Wednesday, 27 June 2012

pooling...

A break from Saudi blogging to show how we spent the ONE sunny day we had 
at Daniels family's house out in the countryside. 
 Even if the lake is too cold for wee kiddos to hop into, there are just at the right age for a kiddy pool.  *with heated water, that is*
 Even Markus joined in the fun...
 And Lydia tried to teach him the ropes...
 And of course Farmor (grandma) got a great foot massage....from a two year old.
 Fun times!  That is definitely something we cannot do in our little apartment! 

En liten paus från allt skrivande om Saudi Arabien.  Jag vill visa hur vi spenderade den enda varma soliga dag som vi hade ut på landet på Daniels familj hus.
Även om sjön är för kallt för de lilla barnen att hoppa i, en liten bassang är perfekt. (Med varmt vatten, självklart!)
Även Markus var med...
Och Lydia vill visa honom hur det ska gå till...
Och Farmor fick en fint fotmassage...från en två åring.
En rolig tid!  Detta är nånting som vi kan INTE göra i våran stadslägenhet!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Parents....saudi, part 5

By far, the nicest thing about going to Saudi is getting to see my parents!
Even if it was boiling outside, we sure enjoyed our time there!
Dad has just bought a whole load of fresh fruit drinks, great in the hot weather.  (Plus a surefire way to make friends with Lydia).
 Having a sharwma dinner out on the town, who said cheap is not tasty???
 Taking the daily "swim lesson."  Lydia has been talking about this almost every day since we have returned.
 Enjoying our little snuggle bug.
 Dinner with family and a few sweet friends.
 A dear friend of my parents presenting my mom with a token of friendship at their going away party.
 Markus is checking grandma out...."I think i like this lady!"
Love you mom and dad!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

I am often put off by the sight of uncovered piles of spices or whatever in Arabic street souqs, but have not considered that there is a distinct difference in quality and freshness when you buy this way.

What are those yellow chunks?  Turmeric.  Hard as a rock and freshly ground.  
 This shop owner knew and was trusted by my mom and her friend Pat, and he even showed them a photo of them on his cell phone that he had taken years ago.  If you can trust the spice man, then you can probably get really good spices.
There were plenty of things in that store that we have no idea what to do with, but I came away with quite a stash...including:
Turmeric, star anise, cardamom, bay leaves, cloves, mustard seeds, flax, chili pepper, ground cumin, sumac, garam masala, raw cashews, dried limes, indian cinnamon, and so on.

*It always helps to bring a baby along in this part of the world*
 Some dried limes...
 A whole heaping bundle of bark cinnamon...
 Which turns into amazing indian dishes like these (more on this to come later)
 I can almost taste the spices jumping off this plate!
Yes, the spice souq was a highlight of our trip.  In fact, the Batha market in general is a fun place to wander through.

Friday, 22 June 2012

saudi oddities..saudi part 4

Some things that you will not find in America or Sweden:

1. Censorship of faces.  This lingerie shop had to black out not only these ladies' faces but also their hands and feet???  I also noticed on a pair of kids shoes I bought for Lydia that a little cartoon man had been blacked out with a marker over his face....uh, hello?
 2. I have already mentioned this, but why is it that by law the men can wear more or less whatever they want, the kids can wear whatever they want, and the women have to wear black abayas?  I think that's my mom in the background with a "say no to abayas" picketing sign....(well, actually that's just my mom next to a no parking sign, but I know that she is thinking, "just say no!")

ps, dont get me wrong, I am all about modesty, but seriously?  Black in 45 C /115 F weather??
 3.  Once again, just to keep us women from being stumbling blocks, you are so kindly allowed to enter most restaurants by the side door, and are given an enclosed curtained room to eat in.  I can understand this one though, for all those poor saudi women who veil over their faces and have a hard time eating unless they can take off the face veil to eat in privacy. Although the male waiters came in to deliver our food, they often just pull back the curtain enough to shove the food through so they dont have to see these unveiled women.
 4.  Looks like a road sign, right?  Actually, the government has put up this sign which says, "There is no God but God"....just to remind you to be a good muslim as you are driving through the desert.
 5. Try finding a carpet like this in America/Sweden.  This is a "weapons of Afghanistan" carpet, complete with kalashnikovs, different tanks/airplanes/grenades, etc.  Wouldn't you love to have one of those decorating your living room?
 6.  I stand in amazement to people who still live in tents, especially in this hot weather!
 7. this is one of the only places i know where you have to watch for "the eyes to crinkle" to see whethere someone is smiling at you. 
8.  Know what this is?  Only a few people would probably.  It's a falafel scooper.  And i cant wait to try it out!
One more government sponsored road sign: Praise be to God! 

