A friend of John's (and someone who has been a huge blessing in advising us prior to arriving, letting us borrow a TV when we got here and has made this experience so much easier than it could have been) left to go home to the states and he left us his golf cart to drive around camp while he is gone. I am so excited to have a mode of transportation and I am really praying that when he comes back our Iqama would have been processed, we will have been able to go into a nearby town (Rahima) and rent a car until we can find a long term car. We have heard from several people that the best time to buy a car is Ramadan and you can expect some really good sales during that month. So, we are going to rent a car (it is somewhat cheap) until August and then go and buy one then.
Anyways, since we had some transportation today we went and explored more around camp, found the beach and I was able to take some pictures. I didn't take much because you aren't supposed to take too many pictures and no pictures of certain places due to security. However there are some videos on YouTube that show the camp and you can see one here of someone driving all around camp and get an even better idea of where we live.
This is the outside of our house. Our gardener has been great about starting to plant flowers/plants. He has been adding so many and I started to wonder where they were coming from and if we were going to get a huge bill so I asked John the other day about it and he said that the gardeners just take plants from one house that they worked on earlier and the people have moved out and move them to the new house. We also apparently get 5 free plants from the gardening department so I will have to go check those out next week. I am also looking for some pots etc to brighten things up and possibly some chairs to sit on the front patio area.
This is the view down our street. Lots of trees and various floor plans of houses but they all look pretty similar on the outside.
Pretty close to our house (a street over pretty much) is the commissary (our grocery store) and community services center as well as a bulk sales store. The Community Center has the mail room, housing department, barber shop, a beauty salon, flower shop, travel agent and dry cleaners. The bulk sales store is my new favorite place. They only sell drinks but you can buy cases of water, Coca Cola etc in bulk and they will deliver it to your house that afternoon. We got a standing water cooler yesterday so we ordered two large water jugs to be delivered and I am so excited to not have tons of water bottles around the house. It is not very "green friendly" here and so I would like to something! Our commissary is a pretty stocked store but more expensive than if you went out to other places. They do have a nice bakery that makes fresh pizzas for around $5 and they are really good. You just pick what kind and 10 minutes later you have a really yummy pizza. I will probably be shopping here mostly for perishables, milk and eggs and will try to stock up whenever I can venture out to Khobar (an hour away) or Rahima (15 minutes away). I just found out that there is a larger store in Rahima that is supposedly decent and there is an Aramco bus that runs there regularly. Also since it is close I could also take an Aramco taxi for cheaper.
On our trip around camp today we made a trip out towards the beach. It is about a 10 minute walk from our place. It was beautiful and I love the sound of the ocean. The sand was so hot though so we will not be going to the beach until the fall!
This is just a view of a grassy area around camp. We have lots of grassy areas and parks and playgrounds. The playgrounds are all different and are really nice ones with lots of different activities. There is one pretty much right behind our house and several more close by. I didn't stop to take pictures since Peyton was with us and I didn't want her to ask to go play when it was starting to get around 118 out!
Also on camp (I didn't take pictures because it was too busy around) we have a track, 2 swimming pools, loads of tennis courts, a work out facility (one for men and one for women), a golf course, a horse riding stable, several cafes, an elementary/middle school, our clinic which is like a small hospital and baseball fields.
I will try to get some more pictures in the coming days around camp and of our backyard (I was waiting until we actually have grass back there).
By the way....it reached 118 today! It has been pretty nice so far but today it was too hot. I laughed when I looked at the weather and was excited that Saturday we would be back down to 104!