Big beautiful bags of ice, readily available at every grocery store and gas station in my city.
Why do I say this? And who cares?
Because something interesting happened, and it was funny when I think about it (after the fact).
I should've known I was in for some problems when I was on my 13 hour flight to visit my sister Kentucky in the UAE when I would stop a stewardess on my Qatar airlines flight and and ask for something simple.
"Can I have a cup of ice?"
"Why?" the stewardess would ask each and every time.
I'd blink and hesitate before answering. "I just want a cup of ice. I want to chew some ice."
And that would be followed by a deer-in-the-headlights look from the stewardesses.
One even asked me... "Are you sick? Is something wrong?"
"No. I just want some ice."
Listen... the way they were looking at me, you would've thought I asked for a cigarette...
...while pointing up at the no smoking symbol up on the ceiling of the airplane.
Man. I just needed something cold. They kept bringing around water every 2-3 hours. But I was hot. Or anemic. Who knows. I just wanted some ice. I think part of it was just me wanting to entertain myself on such a LONG flight. Ugh.
They would eventually bring a cup of ice. But it would be in a 4 ounce plastic cup. I wanted to ask if they had in 20 ounce Solo cups in the back of the airplane, but that would be asking too much.
So when I finally made it to my sister's place, and she said we needed to go grocery shopping, I was happy about that. We could get a bag of ice.
Well let's just say I didn't see any bags of ice.
On our second grocery shopping trip, I did see some....ice. We were passing a freezer section and I spotted it out the corner of my eye.
A BOX of ice.
"There go some ice," I said to my sister as I snatched up the box and threw it in the shopping cart.
I could understand why the ice was available in such a small quantity. My sister's fridge is about half the size of a regular sized fridge at home. I have a huge fridge that has french doors and a freezer at the bottom. My sister's fridge is about as tall, but half the width.
So I wasn't surprised at the idea of "boxed ice".
But when I opened the box, there it was, my ice.
A closer look revealed how individual these cubes of ice were.
"Betchu won't chew on that," my sister said as she watched me examine the neatly packed cubes of ice.
She laughed. I wasn't amused.
"Whatever, man," I said as I fought to open the package. "I can let it melt down and then I can chew it."
And that's what I did. It was a fight, though. Opening the packs wasn't that bad. Popping them out the package took a bit of finesse. But I worked it out.
And my sister heard me holler a few times when I saw her headed for the kitchen, "Hey, brang me a package of ice from the freezer!"
The ice thing went on the whole time I was there. Let's just say they aren't big on ice in the UAE. Not like we are here in the USA. The only time I could get a substantial amount of ice was when I would order it at a fast food spot. Beverages were served cold at sit down restaurants, but I had to still ask for cups of ice.
"But the drink is cold already," one waiter said.
"I know," I said, already familiar with this scenario. "I just want a cup of ice."
Now the boxed ice worked out well for my sister, as it fit perfectly in my sister's tall slender fridge. It was definitely a space saver.
The scenario was the same on the 15 HOUR flight back home, me asking for cups of ice, them looking at me like I'm crazy.
You best believe once I got back home I picked up a bag of my FAVORITE ice from the Whole Foods.
Bags of ice made from spring water. SOOOOO GOOD.
YES. All I could do was just stare at the open freezer of ice in Whole Foods. I even took a picture.
Never again will I take simple ice for granted. I was even happy to see the dry ice container at my local grocery store.
I have NO idea what I would do with a block of dry ice.
I was just glad it was available.
And I know I will not take ice for granted ever again.