Hello and greetings from Riyadh!
This week I can’t say it’s another day of sun because there has been thunder and lightning and last night there was a torrential downpour. They don’t have drains (mostly there’s no need) so the roads are all very slippery (and the drivers have little experience of driving in wet conditions = white knuckle morning commute!) . The rain water that pools lies until eventually it evapourates.
Also ahead of thunder storms (or any extreme weather) the civil defence sends out warning texts to everyone on the Saudi network which is v helpful.
Anyway, enough of the weather update!
The other evening we went for a walk in our local area. The north west part of Riyadh we are living in was desert two years ago and close by is a a main highway leading out to the desert. The Saudis have a passion for camping and picnicking so to facilitate that are a cluster of shops and stalls selling all things camping related – a good place to stop off for anything you might have forgotten before you hit the desert for real. Most of the stall sellers are only there once it gets dark (about 5.30pm at the moment).
There are also corn-on-the cob sellers and you can stop off for a cup of Qahwa (cardamom flavoured coffee) is you’re in need of a top up…
Apart from evening walks we also paid a visit to the Saudi National Museum. The first gallery is dedicated to geology. Normally a small section in any other museum, but given the benefits of oil to Saudi Arabia geology gets a top billing here!
At the same time we visited there was also a large group of Saudi Scouts. I had no idea Scouting was a thing here but a quick Google reveals there has been an official Saudi Arabian Boy Scouts Association since 1961!
We visited the Museum on a Friday which opens after prayers at 4pm and stays open until 10pm. When we came out it was dark and the square around was teaming with life. Families were enjoying the cool night with picnics and little children were racing around on bikes and scooters:
Finally, we were very lucky to be invited to the Irish Embassy to watch the Ireland v England Six Nations Rugby match. We sat outside under a large wooden gazebo watching the match on a projection screen surrounded by palm trees. The result might not have been what we would have wanted but it was a lovely evening and a surreal experience to be watching rugby at the Irish Embassy in Riyadh surrounded by a sea of green rugby shirt-wearing supporters.
And that’s all for this week – until next time,
PS please feel free to leave a comment – it’s always good to know what people think about the blog! And I also post more photos on my Instagram: anne.mcgrath248