|From Jamie's Philippines Pics|
We have also had the opportunity to travel to some amazing places in China, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Bali. We have archived all of our travels and living experiences abroad; and if you wish, you can read about our adventures by finding the archives on the right of this page and by checking our Photo Album.
We appreciate all of our family and friends who have stayed in touch and emailed us with encouraging words throughout the year. We hope you will continue to keep us in your thoughts as we continue our adventure of living abroad teaching at an international school. For those who have stumbled upon our site, check out the "About Eric and Jamie" section on the right for more information.
Thanks for checking us out!
- Mark Twain
- Maya Angelou
Thursday, September 9, 2010
1 Month in the Kingdom
1) It is hot, although people keep claiming that it will cool down and 9 months of the year it will be very pleasant. We are still waiting for those days.
2) It is a sexist, chauvinistic culture. This is evident by the fact that women can't drive, men have more freedoms with what they can do and where they can go, and the overall general attitude of male Saudis. We don't experience it on a day to day basis, but when you are out and about, you certainly do get that feel. Some women cover from head to toe with only their eyes showing. It all depends on what their husbands require of them. This is something I'm not sure I will ever really be comfortable with, and Jamie tolerates, although she does like the fact that she doesn't really have to worry about what she wears to town.
3) Shawarmas are delicious. So is hummus, tabouli, flat bread, and tea that really isn't tea, but just spiced water.
4) The food isn't too different from Chinese food, but it does have a different flavor with some different spices.
5) Not have pork and alcohol isn't that big of a deal because people still get it. Not so much pork, but alcohol is readily available to the point where they sell shot glasses, beer mugs, and wine glasses in kitchen stores.
6) Prayer times in Saudi cramp your shopping experience. You have to constantly check the prayer schedule before going out. If you show up to a store 5 minutes before prayer time, you better run around and grab as many things as possible. Otherwise, you'll be waiting for prayer to be over.
7) Beef bacon really isn't that bad. In fact, it is really good, but doesn't have the same bacon smell.
8) The best part of wherever you are is alway the people. Our co-workers have been very gracious. We miss our friends from the US and China but are quickly making new friends.
9) Compound life can become dull, but with a variety of activities, you can keep yourself busy just about every night (poker night, Sultans of Catan, bocce, tennis, swimming, working out, movies, eating out, ordering in)
10) Swimming pools in Saudi Arabia feel like bath water.
11) Air conditioning is a gift from God. I would like to personally thank Mr. Michael Faraday for inventing the air conditioner and Mr. Willis Haviland Carrier for making it commercial. I'm not sure how people lived prior to it.
12) Driving in Saudi Arabia can be quite hectic, but not nearly as bad as China and other southeastern Asian cities. Nonetheless, you better be careful.
13) Things here are expensive. There is probably about a 25% price markup on most items, although you can find just about anything here to purchase as you would in the States. We even found a cast iron skillet today, and there is a shot downtown that sells very old Barbie dolls for very cheap. I'm thinking of buying them, taking them back to the States, selling them on Ebay to all the crazies who collect them, and paying off our student loans.
14) You can get just about anywhere from here, and we are very excited about all of our travel opportunities. You basically have 3 entire continents you can travel, and we fully plan to hit up all 3 of them.
15) Ramadan is a very exciting time to be in the Middle East. While it can be a pain working around the crazy shopping hours, it is all part of the experience. Today is the last day of Ramadan, so things after this weekend should be pretty much back to "normal," whatever that is.
All for now. Decent list and I want to share some thoughts. Not really any pictures yet, although I've got some great ideas for when we purchase a car and I can drive out and about. Just taking pictures in a store of all of the women blacked out is enough to fill an album.
Let me know if you have any questions!