This past weekend we spent our Saturday in Al Hasa. Glenn has a very kind Saudi co-worker who has continually offered to show us around the area where he was raised and Saturday worked out perfectly so we took him up on his offer to explore a new area with an expert guide. We passed several signs pointing our way but almost every one had a different spelling for a seemingly simply spelled region. Al Hasa could also be Al Ahsa or Al-Ahasa...or a few others that we didn't write down. So funny.
Also on our drive down we cranked Winter Wonderland and Sleigh Ride and other Christmas classics while driving through scenery like this:
Kind of mind-blowing looking around at the desert where we now reside and listening to our Christmas tunes. Last Christmas we were driving around snowy Colorado with no idea what our next year would bring.
Just a few months ago we would look for bunnies and prairie dogs as we drove around town. Now we play "who sees a camel".
What a crazy life.
The first stop on our tour was a really cool fort. Tate wanted pictures of him saluting in every hallway, just like the Nutcracker, of course. We were in a fort after all.
They were thrilled to be able to run around after being stuck in the car for a couple of hours. There were hardly any tourists around at all and the weather was beautifully mild all day.
On our way out one of the guys at the front desk of the fort told us they had gifts for us. He's involved in some sort of cultural outreach program and since we are clearly American, he wanted to give our boys some gifts and take some pictures with us. Well all right.
They thought it was very cool that they got gifts for visiting a fort. Finn carried around his "Kuhram" all day. He was so excited to have his own tiny book. We told him it was a book of scripture and he would point to pages and say, "Does this say Jesus?"
We didn't buy anything, but it was fun to wander through the treasures.
The restaurant that Baqer wanted to take us to for lunch didn't have a family section open at lunch time which meant that I wouldn't be able to go in. So he got some take out from another place and then took us to his family's date farm to eat. This is the big room where all 14 of his siblings, or as many as can make it, gather for Friday dinner each week. We ate chicken, fish, rice, and vegetables on the ground with our hands. We brought sandwiches and fruit for the boys. They weren't quite up to the "full Saudi" meal experience, as Glenn calls it.
Lucky for us, his farm had a western and an eastern toilet. They're both in identical doors right next to each other. Finn needed to go potty and he walked into the eastern toilet first, paused for a minute, then said, "Nope. That's just a shower." Shut the door and then found the actual western toilet. So funny.
Then we fed our left overs to the goats. Finn was a little hesitant. You can see the pita he threw at the goat in this picture.
Yes, I did wander through some sandy caves, with my two children, while 7 months pregnant with twins and wearing an abaya. Thank you very much. Unfortunately my girth did limit some of the more narrow cave explorations, but we did our best.
The caves were pretty incredible. The boys had so much fun exploring and choosing which fork to take next. Most of the big forks of the caves were lit and the ground was pretty much level so it was just a cool walk through amazing caves. No gear or flashlights necessary. Here are the boys wearing their "scared" faces.
Our last stop was to a pottery place where we watched a couple of guys making some pretty cool pottery. It was incredible how fast they were and how uniform they could make goblet after goblet.