First things first... internet ! Nothing again for 2 days almost... Driving me mad !
More visits to Saad dentist... will it ever get any better I ask myself after nearly 6 months of pain ! Finished one sock ... need to do the other one.
Ok, we arranged to go to Qatif market on Thursday (26th) and of course because we'd arranged to go somewhere, it poored with rain ! Still didn't put us off so off we went, kids in tow and rumbling toothache.
The history bit:
"The history of Qatif as a village goes back to 3500 BC during the late Bronze Age. Centered in one of the largest oases in the world and just a short distance from the Arabian Gulf, the area was well known as a trading center. Caravans were frequent visitors as were Portuguese trade ships, and local Bedouins must have traded their camels and goats; dates, bananas and lemons as well as handcrafted objects for things like spices, fabrics and tools."
Source: 'Sand Gets in my Eyes' Blogger
Once we managed to park we flip flop splashed around ending up with filthy feet and hem of abaya (which I couldn't wait to chuck off for a good old cleaning). We found at our first stop, all kinds of birds including parrots, pigeons, canaries, budgies, sparrows, hawks, oh every kind of bird you could imagine or not as the case may seem. Forgot the roosters, hens, ducks, geese and peacocks.
Next stop, puppies ! Didn't take any pics of this one as just too sad, even we couldn't fool the kids into believing that they were just being played with to show how adorable they were for us to buy ! Fortunately further on there were some beautiful puppies that were obviously well cared for (as well cared for as you get for market trading)so they were a little happier then.
Kittens ... well we did take this one pic but its so sad that we couldn't take it with us. I don't think Scamp would have appreciated it much and would probably had him for tea, thus ending our well intentioned rescue plan.
Then we chanced across some baby lady peacocks... almost kicked a bag at the side which was, when hubby pointed out to me, bagged up male peacocks. Wanted them too but was assured that someone would probably shoot them if we took them back to the compound once they started calling in the early hours ... before prayer time even.Then a strange sight greeted (well presented itself shall I say) of some brightly coloured fluffy balls. I thought they were pom poms until they flapped and chirped. They were of course, baby chicks dyed an eye catching colour to show just how yours could look too if you fancied them. We declined much to the kids protests.
Ok, so done the market bit... probably won't do it again but its just one of those things you seem to have to do in a country that has totally different beliefs and concerns from your own. And this is how one blogger 'Sand Gets in my Eyes' puts it:
"No one really knows when the tradition of the weekly market started. Definitely hundreds of years ago. Possibly thousands. But it is a tradition no expat should miss."
Of course there are the women's stalls where you can buy linnen baskets (which we did for 60sr (I think we paid over the odds) but there you go, sometimes haggling doesn't work. Hubby said on the way back, 'I always said we needed a basket for our laundry... lucky there were lots to choose from'. Anyway you've got to buy something havn't you to show for your little excursions out and about here, and at least it wasn't a peacock !We don't seem to have seen as much as others do as we got there pretty late, around 8.30am, and because of the rain some stalls had packed up and gone. I was particulary looking forward to the antiques stalls and jewellery but had to make do with just one stall that was left... Managed to come away empty handed at this one, luckily.
Probably luckily for us we missed the camels, goats and sheep too, but I'm sure we'll get to see plenty of those when we go to Riyadh next week.
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