Welcome to my first foray into the world of blogging. I hope it will be something that develops and improves with my writing style. It is my experiences of foreign cultures, many similar to my own and some completely alien as I live an expat life and throw in the odd journey or two along the way.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Escarpment west of Riyadh
The first thing that hits you here is the heat, especially if you arrive between April and September. The weather is quite pleasant Oct, Nov, Feb and Mar. But it can get quite chilly over Dec and Jan.

The heat reaches 50 degrees C and is almost suffocating. Everyone scurries from air-conditioned cars, to air-conditioned malls and air-conditioned houses. The pools are welcome places to cool off. At least we can do that in a relaxed western atmosphere. It must be harder for the locals as the majority of their houses are behind high walls, with little garden space and no pools - only the well-off have the space and money.
Faisel's Finger

Coffee pots are popular

Just in case you forget where you are!

Old Diriyah - the original settlement of Riyadh

You are never meant to be more than 800m from a mosque!

Some people are trying to break with the norm and bring colour to the streets
The sun bleaches all colour from the sky and ground. It is all a hazy orange, sandy colour with the strip of pollution adding its own orange haze. I think one of the hardest things I have had to adjust to is to the lack of beauty in my surroundings. Everything is concrete or desert covered in lumpy rocks. There are no beautiful sunsets, sunrises, or even expanses of blue sky to break the monotony of man-made grey. Sometimes on low days I just wish I could witness beauty in nature to give me that little boost to remember where we are in the universe.

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I'd love to hear your thoughts! Maybe something I've written about has sparked memories of similar experiences? Maybe you too have travelled off the beaten track? Send your comments for others to share!