Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Picture of the Day: Malls are wasted on me.

Twice a day, shopping buses leave the compound for various malls around Riyadh. One thing you should know about Riyadh is that shopping is a big deal here. There are lots of big malls with lots of great shopping. The sales are supposed to be pretty amazing as well. Usually, there are grocery stores attached to the malls so you can easily shop for most of your basic needs.
(Kingdom Mall is the U-shaped grey ghostly building on the left.)

A neighbor suggested taking the shopping buses for a month to get aquainted with the different malls. I guess it is essential knowledge when you are looking for certain ingredients and things. I thought it was a good idea as I would get out of the compound for a few hours and soak up some local culture/atmosphere. However, I forgot an essential fact about my personality.


I had been in Kingdom mall before but hadn't thoroughly explored it the last time. I remembered that the mall had a lot of designer stores, but hoped that it would also have other things. I was wrong. Prada, Gucci, Pottery Barn for Kids (I do consider it a designer store as the prices as really high), Saks 5th Avenue, etc. lined the walls. I was tempted to stop by Prada, but somehow, wheeling my toddler in a $10 Walmart stroller, while said toddler was munching on McDonald's fries didn't seem right. Though it might have been funny to shock the salesman with my low-brow connections!

I was starving after eating a crappy breakfast of cereal. I enjoyed some delicious falafel rolls and a cinnabon cinnamon roll. Bubba J and I had a great time at Cinnabon, where the workers enjoyed visiting with my little man. He is SO charming and cute and with his blond hair and blue eyes, he really gets a lot of attention.

I did stop by Crabtree and Evelyn, my favorite soap/lotion shop. Forget The Body Shop or Bath and Body works. Crabtree & Evelyn has beautiful and effective products that are subtly scented. After some searching I found the Pharmacy and was able to get some cream that I needed.

But after that, I was done. I looked for a bookstore, hoping to pick up some books on Saudi culture and customs. I had no such luck.

Bubba J fell asleep. I envied him his cosy seat in the stroller, snoozing away, while I sat on a hard bench feeling horrendously bored and wishing that I had brought my Kindle. Yes, I said that I was bored at a mall. But I was. Usually I can entertain myself by people watching, but there wasn't much to observe. The stores didn't really hold all my interest. All I wanted to do was go home and take a nap.

As I waited for the next hour to tick by before the bus came, I decided to look in one more store. This store advertised its clothing as "cheap and chic". The clothes were pretty, but the prices were not. $900 for a skirt, $800 for a pair of shoes, $2000 for a dress. . . um, if that is cheap, I am not even sure I want to see what is expensive.
Then I started to think and got mad. I wonder what Saudi women do to occupy their time. What kind of hobbies do they have? Do they like to read? Do they spend all their time shopping? Because if they do, that's a crappy way to live a life. Yes, shopping is necessary to live and can even be fun, but a life built solely on shopping is pathetic. (This is what happens when I get bored and then philosophical. . . )

And there wasn't even a grocery store to browse. I don't think I'll be returning to Kingdom mall, unless someone comes and visits and wants to hit a designer mall. Hopefully, the next place I visit will be more entertaining.

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