Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Girls Day All Day

Okay, seriously, the jet lag is killing me here. Basically we went on a 24 hour trip, switched to an opposite schedule (days for nights) and then "partied" for 2 weeks, returned on our 24 hour trip, and I somehow expected to be over it in a few days.

Yeah right!

What kept us going there was the fact that we were going and going. Pretty much something every day plus most evenings...

I think we were up to Sunday in my posts.

In the morning Andrea, Allison, and I went to an orphanage. It's supported heavily by a lady named Munira Al Ashgar and she is quite a lady! Everyone else toured her home/museum a few days prior to this, but I had wanted to go to the Desert Designs photo op and they overlapped so I didn't get to go. Too bad we didn't know ahead of time that everyone would be back in time and I could have gone. Her house was quite impressive or so I'm told!

Anyway, this is her at the entrance to the orphanage.
It's not what you typically think of, huh?

Most of the orphans are girls because after the age of 9 the boys are sent to another home for 3 years and then off to religious school. So only women were allowed to go on this tour.

It's quite an amazing facility complete with it's own secluded water park! I was thinking Cory would have loved this!

Notice the cover overhead, that's because it gets so dang hot there in the summer even their outdoor play areas have to be covered.

The children live in "family groups" in small apartments inside the buildings. They are quite nice and it makes them feel less like they live in an institution.

I didn't take a whole lot of pictures because it just kind of looked like a home. And the aides didn't want their pictures taken, and they said we couldn't take pictures of the babies or anyone over about 12. But then on our way out these adorable kiddos came down the hall from school - maybe for lunch? - and were totally fascinated by us! The little girl in the middle really wanted to see the henna on my hand.

The only weird part of the whole place was the fake greenery everywhere. This was just a random alcove in the hallway to give you an example. Even their stands that had flowers on them would be "carpeted" in fake greens! Weird!

Oh, and we were treated quite royally on our way in and out with plenty of snacks and treats!

Home for the afternoon rest... Brian convinced Allison and Joel to play Race for the Galaxy with him. But there's someone I'd like you to meet...

Solomon assisting Allison

This is Paul and Jackie's African Gray Parrot. He is quite the talker, noise maker, and imitator. If I didn't know better I'd say we had a whole house full of doves and all kinds of other birds every morning! He imitates the phone and microwave perfectly and repeats lots of things that people have said to him. It's a lot of fun!

That night the boys had decreed they were having a "Boys Night Out" so the girls decided to do their own. Of course everything is complicated by prayer times when shops close so we had to go quickly to our first shops and get to the coffee house and order before prayer time so we could sit there and wait for everything to open again. It's a convoluted system!

Allison, Andrea, Cory, Me, and our friend Molly

Yes, we are all wearing abayas, but Molly's shirt is appropriate since it's more of a tunic. We had to hire a driver since women are not allowed to drive, but in some ways that was nice since a) we didn't know where we were going b) they drive like CRAZY over there and c) we didn't have to try and worry about parking! First we went to a ginormous craft store. Think Michael's or Craft Warehouse with 3 levels! I found some awesome Saudi traffic sign stickers that included a camel crossing!

Then we went for coffee/tea where we had to go up to the second floor of the restaurant to the "family section" so no one on the street could see us. I don't quite understand that since the waiters were still male and it's not like we were dressed any differently than the way men would see us on the street... but okay!

After prayer time we hit a large bookstore where I got an Arabic numbers book for Cory with English transliterations. It was the only book that had the Arabic written in English characters rather than Arabic script so I could at least try and pronounce it...

Finally we ended up back at Desert Designs because Allison and Molly hadn't been there yet.

I had no more shopping to do, but was trying to corral Cory when one of the employees showed me this little corner they had set up for kids. Perfect!

Even though it was past his bed time he was quite content to play with the crayons and a car they had there!

And that was only Sunday...

1 comment:

  1. You know, I had wondered what you were/weren't allowed to wear while over there, and if you were expected to follow traditions even though you were just a visitor. So they don't even allow foreign women to drive?


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