*This blog post was written on the 2nd March, but I don’t have wifi access, so this is belatedly going online when I can get onto the internet*
Today was fairly uneventful. Had another 7.30am collection for day two of our orientation, which was in the big building on the other side of the compound. After we had lunch we were scheduled to sign our housing contracts, but since Louise & I did it yesterday, we had an empty afternoon.
So what better way to spend an afternoon that by ripping the band aid off & going to the big scary world. Georgia had mentioned to us that iKea wasn’t far away & that it was super easy to get too, & as she’s been outside a few times, offered to go to us to iKea. I think Louise & I were both a bit scared about going outside, especially Louise. She has long blonde hair, & was worried about locals staring at her.
It turns out that it was super easy to go out. We ordered a taxi, which took us straight there, & who came back to meet us when we were done. The taxi was super cheap (70SAR return, about £15, between 3 of us), & the driver helped load & unload all our buys. We had to wear our abaya’s out, & I’d never tried mine on before today, so I’m pleased it fit! Louise picked mine up for me before we came over, but I never had a chance to try it on before leaving. We both expected to have some stares or people being rude to us, but there was none of that. The only thing that was a bit disconcerting was a car full of men taking pictures of us as they drove past, but I think we’ll have to deal with that.
I didn’t buy much from iKea, because I didn’t think it was that cheap. Bed sheets were £70, & towels were about £50 for a set. I figured that for those prices I can get better quality stuff online. My new, bigger bed arrives on Tuesday, so I’d like to get the new bedsheets in time for that, but I think it’s unlikely as I need wifi to order whatever I want.
When we got back from iKea we went to the main building to find out if we could get our PO Box numbers, because we couldn’t yesterday. They were going to email us our numbers, but apparently our email addresses aren’t set up yet. Thankfully they are sorted now, so people can start sending me my birthday gifts! Because the compound is at full capacity, we both have to share mail boxes with other people, which is a bit annoying, but not the end of the world. We have a combination (where you turn a knob several times in various directions to open the safe) for the boxes, which is super hard to open. It took us several attempts to figure it out. After that we went to Lulu’s to get dinner, & order water for delivery. Because the tap water can’t be delivered, everybody drinks bottled water, & you can bulk order it for delivery. As we’d never ordered it before, we didn’t know what we were asking for, & it got very confusing. The man at the counter was laughing at us, but we eventually got there, I think. Something is being delivered on Saturday, so we’ll see what turns up. You can order any thing for delivery (ie- boxes of soft drinks), but I don’t trust myself not to drink loads of it, so I’ll stick to drinking water.
So, now it’s the weekend. My first full weekend in Saudi Arabia!