Greetings from Riyadh and another day of sun in KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)! I arrived late last Wednesday and have been acclimatising and orientating myself since then. I thought in this first blog I would reflect on some of the initial things I have noticed about general life in the Kingdom.
So first of all I have to wear the abaya (pictured) when out of our compound. Not being Muslim I don’t have to wear the headscarf. However I am hoping to get a new abaya – one that you put on like a coat rather than mine which I have to put on over my head and is a bit more fiddly so I am currently trying to find where I can get a new one – I had thought there would be abaya shops everywhere given that everyone wears them but they appear to be rarer than hen’s teeth lol (apart from very expensive designer ones in the fancy malls)! The search continues …
Speaking of the malls there are so many of them all across the city with many more under construction. They have all the brands we recognise – Zara, Mango, TopShop, Debenhams, M&S clothes etc etc plus a lot of American brands – but where the malls differ is that they don’t have any music in the malls or in the shops. Also, most shops don’t have fitting rooms for women – you have to buy and bring it home to try it on and then you only have three days to return = pressure lol!
There is also A LOT of construction everywhere – Riyadh is expanding in every direction – new offices, accommodation and shopping malls are springing up everywhere, which also means there are a lot of construction sites everywhere and they are building a brand new metro system which is due to come on line sometime next year.
We live in a western-style compound which is designed around a wadi (a pool of water surrounded by plants and vegetation – like a small oasis. The architecture of our compound is Lebanese, but I will do a future post about the compound and compound living.
So that’s all for the first instalment – more to follow in the weeks to come! Anne :0)