Archive for the ‘toys’ Category


Busy Weekend

June 17, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

Friday morning plans included an early (8:30 am) morning breakfast get together with friends at a new restaurant in Dubai. The plans did not include not being able to get out of our parking garage because a trench had been dug across the entrance/exit. Only one way in and out and we were not getting out. This resulted in a switch to taking a taxi.

plate of eggs, sausage patties, potatoes, and a biscuit

The food was good, but the customer service was very bad, so I’ll leave out the name of the restaurant. The company of friends was wonderful as always.

Having traveled by taxi and having doctor appointments at 4 pm, we had a whole day to kill. So we spent most of it at Dubai Mall.

dinosaur exhibit

We checked out the new dinosaur exhibit in the grand atrium. There was a contest to name it and the winner was “Dubai Dino.” Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it required a contest to come up with that. It has a ridiculously small head.

dinosaur exhibit

Then we traveled by the metro to Health Care City.

view out the train window

Dinner (or a really late lunch) at Circle Cafe followed.

plate of chicken, sweet potato fries

Then we had a bit of an adventure getting onto the Dubai-Fujairah bus. We missed one departure, but managed to catch the next one. It was a long day.

Saturday was a bit simpler since we could drive our own car. We met friends for dinner at our favorite restaurant, Aroos Damascus. We stuffed ourselves with marvelous food.

bowl of fresh vegetables

Aside from the fantastic fresh baked bread and delicious meats, my favorite thing is the complimentary bowl of fresh veggies.

The conversation turned to fish – salmon, tuna, etc., – so it didn’t seem out of place when our friend Rami said “What’s the best tuna?” After a brief pause, Daddybird and I simultaneously said “Chicken of the Sea.” This was met with laughter. Apparently, that was the answer Rami was looking for. He has asked it in many situations, but we were the first to answer correctly. He had been watching an “Apprentice” show where the task was to update the Chicken of the Sea ad campaign and he had never heard of it before. He found the idea of chicken of the sea funny. (

Over the years we have collected (on purpose) ridiculous toys. Now that we have to move and are trying to reduce what we take with us as much as possible, we have solved this by giving the toys away at our farewell parties. It’s been fun, even for the recipients.

two boxed toys, lion and funny cock

Birds of a Feather

Interest Chicken and Lion


Too Courageous To Be Met With

April 26, 2013

Posted by Kanga.

toy kitchen set with Hello Kitty and another cartoon cat on the package
Hello Kitty and Spaz Cat? or Winky Cat?

toy kitchen set with Snoopy and a duck on the package
Snoopy and Random Duck?

toy race car labeled "alacrity"
Alacrity? “Brisk and cheerful readiness.” I guess it fits.

toy houses labeled "angry birds"
We find that they are putting “Angry Birds” on everything, whether relevant or not. “Welcome to my little world. Let’s play together.”

toy train
“Train Energy Powerful: Too courageous to be met with”

wall covered with serving spoons
Serving spoon, anyone?


Ride the Emu Train

September 28, 2012

Posted by Kanga.

toy train

Get aboard the Emu Train. It goes lickety split.

close up of the train on which is written "lickety split"

knock off barbie dolls with one breast exposed

These knock-off Barbies seem to be having costume malfunctions.

ceramic smurfs and red birds

For some unknown reason, the store had oodles of smurfs (and angry birds).

ceramic smurfs with sideburns and wearing kilts

Including MacSmurf.

smurf wall hangings

And if ceramic smurfs aren’t enough, there are pictures to hang on your wall.

another smurf wall hanging

Plenty to choose from. There were also two poor employees in smurf suits out in the parking lot. In this heat, the thing you don’t want to be wearing is a blue furry suit and a big head.

black lace with silver sparkles doll chairs and lounge

These are the best doll chairs ever!

golden bottles, long neck above a bulbous bottom

I dream of Jeanie…


Say Almost Anything

September 12, 2012

Posted by Kanga.

I have been looking (desperately) for card and board games to use with my students. The toy stores carry the usual suspects – Monopoly, Scrabble, and Uno – but these don’t fit what I need. I’m looking for games that will make reading fun, so that the students won’t realize that they are learning. The games have to be simple enough to learn in one sitting without being boring once learned. It’s a tall order in a country that doesn’t (yet) have a real game store. [Hint to any budding entrepreneurs reading this, there are many potential customers for a REAL game store here. We do not need more cupcakes or t-shirts. Bring us card and board games, please.]

I have to resort to shopping while out of country. In Singapore, I found a small game store and purchased two items. One is a board game called Say Anything.

In case you are not familiar with this game, it involves prompt questions to which the players write answers. This is golden, because it involves reading and writing. Once I cracked it open and read the questions, however, I discovered it to be very American and in need of some adjustment for my target audience.

So, to make this game culturally/age appropriate, here are the questions I deleted. (My students are Muslim, male, age 13-18.)

