I am in the Middle East too. I am longing to go cosmetics and perfume shopping when I go home. Not because we don't have them here - we do, in huge abundance. But the sales staff outnumber to customers three to one, and are like desperate leeches that attack you the second you get in the door, then they literally follow you around the shop, watching you like a hawk, and if you hand wanders towards any product to look at it, or your eye rests for a split second too long on something, they are there, in your face, trying to sell it to you. Yet on the odd occasion I have decided to play along and ask questions about the product (perfume for example) that can't tell me a damn thing about it.
If I appear to be looking a perfumes they'll just pick up whatever's newest (some Kim Kardashian crap or other) and say 'try this mam, it's new. Best Seller. Very popular.' and try to douse me in the stuff.
And if I go in with something specific in mind, let's say a Chanel lipstick, and they don't have it in stock and am immediately asked if I'd like to buy some Chanel moisturiser instead. Er....no, thanks.
I am actually becoming too intimidated and annoyed to cross the threshold now. Customer service is a very odd thing out here. It's either non-existent and clueless or you feel like you are being stalked and bullied. There's no in between.
Oh, and it's nice to be somewhere where the pavements contain pedestrians, and cycle paths contain cyclists. Where I live the locals think it's perfectly acceptable to drive up the pavement and across the cycle path as a shortcut to skip the queue at a red traffic light.
Oh god reading this thread I'm nearly in tears. I'm in the Antipodes, been here nearly 30 years, single parent for the last 10, 3 kids, all adults now, this is home to them, they've known no other. UK is still 'home' to me but the reality is I've no close rellies there and if I moved back I'd not see my kids for years on end, so I've no choice really but to stay here, but my heart yearns for England.
Oh HHH not been away nearly as long as you nor roots as deep so can only imagine what a wrench either way...sounds like you've been through the mill, have you got good friends over there?? Expats who "get" it as well as locals??
You need a "horrible things about the UK" thread . Shall i start??
The weather Grey buildings, sky, landscapes, people Can't do culture Old world and its limitations rather than new world and its possibilities Unexciting
Oh and thanks to those who posted SA related links! Yes to all of them i think, v true.