Monday, 15 October 2012

Cover your head!

I'm sitting here sipping my ice cold non-alcoholic beer and finding myself asking the question, why? If it's non alcoholic then what's wrong with juice or pop instead? Since being here I've been comforted by the beer bottles and the recognisable brands such as Budweiser, feeling happier with one in my hand on a Wednesday night (that's a Friday night to you lot) than with a glass of lemonade. I've been through a vast array of flavours- apple, pineapple, pomegranate and classic. The one I've got right now is a classic Bario and I'm pleased to announce it tastes like an ever so slightly watered down Corona.
It's funny how not drinking comes with some big highs and lows. I have to say that I really and truly enjoy never having a hangover.
But on the other hand, I am overly aware that it is approximately 115 hours until we get to the bar in Bahrain airport on our way to Sri Lanka...
Anyway, enough about (non) alcohol. On Thursday I went back to Granada Mall to do some holiday shopping. Keen not to be caught during prayer times again, we headed there at 7pm. Unfortunately for us, the Saudis are also wise to this plan, so it was mega busy. Damn.
When we were finished shopping, we headed up to the food court for the delivery of a bribe called 'we can have a McDonald's if you come shopping with me' (a win-win for me). I had my first, and then second, experience of being told to cover my head  by the mutawwa *the religious police, known as the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Saudi Arabia, Customs and Culture, Nicholas Buchele). I have to say it wasn't as scary as I'd imagined, but rather made me feel somewhat initiated into the ways of this land.
I was highly amused at the McDonald's counter, where Lee took the decision to queue in the 'singles' section, rather than the bustling 'family' section. Whilst waiting at a distance I pondered these titles, wondering why they aren't just called men's and women's sections (as this is pretty much what they are). Then it dawned on me: the names give men the option of going to either one.
Once we had our food we entered the concealed family area of the food court. And my goodness was it packed. Apparently, as we found out later, 9.30 is prime eating out time for Saudis. As we fought for a seat we were appalled by how incredibly dirty the place was and by how many children were running riot, rolling around on the floor, screaming and shouting and sitting on the  tables. Nobody was cleaning up after themselves, but seemed instead to be going out of their way to throw their rubbish on the floor.
One thing's for sure, the experience gave me a mega insight into how the children come to be so badly behaved at school.


  1. It's so strange that there is a singles section? What's the purpose of this? Is it just so people know who is available?

    1. Yes it is strange as the singles is just poor lonely old men- every woman is counted as a 'family'as they can only go out with a father/brother/husband anyway!


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