Monday, January 3, 2011

Camel Market.

Last Thursday (Our Saturdays), we headed south to a city called Hofuf to do some Arabian exploring. There were four other families and we actually rented a small bus for the day and all rode together. What a fantastic idea that was. Took the stress out of driving and caravaning and the kids and adults could all enjoy each others company. It took almost two hours to get there but was actually pretty fun riding together and seeing the country side. By that I mean, A LOT of sand.

Our first stop on our day trip was the Camel Market. This is where they come to sell and trade camels. Most of the trading happens early in the morning. It was an experience to watch. I've never seen so many camels before. Or so many men in thobes (as pictured below- you see more thobes here than camels. Normally thobes are white, but in the winter they were darker colors for warmth.) Didn't really see any women here. Normally I would also be in an abiya. Hofuf is a very conservative and one of the oldest cities in the country. It's pretty much one of those things you just do. Fortunately, Lisa's mom was with us and she's an old Aramco expat and does not wear an abiya- not ever. So we didn't either. Strength and safety in numbers. There were over 25 of us and not a single person said a word about the women being in street clothes. I have to admit- it felt GREAT and liberating to not be in a black abiya for the day.

The only uncomfortable thing about this, was when we first arrived at the market I had several young Saudi guys taking pictures of me. A little weird. Then one of them actually came up and put his arm around me for a photo, what?!! I didn't even know what to do I was so shocked. They are not allowed to talk to women let alone touch me. I immediately shoved away and said no thanks, no. Then I scurried over to Mike and told him not to leave me alone again. Which he didn't.

Here are some photos from the Market and of the camels. We saw a lot of baby camels.Camel Crane. This is how they load the camels into the truck. Amazing to watch. I had no idea how load Camels can be. They can put up a pretty big protest and this one was not very happy about it. Now they lift the baby camel to be with his mamma. Our boys were fascinated.
Here's our group getting ready to load back onto the bus for our next stop-
Hofuf Souks (which is what they call really old downtown shops).

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