Thursday, March 22, 2012

Kingdom Bazaar

The one thing I had heard about before moving to Saudi Arabia were the coffee mornings hosted by various compounds throughout the months. All sources I read insisted that the Kingdom Bazaar was the best to hit. A couple of friends from other compounds and I agreed to meet at the playground during the bazaar to let our kids play together.
So I have to say, what I read didn't do the bazaar justice. It was much better than I imagined and will definitely become part of my monthly routine.
So what exactly is a coffee morning? Some compounds actually offer a breakfast buffet and shopping. But it seems like shopping is the central feature of Kingdom coffee mornings. And the shopping did not disappoint. I love craft fairs and bazaars because you get to wander around, seeing crafts and art, and having a more personal connection to the items displayed, then some ritzy mall.

What was available? There were book stalls, selling kids' books in English, activity packs, Easter treats, a small scrapbooking booth, (I suspect the lady was selling stuff from her stash. Her prices were pretty high. If I had not prepared so well, I may have been tempted.), a photographer selling beautiful photographs of Saudi Arabia, dvd stalls, a jam stall, (homemade jam!) abayas, and stall after stall selling Saudi items like carved camels, beautifully decorated plates and trays, framed and mounted daggers, handcarved chess sets, etc.
I hadn't intended to really buy anything, but I did come away with a few items. I bought a pack of beautiful postcards from the Saudi photographer. The jam stall was too enticing, and after tasting yellow plum jam with vanilla, I couldn't resist buying a small jar, and at $10 it was pricey, but the indulgence was SO worth it. I found a gorgeous calender with exquisite black and white photos of Saudi Arabia. I'm going to frame the photos and hang them on my walls. At one stall, I ended up buying a beautiful leather camel, loaded down with bundles, suggesting an exotic journey on the spice trail, which captured my imagination. I can't wait to go back next month.
After wending my way through the stalls, I took Bubba J outside to enjoy the playground while I met some friends. Unfortunately, Bubba J was seized by an attack of anxiety and wouldn't go two steps from my side, hindering conversation and interaction with others.
Oh, and one other tidbit from my day! A friend introduced me to a delicious arabic treat of thin bread, filled with an extremely salty cheese and then briefly cooked in a very hot oven. Delicious! I paired the bread with a perfectly tart lemonade and thoroughly enjoyed the treat.
It's official! I love bazaars and look forward to going to Kingdom next month.

1 comment:

  1. sounds like a lot of fun! believe or not I have not yet gone there myself! lol! it must be the only place in Riyadh that I didn't go :)
    I'm VERY curious about the photos you bought and the calendar! What nationality was the photographer? Could you email me pls what you paid for them? I've been wanting to make postcards and large photographs of my work, but had no clue where to sell them, this might be a good outlet I guess :) princesslaylah at rocketmail dot com thank you!!