

unfortunately, I didn't take all that many pictures of food while we were there...    and we sure did eat A LOT  LOL

its also hard to find enough photos without me or my husband in them LOL 

Enjoy a few photos inshallah  (God willing)

This is a photo in Namba, Osaka --Namba is considered the entertainment district of Osaka.

Here is a famous crab restaurant in the same area--I have eaten at one of their chain restaurants in Tokyo every time I visit.  The menu is full of different crab a la carte and combo menus.  I love it there MashaAllah-yummy!

Another picture in Namba

Namba Parks Mall

this photo is from a restaurant in the mall that was all-you-can-eat.  You get 1 hour to eat all you want.  The main fun of this place is you go and pick up all the raw meats/poultry/seafood and you get a bowl of a paste made from flour/water and a nother bowl of bread crumbs.  You crumb your own raw food and deep fry right in at the table!!  you can see the stainless steel deep fryer in the pic  :)    It was so good but you do leave smelling like you've been deep-frying food LOL

Some pictures in the Dotonburi area (right by Namba)

Shinsaibashi shopping districts...just a bunch of small blocks lined with places to shop and eat!! 

Here is one place that makes Japanese style souffle cheesecakes.  They had a looong line when my husband and I went so we decided to stand in line and buy one for us.  My husband like it but I thought it was just ok... I much prefer American cheesecakes  :)

the HEP Five Mall--that is a merry-go-round right on the top of the mall!!  We never rode it LOL

a Mexican fast-food chain in Japan. Not authentic Mexican.  LOL  Japan was where I ate the worst Mexican food I have ever eaten in my life LOL--but its a cute place don't  ya think??  :D 

And just a beautiful classic Nissan Skyline (or was it a Daihatsu Datsun (thank you ultra[blue]!!) car back then???) we spotted one day  :)

And can't forget Osaka Castle--this is a replica of an ancient castle in Osaka that was burned down in 1868

Allll I was worried I wouldn't find enough photos to post but I actually had to edit down... :)

next post I will post about Tokyo inshallah!! 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Just a Casual Day :)

as-salaam aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

 ***Texan in UAE... I am working n it!! sorry to take so long but its hard when being put on the spot LOL  its coming slowly inshallah!!

 I've got something yummy to show y'all!!

 So, last night my husband said we should go out to eat lunch so I got up a bit early but he didn't. So I worked out and figured he would be up by the time I finish.  He wasn't.  I realized he was going to really sleep in because he didn't get good sleep this past week.  So I decided to make us a yummy lunch instead.  Pizza Margherita con mozzarella di Bufala!  Pizza Margherita with buffalo mozzarella.

Here is some Pizza dough I made and let rise 2 times, and then there is my homemade pizza sauce (I usually make a lot and freeze in batches), and Fresh Mozzarella made from Buffalo milk (the best fresh mozzarella there is MashaAllah)

got the mat and roller ready

then the dough

then all rolled out and set in the pan--I meant to make it thin crust but the dough overlapped the pan so I rolled it all into a thicker crust. then added my pizza sauce--not too much.  then the buffalo mozzarella (yum yum) and a few sprinkles of regular shredded mozzarella

I sprayed the whole top all over with extra virgin olive oil (I bought one that came in a spray bottle) then bake it up and then here are the results!

I Every part that had the toppings were absolutely delicious MashaAllah, but the thick crust parts were too whole-wheaty if you know what I mean, and we didn't eat most of the crust. I made it with whole wheat flour because we are trying to eat healthier and to lose weight (I need to lose a lot LOL)inshallah.   So I will definitely make this a thin crust pizza from now on inshallah.

If any of y'all want the recipe, you can get it here:

I posted a pizza sauce recipe link as well, though I make a different one now, but I do it all by eye so I will have to pay attention next time to be able to post a recipe inshallah. 

Also, if you don't want it whole wheat, by all means use all white flour, or you can mix it up too! And with the white/mix you can make the crust thicker and it will be yummy  :)

Then later we decided to go see a movie... we chose "Moon" showing at the PictureHouse at Reel Cinemas in Dubai Mall.  It was a good movie by the way  :)

Afterwards we decided to eat at a restaurant named Waterlemon in Dubai Mall.  We loved our food Alhamdulillah.  My husband had the Stuffed Chicken Breasts and I had the Asian Baked Salmon. yummy!!  oh... we splurged a little by ordering chicken wings for our appetizer.  They actually gave us plastic gloves to eat the wings with so our hands wouldn't get messy.  You can't eat wings with plastic gloves!!  Getting your hands dirty is part of the experience  :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

When the Cats Come Out to Play

as-salaam aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

 so.... my cat Tora-chan gets to go outside a few times a day and in the end I make her come in at the latest 1am.  Well.. last night (or early this morning I should say) she didn't come home and I was outside at 2am calling and calling for her.  I finally gave up and went out again at 4:15am and I could hear her pathetic meows from outside the home.   She was trying to climb a tree from outside but maybe she couldn't climb all the way or something to get on our roof so she got scared that she shouldn't get back in.  So I opened the front gate and down that tree and in she came running.

She compeletely smelled like metal... like if you rubbed your hand on stainless steel and then smelled it. So today came what needed to be done but also doubled as her punishment.

Here she was about an hour before just chillin' like a villain--Habibi she is!!:

And here she was after!! 

Here she is trying to clean off the water off herself LOL

Allllll my husband said "I'm not going to help you because I'm scared" LOL  (she fights for her life)  so there I was doin' it by myself.  Then my husband came in to check things out since he heard me yelling at her (she got away and ran out of the tub once) and he even said "it totally smells like metal in here!!" --even water alone couldn't get that smell off.. but I have shampoo for cats so she got lathered up twice. 

After a bit he couldn't take her desperate pleas for help anymore and so he left again LOL   though he finally had to help me at the very end because she started thrashing around too much. 

ahhhhh but now my BRAT sweet sweet Tora-chan is all clean again MashaAllah  :)  

now I have to go take a shower.. that was quite a workout!!  LOL