Finally!! Winter is upon us. This is the time of year that most expats count down to. From the end of October till the end of February/beginning of March the temperatures are tolerable, if not even a little chilly at night. Not Canada winter chilly, but bring a sweater kinda cold. It is lovely. You can walk around in the day with out immediately breaking into a sweat the minute you leave your apartment. About this time of year you will see locals adorning toques (beanies for my American readers) and vests. It’s not really winter hat weather yet, but who am I to judge. The other great thing about the winter is that Saudi men decide to change up their wardrobe and instead of wearing the traditional white thobe that they wear all year round, they might opt to wear navy blue, brown or grey. I never really thought a man wearing an outfit quite similar to a dress could be sexy but, some men seriously pull it off. Yep. I admitted that.
Anyways, in addition to the minor wardrobe change, Saudis also love to have a good old fashioned picnic. However; their idea of a picnic is very different than what we think of back home. Back home you pack a lunch or snacks and head to the beach, hiking, or a beautiful park. Not here in Saudi though. While being driven around the streets of Riyadh it is very common to see cars pulled over along the side of the highway, under an overpass, or even just in the parking lot of a mall. Bam. Impromptu picnic spot. Pull out the old rug, lay it down, and dive into the food. The first time I was in Saudi I found this scenario super strange, and if I’m being honest I still find it bizarre. A parking lot is about the last place I would suggest to have a picnic if I weren’t taking part in some ridiculous Black Friday or Boxing Day shopping deals. And yet, you will see Saudis having picnics everywhere. To be fair I’m sure they do also have them in the desert, or in parks around the city, but, they love a good roadside picnic.
Winter is also a great time to get out and go for a stroll un-abayaed in the DQ (Diplomatic Quarter), or venture out into the desert for ATVing or hiking. Camel races also tend to take places in the winter months. I haven’t yet been but am dying to go. I would also like to check out a camel beauty pageant before my contract here is up also. And yes, there really is such a thing as a camel beauty pageant.
I’m heading back to North America tomorrow for 3 weeks, and I’m sure I’ll have a tough time adjusting to the cold winter weather back in Canada, but I’m so excited and homesick that I can hardly stand it. I’ve packed a ridiculous parka which I’m sure all my friends will make fun of, but it will keep me from freezing my booty off! I’m also looking forward to having American Thanksgiving with my adoptive family and then celebrating early Christmas with my legit family. On my way back to Saudi I’ll be stopping off in Frankfurt for 3 nights to visit the Christmas market there and do some solo exploring. I’ve never seen a European Christmas market so I’m pretty jazzed about it.
Wishing you all the warmest winter greetings!!