My second to last day in Saudi saw me on a drive out of the city, accompanied by Louise, to the Camel Souk. To my surprise, after all I haven't spent much time around camels, there are everything from white to black Camels. The black ones in particular I found intriguing. Louise offered to take photos of me near the camels and I got much closer than I thought I would. Standing near the fence, a very dark brown camel came over to make friends and I gave his cheeks a bit of a rub. He seemed to enjoy it and stayed there for a good few minutes while Louise snapped away. This is my favourite shot.
From the Camel Souk we went on to the Kuwaiti Souk where I made the purchase of a set of 12 crystal cups and saucers. Intent on covering a lot of ground, Louise then whisked me over to Kingdom Mall, to the Ladies' Floor where we had coffee. I was very surprised to walk in and be met with a sign that requested all women remove their face covering whilst on the Ladies Floor, for security reasons. The reason being that we can then all be seen to be women. The face cover, or burka, is a traditional garment, and not a religious garment - a fact not well known amongst the majority of us. We met with Prayer time whilst in Kingdom Mall and everything closed up so used our time to head on up to Kingdom Tower to take a look at Riyahd from the Skywalk. From the ground it looks as though the tower is a much wider expanse than it actually is and we were across it in a flash. What a true engineering feat. Looking out and down on to the building's incredible curve was something else.
From there we headed on over to Louise's neighbourhood to a Turkish restaurant for lunch. Being women eating out we were to sit in the Family Area. Restaurants have two sections, one for men and another for families and women on their own. The Family Area consists of booths with high walls and heavy curtains, designed specifically so that no one can see the woman/women within. The curtain is closed and the waiters announce themselves in order to give the woman time to cover her head/face prior to the curtain being opened and food delivered to the table. Being the relaxed types were are, we left the curtain open. The bread was delivered to the table first and I have never seen anything like it! It was almost the length of the table. We also ordered a mezze plate with hommous, baba ganoush, tabbouleh, olives and other goodies. It was gooooooooood.... but there would have been three quarters of the bread left at the end, easily.
|My dream rug|
From the souk, Bronwyn, Brian and I went and parked at Kingdom mall and made our way up to the Italian restaurant in the hotel above. We had a gorgeous meal but I have to say that it is really weird enjoying a such a good Italian meal without a nice glass of chianti, barolo or amarone... alcohol being banned in the Kingdom. The restaurant didn't seem to have a family section but there were curtained off booths for those that chose to use them. There were some young women enjoying a meal and as men arrived, only one covered up. I don't know... I guess some of the rules are flexible or maybe they are becoming more so with the younger generations. That would be nice.
Just one day to go guys, watch this space.