Friday, 15 November 2013

Things to Do in Riyadh - When Darryl came to Visit

This could be a very short blog entry.  Not to deride another country but there isn’t a great deal to do or see.  Much of Saudi life takes place inside the home I am told and as I am not party to this kind of life, I have to make do with what is visible to me.  That’s not much.  There are a lot of malls and a lot of shopping to be done and there are many restaurants but all of these take money and we are trying to save not spend!  We are starting to have a social life now and getting to know people and so there is more to do now than there was before and this is do with people making their own entertainment and organising events for everyone small or large.  So the following few entries will set out the places we have visited.

 Firstly, a FB friend, Darryl, who had worked in Georgia while we were there came to stay for 3 days in Riyadh.  He is teaching in Saudi near the border of Yemen in a small mountainous village which is a very different kettle of fish to Riyadh which is flat and built in the desert.  The first day he was here it was Eid day which is the equivalent of Christmas Day in terms of what was open but we did find a couple of restaurants open and a mini fun fair in the mall was running catering for family fun.  Fortunately, coming from Al Bahar this was a big thrill for him so our job as big-city hosts was successful!

Night-time up the "West End". Al Faisaliah Tower.

Riyahd "Bond Street"  so they say.

Christmas lights all year round!
We made a visit to the Mashmak Fort.  We couldn't find the opening times for Eid so took a chance and it was closed when we went.  The times change anyway and the times on the web site were too confusing as it says when families / single men / school parties only allowed.  Tripadvisor said that chop-chop square round the corner was the place where floggings and dismemberment take place on Friday mornings and this tends to gather a crowd so avoid it.  We went on the Wednesday.

Hot and empty of all people

The front entrance
A nice lunch in Tony Romas Steak House
Darryl and Carole - one of the people with whom he did his TEFL in Prague

The national Museum in Riyadh is a large and airy building with nice gardens where families can sit and relax.  This is the first bit of greenery I have seen here and it feels good to be walking out in the open among trees and plants.  It was also nice to see families with children picnicking and enjoying themselves and it is a place we plan to come to even just to sit here and chill.

We went into the museum foyer and saw the lovely gardens through the glass walls and I just had to go outside and look around!

A touch of monasteries and cloisters

Light, airy and cool with fountains - very peaceful.

An imaginative playground for the children.

The kids had a lovely time with the fountains

Families just chillin'

Yes it is true that a very small child IS holding a roman candle.
The museum itself wasn't up to much.  Sadly it had a lot of replicas of what we had seen in the British Museum but it was interesting enough with translations in English and imaginative displays.

Martin and colleague David playing the fool in the museum
 We came out of the museum to find more people than ever barbecuing and sitting around in the cooler evening air.  really nice atmosphere.
Evening in the Museum Gardens

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