Grocery Shopping at Carrefoure
Shopping at Carrefoure is like shopping at a classier version of SuperTarget – one of the best stores I know at home. Not all my friends like it, but for me it’s a perfect mix of a regular grocery store, plus some health food items, bakery, deli and a bit of everything else from office supplies and computers to clothes and patio furniture. It’s connected to Granada Mall and is just a 15-minute walk from our apt.
My favorite part is when you walk in and usually fresh pitas are coming out of the oven on a conveyor belt. Puffy and warm, they lightly settle just in time to be stuffed in a bag. You can stand there and get your own warm, freshly stuffed bag of about 8 pitas for less than dollar. Just the thing with their deli hummus, olives and feta.
The first time I shopped there, I got locked in. I heard an announcement in English, but didn’t catch it. Then I heard a prayer call and next thing you know, the clerks were gone. But shoppers are free to stay in if they like (or if they’re clueless!) So, for 20-30 minutes, we shopped.The shoppers include Saudi men and women, as well as the rest of us here: immigrant workers and their families.
For the majority of people who do take the opportunity to pray, there’s a prayer room in the mall and a prayer space near the front of the store with prayer rugs. There’s also an extra room in some of the women’s restrooms, where women can pray.
I checked out the Carrefour website for Granada Mall. It’s hard to remember that there really is no separation of religion and business here, so even for international companies like Carrefour (French), it lists store services including Mosque. And the website offers free MP3 downloads of media. The ad says “Holy Quran. MP3 Promotions. Ringtones. English Arabic Songs.”
But what comes up for this store in Riyadh is a list of excerpts from the Holy Quran. I’m game. I downloaded a few successfully. I try to listen to Arabic everyday and the singing of the Quran punctuates the day with prayer calls. I’d love to learn them. Never would have thought to check the grocery store website for free MP3 downloads of the Quran.