My first Saudi weekend

*This blog post was written on the 4th March, but I don’t have wifi access, so this is belatedly going online when I can get onto the internet*

Well, here I am at 9.30pm on a Saturday night, getting ready for ‘work’ tomorrow morning. It feels weird to think that whilst all my friends back in England are our partying, I’ve just finished a weekend & will be getting back to work tomorrow. I’ve just been talking to some girls about it who said that they think it makes the working week go quicker. For example, they’ll come home on Sunday from work, Skype friends/family from home (& vicariously have another weekend day), then have three days work & be ready for the weekend again on Thursday. I like the idea of that lifestyle.

On Thursday night, after our iKea trip, I went to Louise’s apartment (which is right next door to mine) to try watch a movie. As we don’t have wifi we can’t watch anything new, & she only had one terrible pirate show downloaded, so we watched an episode of Family Guy on her Kindle Fire. It was a teeny tiny screen, which we stacked on top of a few boxes, then hooked up to a speaker & balanced so that it turned to face us. We didn’t end up getting to sleep until nearly midnight, but we were both exhausted.

On Friday morning we got up at 8am to go out for a run/walk around the golf course (following the route we took with Morag on Wednesday), finishing by 9am. We then showered etc, then came back out to try find the Kennel Club so that I could get a cat (or at least enquire about getting one). Sadly, it wasn’t to be. We could see the signs for the Kennel Club, but couldn’t actually find it, so decided to wait until after we’ve had our induction next week before coming back to talk to them. After the Kennel Club mission we went to the pool where we met Georgia & a few of her friends, & we hung out there for a few hours. There were maybe ten other girls there, & everybody was so friendly. We ended up making plans to go to the shopping mall that afternoon to get dinner & have an explore. Everybody was so friendly to us, & gave really useful advice for us here.

After a bit of time at the pool Louise & I decided to come home & try sort out our storage units because we’ve had a bit of drama with them. This is a long (& possibly convoluted story, & for that I can only apologise).

Basically, each apartment is designated a storage unit, & the storage unit says the apartment number on it. On our level (level 2) they had the storage units numbered for level 1 (ie- 101, 102 etc etc), but we presumed that as they were on our level they were for us. So we went to the housing office last Wednesday to get the keys, & put some stuff in there. I went back to the unit on Friday to put more stuff in there, but the key wouldn’t open the lock, so when Louise tried in the afternoon & it didn’t work she presumed somebody had changed the lock. We then started second guessing ourselves & tried opening the storage locker upstairs (locker 310), & it opened. But our stuff wasn’t in there. After a lot of back & forth we’ve discovered that the key Louise was given opens about ten lockers in our building. We managed to track down our stuff (by prising a door open enough to see inside), but we can’t open it. Either the lock has broken, or been changed), so maintenance needs to come & break the lock so we can get our stuff out. That whole thing took quite a while to sort out. The good news is that we found our correct lockers (210 & 212).

Once that drama was sorted we met three other girls (Gillian, Georgia & Louise) for a trip to the mall. Gillian wanted to get a new bag, but aside from that we were just escaping the compound. This mall is massive. It is called Al Rashid Mall & has three levels, all which are massive. I found it really overwhelming. When we were out we had dinner at a place called Rocket Burgers, which did amazing food. When we were in there it was prayer time, so the blinds were all drawn, but service kept on as per normal. I expected everything to stop, but it doesn’t. When we got back to the apartments (about 8pm) we just hung out in Gillian’s apartment chatting for a bit, then went home. It was a very laid back day. IMG_3723

On Saturday I had a sleep in (well, kind of- a maintenance man came to fix my fridge at 8am), Louise & I decided to go for a run/walk around the golf course again, then came back to our apartments. We didn’t finish up until nearly midday, because we had a late start. I had a quick shower & got ready, then wandered down to Lulu’s to do some groceries. I haven’t really done any proper groceries, so I got a few bits & pieces & had a good browse because I’ve not yet had a chance to. Overall, I would say it’s pretty reasonably priced in there for most things, but it doesn’t have a massive selection. For example, it doesn’t have loads of toiletries, & it doesn’t have loads of grains (which as a vegetarian, I eat a lot of). But for the basics it’s fine. It also has really nice pre-made salads, so I’ve been eating those most days. Anyway, after the grocery store trip (my first on my own! & I didn’t get lost), I spent a few hours reading, & had a nap, before planning on going to a 4.45pm yoga class. However, we got lost & couldn’t find the class on time, so decided to give it a miss. Hopefully next time we can make it.

Georgia had plans to see Louise (another Louise) for takeaways & a movie tonight (Saturday), so invited us (me & Louise) to join, which was really nice. We had a wander over there (we took ages to find the right building, but turns out it’s across the road from ours. Oops) at about 6pm to join them. We ordered from a place called Tandoori, which does Indian food, but also pizzas & pasta. I ordered cannelloni, & the others got pizza. It took a while, but they delivered to us! & the food was amazing.

Whilst in Louise’s apartment, which was decorated really nicely, it made me think that I need to decide what I want to do to my apartment. I’m going to start looking at iKea properly in the next few weeks & decide what to get. I’ll keep you updated!

What’s really impressed me is how welcoming & friendly everybody is. I had a text from the girl I’ll be working this morning (Jade), who has offered to take me shopping tomorrow night to get new work clothes, & just everybody has been super friendly. Way friendly than I expected. It’s really nice. No bitchiness at all.

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