Monday, March 31, 2008

All Juiced Up

a variety of juices
Summer has arrived early in Qatar. In reality we should still call it spring since we have a long way to go until June 21, which is considered the official first day of summer. But tell this to the thermometer in my car. The temperature often surpasses 100 F /38 C, in a few weeks it will exceed 120 F /49 C. This year is assumed to be much hotter than previous ones. Fortunately, we will be escaping this heat for 2 months when we go back home for a visit.

So how does one survive this scalding weather? Most of us will now voluntarily stay inside, and most activities will be indoor based. People will flock to bowling alleys, movie theatres, restaurants, and most importantly, to malls in greater numbers then usual. The evenings however are still cooler; it is perfect for alfresco dining in the courtyards of numerous restaurants, or picnicking along the much loved shoreline called the Cornish. In a few weeks however, even this simple pleasure will become a rarity.

In this heat, as all of us know, one needs to continuously hydrate and replenish lost fluids throughout the day. Supermarkets will commence to stock capacious arrays of drinks from all over the world. The expat community is exceptionally large and diverse, and all palates and tastes need to be pleased.

pomegranate drink mixFruit juices are enormously popular in this part of the world, and they come in an extensive selection. They come freshly squeezed and in bottles, cartons, cans, and in powdered and liquid mixes. The flavors are representative of the world. Fresh Tropicana orange juice from the United States, lemon barley water from the United Kingdom, lychee and durian from Thailand, tamarind from the Philippines, mango and coconut from India, pomegranate from Lebanon, apricot (called qamar el deen) from Egypt … I can go on and on.

mango milk A great assortment of other drinks besides juice is also available. Tang, which is now obsolete in the United States, is hugely popular here and is greatly enjoyed by my children as well. A combination of milk and juice (appropriately called juice-milk) is also well liked, especially among children. Flavored milk comes in a mélange of flavors. Along with the more common chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, we also see coffee, mango, guava, chikoo, banana and biscuit flavors. Soft drinks and sports drinks such as Gatorade are also available, but with such great choices of other products, why bother with these? Having said all this, I however, personally prefer the ultimate drink of all – good old water.

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