Tourists in The Land of Sand

3 Oct

A day after arriving back from our holiday in France we received two special visitors: Kyle and Mikhaela Brinkmann

Kyle and Mikhaela live in Cape Town with their Mum. They are Olaf’s eldest children and visit us as often as we are able to organise it. We generally spend time with them in South Africa though and this was their first visit to the Land of Sand. At the age of 19 and almost 17 we thought that it would be okay for them to finally handle an international trip on their own. It was a daunting prospect what with a connecting flight in Abu Dhabi to deal with and King Khaled International Airport to negotiate at 3 in the morning when they arrived but after a strict set of instructions about what to do where and when (Olaf’s German heritage kicks in really strong during times like these) they managed magnificently. Mikhaela was less than thrilled with the prospect of Dad greeting her in the wee hours of the morning with an abaya straight after exiting passport control but she did the necessary and learned to live with it after a few days (although she constantly reminded us of how hot it was).

As Olaf  was expected back at work, I was designated tour guide for the 10 days of their visit, except over weekends when Olaf was able to join us. Our first outing was to the Kuwaiti Souk. I needed to buy some sewing things for a little project that I’m working on so I dragged them out of bed and into the market for a few hours. I absolutely love the souks, I can’t tell you how much they excite me. All manner of household necessities are sold at this one from cutlery to furniture to shoes.

Souks are not the cleanest places to shop and you have to walk down dark alleys and between strange (sometimes slightly scary people) but they are full of wonder and mystery. Although it is cooling down it was still about 37 degrees when we were there at 10 in the morning so you have to be prepared to sweat. But it is fun! I love it. The teenagers  began complaining within 5 minutes of exiting the air-conditioned taxi about the heat but I think that these experiences are part of the reality of living in the Middle East and have to be experienced and at the end of the day I think that they enjoyed the outing in a sweaty kind of way!

It has been fun being a tour guide in Riyadh and I have all our adventures and experiences to share over the next few days so stay tuned if you a would like to see some more of this interesting corner of the globe.


2 Responses to “Tourists in The Land of Sand”

  1. jana October 4, 2010 at 7:25 pm #

    The temperatures you mention (even the cooled down 37s) are impossible to prepare for, no matter where you come from. I don’t blame K. and M. for their complaining – I’m sure I would, too! In an abaya, no less!

    But the pictures from the souk – they are to die for. I would be willing to wear a fur coat just so I could spend a couple hours walking around and admiring. But I have to ask: What are those metal containers in the second-to-last photo?

    • dustbusting October 8, 2010 at 12:43 pm #

      You are right about the temperature especially considering that Kyle and Mikhaela come from Cape Town where the winter temperatures are not higher than about 20 degrees Celcius at the moment.

      The souks are fabulous adventures and I think you could probably furnish an entire house just buying stuff from this one. It won’t neccesarily be to one’s own western taste but it could be done. The photo is of tea pots, all shiny and new. The second hand souk has much better battered up old ones but I loved the uniform shine on this lot.

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