Friday, August 26, 2011

Just another shopping trip in Saudi...

Thursday morning (the start of our weekend) we made just another routine shopping trip into Khobar/Dharhan which is the bigger city about an hour drive from us. It really hit me how good we are getting at preparing for the trips/planning where we need to go etc and just getting all the smaller details of the trip down. is what a typical shopping trip looks like...

The night before I make sure to pack the following and have it by the door ready to go...
  • Diaper bag
  • Snacks/lunches made and in the fridge since all the restaurants are closed for Ramadan and we will need to sneak in some meals in the car
  • Small travel bag that has the GPS, CDs, sheet of all the coordinates of stores that we know of, change of clothes for Peyton. I keep it in a small reusable bag and hang it by the back door so it is easy to take in and out and we don't want to leave it in the car because the heat has been known to destroy electronics etc
  • Our cooler so we remember to bring drinks etc
  • The stroller
In the morning we get everyone dressed and out the door by 8:00 AM. Stores open at 9:00 AM and you only have a brief period of time between prayers and when stores close so you need to be ready early and with a very precise plan.

We stop at the community gas station and fill up our 4 Runner for a whopping $6 (that included a dollar tip) and then head to our first stop...Party Land for some party hats and other birthday supplies.

Get to Party Land...Peyton fell asleep in the car so I put Graham in the stroller and John carries Peyton around. We find these pastel colored paw print party hats that I would never pay that much for normally and that don't even match or are what I want for the party but are all I can find and Peyton really wants party hats for her birthday so they will have to do. I pay the $14 for paper party hats and we head out. Seems so silly to drive an hour for party hats. I also found some silly string so we bought a bunch of that and put them in the cooler so they wouldn't explode in the heat.

We then head to a car accessories store to look for floor mats for our car. Graham is hungry so we attempt to walk around while feeding him. He is getting too heavy so that doesn't work very well. This is the second place in two trips we have looked and of course nothing.

Off we go to Desert Designs to find a housewarming/birthday present for my sister when we go to Abu Dhabi. They always have an abundance of lanterns but of course not today. I did find a beautiful buffet for the dining room and we got the measurements and of course when we got home it was half and inch too big but I am looking at taking off the baseboard in that area to help it fit into the little enclave area in the dining room.

Realize that we have about 45 minutes before prayer and so we try to rush into the souk areas to go to another store that sometimes has small decorative things. Made it into the souk area, found a parking spot, ran inside and didn't find anything so we headed out just before prayer.

Head to Lulu's to do some grocery shopping. Graham is asleep so John pushes him in his car seat in a cart and I push Peyton who is watching movies on the iPad. Shop during prayer. Get out, put the cold stuff (I only bought lunch meat this time) into the cooler for the drive home.

Decide to run into the Toyota dealership to see what they have for car mats, John parks the car and runs inside, I am sitting in the back feeding Graham and realize he has a dirty diaper, change that and the clothes he was in and then sit in the car waiting for John to get back. Toyota doesn't sell rubber mats for the car although we were able to find a trunk liner.

Realize Peyton hasn't gone potty since we left the house, run into the mall, I bribe her to go potty and we are good. Look around a little bit, John asks me if I wanted to look at clothes, I do and need new clothes but I don't want to buy stuff without trying it on so I decide to wait until we go to Abu Dhabi.

We head home, get everyone settled in the car, have drinks and snacks and drive the hour back home. During the drive home we see two accidents. One where the car should have gone through the guard rail and was lucky it didn't and the other was a flipped over tanker truck leaking some sort of flammable fluid and the police didn't have anything blocked or rerouted...normally I don't look at accidents but we had to slow down and get around both of these. After we got around them we drove pretty quickly to get away from that area and just shook our heads in disbelief at the insanity of this place.

Peyton falls asleep, Graham sleeps until the last 30 minutes (pretty much wakes up at the supposed check point where John has to go over speed bumps and it wakes up the kids every time...I wouldn't mind it but the security is either sleeping or texting every time so it just annoys me) and so I crawl into the back and feed him.

We make it home five hours later....

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