Greetings from Riyadh and another day of sun!
So life in Wadi Qortuba compound is beginning to take on a bit of a rhythm. People are returning from their winter vacations and new people are moving in so there is a little bit more of a buzz about. Next week they are also holding a ladies’ coffee morning where ladies from other compounds will come over to ours, there will be stalls and a breakfast so that will be a really good opportunity to meet new people. I am also going to two other events next week so I will update on all of those in a future blog.
Meanwhile for this week’s blog I thought I would round up some updates and observations I have made on life in KSA (Kingdom of Saudia Arabia) so far.
Firstly I have a new app on my Saudi phone which is v important – the Call to Prayer App:
This is important because you need to check it before going out and plan your trip around the call to prayer – for example if you arrive at the shops just before a call to prayer you will have to wait outside for half an hour until they re-open, the same if you arrive at a coffee shop or restaurant – however if you’re in before the call the prayer you can continue your coffee or meal (you just can’t pay or order anything else). The times also change slightly every day which is why you need to check!
You can also see the first call to prayer is around 5am in the morning – we have four mosques near us and they all play the call to prayer (slightly out of sync) for each call – although now I generally sleep through it!
A funny thing here is that there are London black taxis here – and when you come out of the airport there are parking spaces for general taxis, ubers and London taxis – I don’t know why they have them – but there you go, that’s Saudi lol!
They are also mad for their honey here! Supermarkets have huge ranges of honey from all different parts – Yemeni honey is particularly delish! When we were in Oman there was a honey festival in one of the malls…
Finally an update on the abaya hunt which I mentioned in my first blog post. I went shopping with two lovely women from South Korea who are our neighbours in Wadi Qortuba and we went to a traditional souk in Riyadh. It was a successful expedition, we all got new button-up-the-front abayas and there was even a tailor on hand to alter them for us. So now I have it hanging by the front door to pop up whenever I go out of the compound (which also means the usual uniform under the abaya is either black leggings or jeans with a T-shirt – no glamour here lol!)
Finally, something I didn’t get a photo of but I wish I had – I was being driven through central Riyadh when we were passed by a pick up truck with three baby camels in the back – two white and and one dark brown – they were so fluffy and cute, but I was too slow to get my camera out before they were gone – will work on that for future blogs!
Until next week,