Stuff I Can’t (or Couldn’t) Find

As often happens when in a foreign country, there are certain things readily available in the USA that are difficult or impossible to find here in Abu Dhabi.  I decided to make a list of them.  The ones that are crossed out are ones that I previously couldn’t find, but have since discovered (there IS a small teacher-supply store here, saw it today!!!)  If you know where in Abu Dhabi I might acquire such things, or if you’re just curious what I miss from home, here ya go.

  • Always Infinity Maxi Pads
  • Swiffer Dusters (at True Value in Marina Mall)
  • The triangular stick-on plastic barriers that keep water from spilling out of tub around the sides of your shower curtain
  • An outdoor thermometer with Farenheit numbers (True Value)
  • CLR Cleaner (True Value)
  • Goo Gone adhesive remover (True Value)
  • Swiffer Sweeper cloths (only found in Dubai, surely Abu Dhabi has some?)
  • Secret Clinical Strength Anti-Perspirant (found Degree–close enough–in Dubai, but nothing in AD)
  • Victoria’s Secret bras
  • Dr. Scholl’s (or similar) “Work” gel insoles–the super thick kind
  • Ordinary bobby pins, as opposed to fancy curved ones that don’t work and cost like $10 a package (Lulu Hypermarket; apparently they were just out of stock last time I checked.)
  • Popsicle Sticks (Teacher’s Place, Al Muroor) –good thing I found them, I was this close to buying and eating 20 popsicles to get the freaking sticks to use in class!  Actually, my kids would probably have been willing to help me out with that.
  • Classroom calendar set (Teacher’s Place)
  • Four Blocks “Big Blocks” Lesson Plan Book
  • Real American Diet Coke (not Coca Cola Light, it doesn’t taste the same!) and Fresca soda
  • Febreze (multiple places including right by my house, I just wasn’t looking hard enough)
  • A place that will change my watch battery, because no one seems to do Movado brand watches here
  • Whoopie Pies! Couldn’t get them in Georgia either; I’m just a New England girl at heart and love them 🙂
  • Ordinary lined notebook paper; surely this must exist here, but I can’t seem to find it; I bought a legal pad and ripped all the pages off instead, which seemed kind of silly.
  • An inexpensive digital alarm clock/clock radio that is not a “Muslim” one.  The one I have beeps when it is time to pray, which would be nice if I were Muslim, but I’m not, and I can’t find another one under like $100! (Tchibo Outlet Store in Khalidiyah Mall)
  • Clothes in my size (bhs, Liz Claiborne, Evans, Debenhams, probably some other places–SO glad it’s easier to shop here than Korea!  I also seem to have lost weight here although I have not yet bought a scale and confirmed this.)
  • Plain manila folders–I can only find thick, cardboardy ones with clips in the middle like they use at doctor’s offices kinda. I just want the cheap file folders and can’t figure out why I can’t find them! (Jarir Book Store, Al Mina port area, Abu Dhabi)
  • Papermate Profile ball-point pens, because I just love the way they write, they’re smooth and comfortable for grading papers.  Should have brought a bunch over with me.
  • The “Babymouse” kids’ book series. I think my kids here would love them, and I have all 10 of the series back in the US.  I could order them to be shipped here from Amazon, and may do just that at some point.  Amazon’s international shipping isn’t terrible for most books, but it’s crazy expensive for almost everything else.
  • Post-it Super Sticky Notes: I found only one pad of these, in one color, at one store here, so far at least. (Jarir Book Store, Al Mina–they have a slightly bigger selection, although not Staples-caliber–MAN I miss Staples!)

So, if you have any ideas where I might either find these items here, or have them shipped for less than an arm and a leg (and Aramex’s Shop’n’Ship service, to me, qualifies as charging an arm and a leg, unfortunately), please share!  And if you’re contemplating moving here I would be happy to let you know if certain things are available here as well.


21 responses to “Stuff I Can’t (or Couldn’t) Find

  1. First off, great list. I’m familiar with that kind of frustration. Second of all, when were you in Korea? I was there for a 3-day “layover” on my way back from Vietnam 2 years ago and loved, loved, loved it! Wish I could have stayed!

