Interesting things episode two

Probably one of my favorite aspects of traveling is seeing the day to day things in a different country. One of the clearest memories from my recent trip to East Africa is of the eggs. They were the brightest yellow yolks I have ever seen and made absolutely gorgeous omelets (prepared to order on a deck with a lovely view!) I am constantly shooting photos of the most mundane things that become interesting due to their lack of similarity to the same thing at home. Riyadh has hundreds of things that are VERY different from home so even grocery store trips are entertaining!

The architecture here is stunning! They have every imaginable style. The outside doors and gates in the walls tend to be quite elaborate.
Some of my colleagues. Love our “uniform!”
These next photos are from the Bath’a Souk. It is huge and has almost everything you could think of, mostly cheap versions of them.  There are sections with electronics, clothes, perfumes, jewelry, bags, rugs, spices, bedding, home goods, tents, scarves, you name it, there is a section for it.  It is easy to get turned around in here. I drop a pin on the sat nav on my phone where the car is parked so I know I can get back!
Men cutting and sewing bags
Closed stalls
A few local sweets. They were not too tasty.
More bag vendors

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The array of spices was amazing. So many colors and scents in this area! And they are so cheap. You buy spices by the scoopful here for pennies on the dollar relative to home.


The guy on the right makes tents (the Bedouin kind you have seen in some of my prior posts.) They are lined inside with the patterned fabric on his walls and often have the fringe like he has around his sewing machine table
These guys custom made a bag for my friend in an hour, for 12 USD!
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Probably not buying any wardrobe staples here!


The scarves are incredible here. There is obviously a large market for them in the Muslim community


A bit difficult to make out but the souk is lining the streets, all of the lower levels of the buildings are shops. It reminds me of Chinatown, with many more cultures involved.


Fabrics to buy or have made into something custom at the souk


My friend Alex buying bags for his girlfriend at home
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One of the shoe cubbies outside the mosque that is within the souk
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Measuring and cutting fabric

The next few photos are just a collection of things I found interesting, different, or funny.

Lamb chops on my barbeque…I looove the price of lamb here!
I get paid my monthly salary in cash…and since Riyals aren’t worth much and the highest note is 500, I get a stack every month!
Dinner at Karam Beirut with colleagues. This restaurant has some of the best (maybe the best) Arabic food in the city.
This is how Arabs typically dine. Tons of food on the table for everyone to share. It is wonderful but I have put on a few pounds already. I am paying closer attention now.
Bowling at the Ritz Carlton. There aren’t really any public bowling alleys here. The city has two, one in the Ritz and one in the men’s mall. I beat all but one of these guys…in an abaya no less!!!
“Modest” swim costume. It comes with long pants, as well. Make sure to notice the headpiece. I will stay on shore before I wear this silliness!
On one of the trips out into the desert we stopped at a store that offers supplies for Bedouin camps. It was fascinating. They had a ton of supplies, most of which I can’t imagine using in a tent. It also had many other supplies handy for camel farming and lord knows what.
Industrial size gas burners
Teapots and carafes. Both coffee and tea are huge here. The Arabic coffee is made from barely roasted (mostly still green) coffee beans. It is a yellowish color and many spices are added. I tasted primarily cardamom. It is taken in espresso size cups and is bitter. One usually eats dates with it for the sweetness of them to offset the coffee.
Barbed wire, for keeping camels in or people out?
Cooking supplies
Various home repair needs…I think
Food warmers
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Tent stakes
More warming tables
I could easily sit in these. They are huge
These folding “stools” look pretty handy!


Rice is a staple here
This was posted in my compound. Do you think it would happen at home?
Following are photos from shopping trips I have taken. Some are in the grocery store, others in malls or small retail stores. Quite entertaining.
I have seen many of these realistic mannequins in men’s stores.
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The swim gear packaging is made “modest” in order to be displayed. Some poor guy has the sharpie job
This sharpie artist got creative. Often they just scribble out the ladies faces. He drew on a niqab.
Baby chair in a restaurant. I’m sure that there must be some safety issues around this one
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Not entirely sure what job this guy has but I know it is bad.  This outfit alone in the 110 f or higher temps is brutal
5 Kg tubs of Nutella, heaven is here
Not the most convenient of packaging but this is how one buys eggs.
I’ve eaten rabbit and been aware that it was rabbit and not had a problem with it. This I have trouble with. Looks like little dead babies in the meat section of my grocery store.
Haven’t seen this at home but it is handy feature. Good place for delicate items…but not the eggs… as here they will tip all out if not kept flat due to the poor packaging model.
So one last story. This is so Saudi. I have had 4G wireless internet using a sim card for the 2 months that I have been here. This is because “the prior tenant of my villa left his account unpaid.” Why this impacts me, I have no idea but the business manager for my employer had to battle to get me fiber optic internet. He finally threatened the villa manager that he would find me new lodgings if I wasn’t able to get landline internet here. Seeing as the rent is about 175,000 SAR a year (that is almost $50,000 USD) they didn’t want to lose me and figured something out.  Anyway, the techs came today to install it and this, yes this, is where they put it. Directly above the breakfront in my dining room. I plan to purchase a tapestry to cover it up. Unreal!
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