When you last left ActiveSteve, I had filled you all in on the excitement of Christmas in the Kingdom, which had us wending our way through the camel souq, and then dining as we watched the horse races at the Riyadh racetrack. As you might imagine, after several days of action, it was time for a little bit of downtime on the homefront. Luckily, Boxing Day is just the sort of thing for that. So, although I do have a little bit of storytelling I can share with you, for the most part it was a chill day, with time spent with family. In spite of all this, we were set for a supper gathering with more of Andrea’s friends, in particular, we were dining with some Swiss diplomats, and as you might imagine, Fondue was on the menu 🙂 yum yum. Read on for a little bit more about our day, and don’t forget to check out the album of pictures up on Flickr.
Since I’d stayed up pretty late once again on Christmas day, shopping with Patrick and doing some blogging, I opted to stay in bed for a bit later than I had recently, and I must say, it was quite nice. Of course, staying in bed late is all relative when you are sharing a roof with a 2.5 year old spark plug. I heard quite a bit of laughing and giggling out in the little playroom near our bedroom. She had gotten up early and was playing with some rather loud toys. So of course I was up and around by 9am. You can’t help but be happy getting up though when you have such a cute little niece to wake up to. That’s certainly one of the great parts of this trip. Not only do I get to spend time with my great sister and my ‘brother’, I get to connect a bit more with my niece Helena, which is really nice.
After dragging my butt downstairs and having some breakfast, we turned our attention to what we might do later in the day. There had been a few tentative plans, including perhaps trying to make it out to some of the souqs in the area, or maybe to the national museum, or even some more wadi exploration. However, in the end, we simply decided to go for a nice family walk around the perimeter of the diplomatic quarters for a while. Any family outing is a bit of a chore in terms of getting geared up, like when you have to try and put a resistant child into a baby backpack when all they really want to do is walk. You can’t help but laugh though, and there’s no way you can stay annoyed at her for too long, so off we went.
We were out for a couple hours, and were surprised to see other people out and about. Although it was certainly a brilliant day for a walk, I’d been told that there is almost never any people our on the pathway, and certainly the day before, when I did my run, there wasn’t a single other person or patrol on my entire run. However, this time we came across a mountain biker, another family out for a stroll, as well as a patrolman on a motorcycle. We pointed out all sorts things for Helena to look at, and enjoyed poking around little parks and nooks and crannies as we went. By the time we got back to the house, it was already time to start getting set for out next dinner party. After all, we had to host everyone, plus be packed for the next day, as we were heading out for our big adventures early the next morning.
Jody and Patrick went to the market as Andrea and I worked on some clean up and preparation. I tried to get some blogging done, but it was just too difficult with other stuff going on. The dinner party itself was a great distraction once again, with some fine wine, some even finer cheeses, and some interesting company to chat with. The Swiss couple had 3 children of their own, so there were lots of little people underfoot that evening as well, but they did tend to entertain themselves, which was nice. Another side effect of having all the children there was the fact that the evening ended relatively early, which was welcome, since none of us had packed, but we had to leave the house around 7:30 the next morning. We were heading off to Medina, Al Ula and Mada’in Saleh for the first few days, then off to Jeddah for 4 nights. This of course was meant to be the pinnacle of our adventures in Arabia, so we were all quite excited, since Adrea and Patrick had also not been to these places. The next blog posts will undoubtedly be much more interesting as a result, so I’ll cut it off here, and pick the story back up when I’ve got that to write about.