I'm getting behind in my photo posting, so here are some images of Riyadh, the malls, and life at "home" in our hotel for you to enjoy.
Out and About in Riyadh:
Somewhere downtown in Riyadh.
Another busy street.
The towering Kingdom Mall is in the heart of Riyadh. It features a women-only third floor, where women shoppers can walk around without abayas and buy items from women-only staff. We have not been here yet, but it's definitely on our list. Kingdom Mall also has hotels, restaurants, and offices inside.
A bit south of Kingdom Mall is another famous Riyadh landmark, the Faisalia Tower. It is also - you guessed it - a mall. The globe is actually an extremely fancy, extremely expensive restaurant that serves high tea with hors d'oeuvres, creme brule, and a chocolate fountain, as well as the much more expensive dinner entrees. (We have not been here either, but I use it as a landmark to find out how far away everything else is. "How many minutes from Faisalia?")
For my collection of multi-lingual stopsigns. Stop is pronounced "Keef!" in Arabic.
Downtown Riyadh at night. (It is pure coincidence that it happens to be prayer time. It just always seems to be prayer time.)
Shopping and More Shopping:
The Saudis are so used to foreigners and so centered on their own culture that it seems that they ignore us for the most part (except for smiles and pats on the head for the kids). So, what really made our day last week was when one family introduced themselves to us and exchanged phone numbers. The father, a laser-eye surgeon, had very good English and talked to both Josh and me, and then his wife came up (fully covered) and talked to both of us as well. They had their children and nieces/nephews with them, and they let me take their picture.
We let Misha pick out a cake of his choice for his birthday. On the weekend, we took him to the mall to do lots of rides!
All the kids have these strap-on two-wheeled roller skates that they cruise around in at the mall, so we got Misha a pair for his birthday. It will take a little practice!
We explored another mall recently - the Sahara Mall. It makes the Granada Mall look tiny! These pictures are from several mall trips over the last week or two.
Misha and mom in the mall.
This mall has great rides for Misha's age group.
Perhaps the best ride of all - a giant slide!! Pay once and slide as much as you'd like. Best of all, parents go for free! (The parent can accompany the child for free on all of the rides - it makes the amusement parks quite cheap and easy.)
Me and Misha after a race down the slide.
Daddy and Misha cruising down!
And on video:
A kids' show on stage attracted quite a crowd at the mall one day. Black and white everywhere!
Sebastian leaning on the window of Payless. Yes, we came all the way to Saudi Arabia to buy Misha's sandals from Payless ...
The Saudi Arabian version of Mickey Mouse.
The fun of juice bars! We let Misha pick out a drink from a menu of all kinds of juice blends - he went with the "rainbow" - a blend of watermelon, mango, and avocado. Quite good, actually!
Josh and Misha make sure Sebastian gets a taste of the guava juice and the "rainbow." He loved both!
Another great feature in the mall - a play station filled with tunnels, ladders, and slides.
A Saudi couple - man and wife in the mall.
Misha with his helium balloon in front of the carousel.
These are the really fun bumper cars - more kid-friendly than the jolting big-kid cars. Yes, women can drive bumper cars - I have done it!
Pet bunnies for sale.
These chicks look suspiciously ... dyed?
A vendor let Misha play "balloon man" for a moment. :)
At "home" in our hotel:
Osama and Sebastian. Osama works at our hotel and is a great help to us whenever we have a question or a problem. He's from Egypt, where he lives very close to the pyramids!
Sebastian gets into the soccer spirit.
Some things never change - Legos are still the greatest toys!
Sebastian has fun wrecking Lego buildings.
Misha helps me make a "toad in the whole" for lunch on our little hotel burner.