Thursday, 21 June 2012

The "junk" souq, Saudi, part 3!

Shopping is fun.  Shopping and finding great stuff really cheap is even more fun (in my opinion!). 

Welcome to the junk souq. Looks pretty drab, but is actually full of great finds...
 especially if you bring along one of these..























And one of these...
And a good fashion hunter like my moms friend Pat....

 Looks like the ugly nightgown rack, right?  Actually these are the mens traditional dress, and you can choose it in white, white, or white.

 Here's what we bought for the kids...around thirty items for a total sum of like 25 dollars (at around .75 cents a piece)



Lydia is having a lot of fun with her new clothes!































And just for fun, here are a few glimpses of what others think about this junk souq:
Haha...get it?  Those are people's hands who have been cut off for stealing, a typical Saudi punishment.  We didn't see any of those at the junk souq, thank goodness!  and in this blogger's own words, "I have been told that many of the clothes were likely cast offs from members of the Royal family. "



This lady had a lot to say about the junk souk, go read it if youre interested... http://www.blueabaya.blogspot.se/2012/02/princess-souq.html

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Gold!, Saudi, part 2!

A trip to Saudi wouldn't be complete without a peek into their gold souq (market)!
Look at those guys in the background, ready to wheel and deal....
Here we are in the process of getting my *belated* birthday present (thanks mom!), with a pair of pearl earrings thrown in for Lydia because they just love kids! and of course while you wait you will be served some small sweet glasses of hot tea.
And last but not least, this fellow does a very important job of polishing fine stones...a good friend to my dad who has brought him some stones he picked up in the desert and come out with some nice beauties!
We didnt run into this store....looks more like aladdins cave! (but thats the picture that pops up when you search this topic on google).


Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Saudi, part 1!

Well, here it is....some thoughts and photos from our trip to Saudi.

Starting with the thing that most people think of when you name this region of the world....SAND!

Lydia had her spade and bucket all ready to go play in "the world's biggest sandbox!"



My mom and I had to wear abayas everytime we went out.  Talk about a bad color choice!  I can only say that it was obviously a MAN who chose the rules that all the women in Saudi have to wear black (in the 100+ F degree heat), and all the men should wear these white traditional dresses.   At least they give a decent draft....
Did I ever mention that our daughter is a bit of a dictator?  She put everyone hard to work blowing bubbles for her while she dug in the sand. Below, grandma and grandpa are looking on as Lydia gives the bubble blowing process a shot!
Beautiful....dad, I know that you are gonna miss the desert when you move back to the states!

 What fun, driving out into the middle of nowhere and playing in the sand until it got too hot to walk in!!


Believe it or not, stuff DOES grow here.  Below are a just a few samples of the plants that grow in the desert there.

And of course, even out in the middle of nowhere, there has to be a mosque....looks to me more like a church though; maybe all the church looking mosques got punished and sent out to the desert so people wouldn't be confused or tempted.


Här får nu några tänker och bilder från vår resa till Saudi. 


Vi ska börja med den som många tänka på när du nämna den världsregionen....sand!

Lydia här hennes spad och hink redo att leka i världens största sandlådan!


Jag och min mamma fick har på oss abaya klänningar på oss varje gång vi gick ut.  Vilket dåligt färg!  Jag kan bara säga att det var självklart en man som bestämd att alla kvinnor ska va svart klädd (i 45 grader vädret) och alla män ska har vitt på sig.  åtminstone blåsa det in i den stor klänningen när man gå....


Har jag berättat att vår dotter är en liten diktator?  Hon sa till att alla ska jobba hårt och blåsa bubblor för henne när hon grävde i sanden. Även mormor och morfar kolla när Lydia försok själv att blåsa bubblor. 

Vackert!  Pappa, jag vet att du ska komma sakna öknen när ni flyttar tillbaka till staterna. 

Vad roligt, att köra ut till mitt på ingenstans, och leka i sanden tills det var för varmt att stå på!


 Tro eller ej, det finns växter i öknen. kolla på några som vi hittade.


Och även i mitt på ingenstans måste de har en moské.  Det ser till mig ut som en kyrka- kanske alla moskéerna som sa ut för mycket som en kyrka blev straffad och skickad till öknen så folket ska inte bli frestad. (haha).

Ordering food over the internet? This past week we tried "matsmart.se" to buy discount food.  Interesting idea, and here are...