  • What’s the best thing about being a woman? What’s the worst thing about being a woman? and What’s the most annoying thing about being a woman?
  • What’s the worst place for a date? What is the best date movie? What would be the most inappropriate thing to say on a first date? If you could go on a date with anyone, who would it be? What’s the best activity for a first date? What’s the most underrated place for a date? What’s the ideal romantic evening? What’s the most romantic movie of all time? What’s the cheesiest pickup line ever? (Dating, in the western sense is not done. Marriages are arranged as a family affair.)
  • What was the best 60’s band? 70’s band? 80’s band? (These boys were born in the late 90’s and I doubt that their parents grew up listening to the Beatles.)
  • What should my gravestone say? (Muslim Arab graves are marked only to indicate that it is grave. There are no gravestones engraved with names, dates, and tributes. Visiting graves is rare, usually only at the time of burial.)
  • What’s the best song for a wedding dance? What song is most likely to pack the dance floor? What dance would you most want to be good at? (Weddings and dances are very different from Western culture. Both weddings and dancing are done separating the sexes.)
  • If you could be the opposite gender for a day, what would you do?
  • What would be the worst thing to scream during church? (They don’t attend church.)
  • What would be the weirdest secret to hear about your mother?
  • What’s the best beer? What’s the best drinking game? (Alcohol is forbidden.)
  • What’s the grossest thing to kiss? (First, I’m not even sure why this is in the game to begin with. Kissing is not to be done casually or out of wedlock.)
  • What’s the worst thing to say to a cop after getting pulled over? (This rarely happens here. Most traffic monitoring and ticketing is done by camera.)
  • Your parents are out of town. What happens at the party? (This is definitely an American thing. I doubt parents travel and leave their teens at home.)
  • What’s the most romantic place for a honeymoon? (Honeymoon is a Western tradition, but it is sometimes done. However, this is not an age appropriate topic.)
  • What’s the best way to impress a woman?
  • What would Jesus do? (This is my personal favorite.)

The following I left in.

  • What’s the best way to pamper yourself? (I’m not sure the word “pamper” is in their vocabulary.)
  • What’s the best musical of all time?
  • What’s the tastiest pie flavor? (Pies are not common here.)
  • Who’s the best R&B musical group? (Will they know R&B? If it said Rap or Hip-Hop, they would have an opinion.)
  • Who’s the best character on The Simpsons? (Simpsons actually airs here.)
  • What’s the best way to spend a day off when playing hooky? (They know the concept of hooky, but I’m not sure they know that word.)
  • Who should just shut up? (This could be interesting or chaotic.)
  • Who’s the best character from Sesame Street or the Muppets? (I don’t know if Sesame Street is known here, but the Muppets should be.)
  • I just got to Las Vegas. What’s first thing I do? (This one might be tricky.)

Some needed modification.

  • What’s the sexiest personality trait for a woman/man? – changed that to “best”
  • What’s the best present to get for a significant other? – changed that to “loved one” (mother, father, sister, brother, etc.)

Jigsaw Puzzle Cat

July 29, 2012

Posted by Kanga.

white cat laying next to a jigsaw puzzle box

As I am on vacation, I decided to do a puzzle. Oliver, of course, decided to help. He wasn’t crazy about the fact that I wouldn’t let him chew the puzzle pieces.

puzzle almost done, except for the sky section

It always comes down to the sky pieces, doesn’t it?

white cat sitting in the puzzle box

Oliver is being very helpful by holding down the puzzle box. Boxes have a powerful cat gravity.

white cat sitting on the partially assembled puzzle

Then he decided to be unhelpful.

completed puzzle

But, I finished in spite of his help.


Grocery Store Discoveries

October 7, 2011

Posted by Kanga.

rocky road ice cream

Rocky Road Ice Cream – and there was the sound of angels singing…

various packaged snack foods

Fudgee Bars, which come in “vanilla jolt,” “mocha rage,” “milky craze,” and “durian delight” flavors. The size and packaging led us to wonder if these were like Twinkies, but no, they are not that squishy or lacking in nutrition. Cupp Keyk takes brand misspelling to a new height. Kat Kat Tat doesn’t sound very appetizing to me.

package of Quaker oats for rice

Quaker seems to have thought of everything. Oats to put in your rice, because not just any ol’ oats will do.

Discoveries at other stores:

plastic toy, bunny with wings

Pega-bunny jumps over the moon!

plungers with handles shaped like women

These kinds of things always stick out like sore thumbs to us. Apparently, no one is concerned about sexualized toilet plungers.


Joys of Shopping

July 3, 2011

Posted by Kanga.

The joys of discount store shopping in Fujairah match those of doing it in Dubai. Here’s a few highlights from today’s adventure.

store shelf full of realistic hand guns

First, some quite realistic looking toy handguns and plastic rifles. I’m fairly sure that these have been eradicated from American store shelves.

store aisle full of Barbie doll imitations

Not far away are the Barbie wannabes. There were some brunettes in the bunch, but they were all fair of complexion.

coffee mug that includes a spoon

This “one piece mug” apparently comes with two pieces – mug and spoon.

baskets that look like they are made of popsickle sticks

If you wondered where all those summer camp popsickle stick craft projects went, here they are.

laundry detergent boxes resembling Tide

Do these remind you of any well known detergent brand? Maybe it wouldn’t be so obvious if they weren’t displayed side by side.