    • I lived on the man-made island where the Incheon International Airport is. I liked it at first, but it’s culturally and linguistically a very difficult place for Westerners to live. I was there for six months in 2004-2005.

  2. Embrace the Cola Light!! It’s so much better than Diet Coke (IMHO), I miss it.

  3. I have never even heard of this triangular things for your shower curtains , please explain!

    I can’t find Victoria’s Secret bras anywhere I have lived in Canada, but you can find them on ebay for pretty cheap!

    I could make a list a million pages long on what I can’t get here in Gjoa 🙂 But I guess I live in an isolated “town” of 1100, not a major city! haha.

  4. I really enjoy reading your blog and I wish I could send you some whoopie pies from here in Maine! I have never really seen them outside of Maine/Mass/NH though.

    Here’s a recipe:

  5. I am sure you can order some of these things you absolutely need online. Maxi pads are a must, so try ordering things online or have a friend or family member ship them to you.

    • So far I haven’t been able to find anyplace online that will ship here, that has the stuff I need 😦 I did get a friend visiting Canada to bring a bunch of the pads back with her though hehehe

  6. I like reading you blog, and welcome to the Emirates 🙂
    you really need to look in the right places, most of the stationary stuff you can find them in Almutahida bookstore in Mena area. Second, have you heard of shop&ship? It is a facility offered by Aramex. You will pay $35 one time fee and it will give you a newyork mailbox and a UK one. where you can order anything online and have it shipped to that mailbox and as soon as it arrive it will be sent to you here. For me it it much cheaper for me to go online and get it that way. Oh and by the way Victoria secrets ship to Abu Dhabi 🙂 please let me know if you need more info 🙂

  7. First, welcome to the Emirates, I really like reading your blog. Second, you need to look for your stuff harder 🙂 65% of the stuff you can find here but it will take you quit sometime. For you stationary stuff you might wanna check out Almuttahida bookstore in Mena area you know behind ToysRus. For the shower tringle thing have you been to Ace hardware? I think you will find it there. Now for the online ordering, I would recommend shop&ship which is a facility offered by Aramex were you will pay a one time fee of $35. You will get a New York mailbox and UK one. Now you can by almost everything online and have it shipped then aramex will deliver it to you door for every 1/2 kg you will pay AED 39. And by the way victoria’s secrets ship to Abu Dhabi. That is what I can think of right now 🙂 please let me know if you need more information.

  8. our watch battery. Try Madinat Zayed Shopping Center or Hamdan Centre. Any of the watch retailers will be happy to change your battery.

    • I have tried every watch retailer at every mall I’ve been to here. They all say they don’t do this brand. I’ll just take care of it when I’m back in the US for Christmas in a few weeks.

  9. hi there, ironically i just came across your blog in a totally unrelated search! my kids were at a.i.s.a. until this year (i’m homeschooling now). they were kg2 and grade 1 last year. we really loved the school and teachers.
    you will NOT find any Secret here. they do not import that brand here (you can buy the regular secret it in Oman, though).
    i think i saw post it sticky notes at booksplus at khalidiya mall yesterday…
    and usually the bateen abu dhabi co-op (11th and 28th) or the one at abu dhabi mall has them.
    happy hunting!!

  10. Hi, I just came across your blog and boy did I relate to most of your frustration. I lived in NC and moved here in Abu-Dhabi last year. My husband work as a contractor to one US company and we got lucky to join him. Some stuff are just hard to find or you can’t find at all. I usually order it online and have it ship here. You mention the digital alarm clock , mine with radio. Let me know if you still need one cuz I have a brand new one extra. By the way, we live in Khalifa Street near Corniche Beach. This place is really nice I’m starting to get use to how things are here. Have a nice day:)

  11. Patrick A. Crawley

    I am a single male. God bless you.

  12. Hi, I noticed that the swiffer dusters is crossed out, does that mean you found them at true value or? Need the swiffers!

  13. This is not a reply but a question. I am from Georgia and live 17 miles north of Savannah. I am interested in teaching in your area,how do I get there from here? I have 7 years experience at the Elementary level. I was one of the reduction in force people last May.

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