Wednesday, July 18, 2012

First Week for Barbara and the Kids

Although Kent has been here since the end of May, the kids and I just arrived this week.  We left Phoenix, AZ on a Wednesday morning and flew to Chicago where we transferred to Etihad Airways, flew to Abudabi and then on to Jeddah.  Etihad was equipped with personal TV screens on the back of each seat.  The kids could each choose their own movies (The Lorax was the most popular choice), watch TV shows or play a variety of games using the controller attached to the seat.  Total airplane time was 20 hours plus another 10 hours in layovers.  Adding to that the travel time to the airport in Phoenix and the from Jeddah to our new home at KAUST - it was a VERY long trip!  At least we didn't travel by boat - the stuff we sent by boat May 15th has still not arrived!

The kids finally sleep at night again and play during the day.  Last night, we enjoyed a fun family night of bowling and eating out at the square.  They give free bowling instruction if you ask them and the price per game and for shoes is super cheap.  It's 2 Riyals per game and if you divide that by the exchange rate of 3.75 it comes out to be 53 cents a game.  The shoes are only 3 Riyals - still under a US dollar.  Burger King has the standard fair.  Yes, my kids are still ordering chicken strips even after all this traveling.  The ice cream cones are 1 Riyal - or a little over a quarter in American money.  It makes a pretty cheap family night!

Kent and I were brave enough to eat a little different.  Here, the "fast food" staples are "shawarma" and "martabak".  The spelling of these foods can vary.  Shawarma has thinly sliced meat wrapped in pita bread with veggies and sauce.  I had one on the way home from Jeddah the other day and found it a little dry.  I imagine it's like hamburgers in the US though - there's probably a lot of variation in the way they are prepared and in the way they taste.  I'll have to try it again.  Martabak is sort of like a stuffed pancake.  The dough is rolled round and paper thin and it can be stuffed with all kinds of foods.  For dinner I had a chicken martabak which turned out to be a little milder than Kent's lamb.  For dessert we had banana martabak, which I had previously tried on my trip home from Jeddah.  The banana martabak tastes a lot like banana bread and custard.  Neither Kent or I were completely enamored with the chicken or lamb versions, but I really like the banana one.  Check out the left sidebar if you're interested in seeing how these foods are made.

My shopping trip to Jeddah was a little disappointing.  I was hoping to find a few home goods such as coat hangers, bathroom items, and a mattress topper (my bed came with an EXTRA firm mattress - I thought I was sleeping on the box springs!)  I found the prices high and the selection low and if I had to do it over again I would bring more of these items with me.  Shower curtains, toothbrush holders, soap dispensers, bath room rugs and such are all inexpensive with tons of variety in the US, but here they are cheap in appearance but not in price.  Traffic in Jeddah is insane.  I wouldn't drive there even if I could!  At the supermarket on campus  today, I noticed a large sign reminding drivers that a red traffic light means to stop - always!  Apparently drivers here consider it just a suggestion!


1 comment:

  1. Barbara :) How are you ? Last time I talked to you you were just thinking about moving. Now there you are!! How Awesome and what a great experience for you and your family. Keep me posted on how it goes while your there. I Love this Clawson Chaos :) Well have fun and takes lots of pictures if you can.
    Your friend,
    Angela Jacobs

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