Sorry it’s been so long since my last posting. April has been a very hectic month for us here Saudi Arabia. On top of that, I had a group presentation and final paper to complete for my masters.
Last week I was in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Niagara College had a booth at the International Exhibition and Conference for Higher Education (IECHE). It’s not normally what I do but we were short-handed so I volunteered to help out. I’m glad I did. It was a great time! We met a lot of people interested in both our Canadian and Taif campuses.
We were invited to the Canadian Ambassador, Tom MacDonald’s, official residence for a small gathering where we made some very important connections. I took full advantage of the open bar and had a few Crown Royal and cokes. It always feels ‘naughty’ to have alcohol in Saudi Arabia but when you’re at the Canadian Embassy, you’re in Canada!
Just before my five long, long days in Riyadh, I went to Dubai. It was good to get away from the normal routine and relax a bit. I actually spent about a day and a half working on my final paper. A very well travelled paper, that one. LOL
It wasn’t all homework and study however. I did take some time to do a bit of exploring. I spent an afternoon at the Souk Madinat Jumeirah, on the shores of the beautiful Arabian Gulf. The weather was excellent, if not a bit too warm. It got up to 46C on a couple of the days I was there. Nothing a cold beer and a wee dram of scotch won’t take of!
‘Souk’ is the Arabic equivalent to ‘market’. You can find souks all over the Middle East. It’s a gathering spot for the locals where the latest news is shared and discussed…loudly!! LOL. Of course, like every market, there are plenty of shops, restaurants, food offerings and rest areas to be experienced. Madinat is no different.
It’s an authentic re-creation of a Middle Eastern ancient marketplace. Lots of winding streets and pathways, both inside and outside. The air conditioned inside was my particular favorite. As the saying goes, you can find just about everything in a souk so the variety is quite extensive. As you all know, I am NOT a shopper. However, the Madinat Jumeirah has a lot more to offer than shopping. I had a great seafood feast at one of the local restaurants, complete with a cold pint (or two).
I picked up a small silk rug for home and a great looking brass Arabian coffee pot as well. Of course half the fun of buying anything at a souk is the negotiations for the price. Since I have no real idea what the value is for the two items I bought, I can’t say if I got a good deal or not. I did talk the price of the silk rug down to less than half the asking price. I have no doubt the worms that supplied the silk were from the bad part of town!!
I took a daylong trip out to the east coast of EAU and a sunrise hot air balloon trip over the deserts of Dubai. I will have more on that in a few days but, for now, here are a few pictures of my visit to the Souk!