Our home away from home – Part 1

11 Apr

Thought I’d give you a quick tour of our residence here in the Land of Sand:

Like most western expats we live in a compound, it is much the same concept as a “complex” in South Africa. Our compound is part of the Arabian Homes group and we live in Barada Village. It is centrally located within the city which makes it relatively easy to get around(if travelling on the roads here could ever be referred to as easy). There is very tight security around all Western compounds in Saudi, we are under 24 hour armed guard. All residents’ vehicles go through a security check and search before they are allowed to enter the compound and visitors have to park on the road outside the compound and enter with a resident. Our drive into the compound, from the first security checkpoint to the main entrance within the compound walls is always an interesting one, and is something that takes a while to get comfortable with. As you wind your way between the barricades, you head straight towards a group of about 3 guards sitting behind a raised wall so that they have a good view of vehicles entering the compound, no problem with that. The slightly terrifying part is the fact that there also happens to be a machine gun mounted on the wall with its sights set straight on your vehicle for the 100 meters or so that you drive to the main gate! I’d love to take a photo to show you just how terrifying it looks but I’m just too SCARED that they think I am breaching security and SHOOT us.

Within the compound we have a variety of amenities to keep us busy. We have a gym, tennis, squash and racquetball courts. A supermarket, restaurant, daycare centre, dvd store and a variety of parks for the kids. There are recreation and games rooms but I can’t say that I’ve ever even been into them. They are used for aerobics, karate, ballet lessons and so on.

There are 16 pools in the compound with a group of about 10 houses dotted around their own pool area which keeps it quite private. The houses are built in a Spanish style, heaven alone knows why, as shutters on all the windows serve as great collectors of dust. And we do have dust in this part of the world…oh my word!

There are a variety of different activities arranged by the management and residents within the compound so one is able to keep busy if one chooses to.  Luka and I hit the parks and swimming pool with a vengence almost daily. It certainly ensures that he is bushed by the end of the day and sleeps long and hard all night long.

 More about our home to come…


3 Responses to “Our home away from home – Part 1”

  1. Alvaro Rodrigues April 11, 2010 at 8:05 pm #

    Hi Philippa, Olaf & Luka …
    Thanx for the email and info. So nice to hear from you guys. Very chuffed that you’re all well ! We’re all good here too. Working hard, trying to keep the economy going and waiting for the World Cup. I’ll send pics of Daniel soon.
    Take care,
    Lots of Love
    Al, Crissy & Daniel !

  2. Nikki Knight April 12, 2010 at 5:35 am #

    great idea! lets see some close up pics of Luca pse!

  3. Pips April 12, 2010 at 6:45 am #

    So good to hear from you and see updated photos. The man is growing!!
    We’re all well and that’s not just a flippant comment considering what Carl went through of late. He’s on the road to recovery and is trying to put on the 6kg he lost – how easy would that be for normal people – and he’s also trying to get some semblance of fitness. Nadia’s in Morocco on a dental outreach for a week. She’s hoping that the experience will help her get into varsity to study dentistry from next year. She qualified as a microbiologist last year and they still didn’t accept her so she’s not giving up.
    Matt has taken to doing triathlons. He works very hard and is still studying as well. The man is hyper! Jody loves her new job and says she can’t believe she gets paid to do such interesting work. There are no plans for kiddies yet which is fine. I think they’ll take another 2 years and then have 1 after the other.
    Andre is still working LONG hours and he’s also studying but doesn’t spend enough hours on it and failed a subject last time. (He’s doing LLB.) I think he’s mad. He and Carl have taken to playing golf quite regularly (once a week) Carl has Dad’s ball sense and Andre just has fun – when he plays well for him. Matt also plays with them once a week. Jody and Matt have a tennis court at their complex and we play tennis once a week – the 3 men and I. That’s fun. All said, we try to keep fit. I just need to go to gym because I don’t do enough weight bearing exercise for my bones. Jody keeps trying to get me to run with her but I always have a very valid excuse why I can’t! She ran her first 21km the other day but is now back to 10km fun runs. I say that God made cars more efficient than legs!

    Well, back to work.
    Much love and a big hug for Luka.

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