Monday, 7 October 2013

Desert Nights

David is a colleague of Martin who also works at the Language Centre.  One of his students is keen to befriend him and had taken him out a couple of times.  There was a knock on the door on Friday and David asked if we wanted to go to the desert with Yousef and him to eat and sit by the fire.  We jumped at the chance to go and met up at 9.30.

The full moon
The desert at night is the equivalent of us nipping out for a day in the country for Saudis.  Except of course they go out at night when it is cool and they can get time in the open air and away from the city with its noise and dusty air. 

Saudis are very generous and hospitable and Yousef set out to make it as good an experience as possible for us.  He had arranged a take-away from a restaurant of Kabbsah which is chicken and rice dish that is traditional to Saudi.  In fact there were three different flavours of chicken in the dish.  We picked it up and then drove into the desert.  Riyadh is built in the middle of a desert so we didn’t have to go too far, about 20km to be outside of the city.

If you are thinking of “Ice Cold in Alex” (I know that’s Egypt not Saudi) when you think of a desert this desert isn’t quite like that.  It is more gravel and shrubby. It was a full moon and so I didn’t get to see it properly but it wasn’t sandy at all.

This is the desert
Yousef set out a padded quilt on the ground with a couple of blankets and a cushion and a low chair for me.   He poured water on our hands to wash them and gave us water to drink. He made a small fire and set out the large communal dish of food on the blanket from which we all ate. 

The coffee is amazing.  It is mixed with spices such as cardamon and cloves and is 'blond' the colour of tea.  We haven't had any alcohol for a month and not much in the way of caffeine either.  Wow! It went straight to my head!  Maybe it was the moon but I was babbling away quite intoxicated.
After 3 cups of coffee

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