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Allahu Akbar and Eid Mubarak December 30, 2006

Posted by Aella in Al Khobar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Saudi culture, Sweden.

So now he is dead. Saddam Hussein. If it was wrong or right to execute him I do not know but for sure he deserved a punishment for his crimes. His last words were apparantly Allahu Akbar. True indeed. Just wanted to make a note of this event and day. Strange day indeed to make such an execution. First day of Eid and the tv stations are showing so much footage and pictures of his life. In a way I guess it could be beneficial for us if we think about who he was and how we ourselves could improve our behaviour and living and another way it is not a very festive thing to see his evil and miserable face wherever we turn.

Eid Mubarak to you all. I wish you a great time with your friends and family. May God bless you all.

Our visa issue was solved shortly after I wrote the previous post. I love flexible countries (and no I am not talking bribes here ok). In Sweden if they say no to something then it’s no and no and no. Nooo way around it for sure. Here you talk to a guy who tells you about another guy (that is actually working) who says sure I can do that and voila you have solved your problem.
I’ts great to be here in Manama and I have a list of things I want to do before I go back. A visit to the souk is one of them. We have visited the cafe Don Vito two nights in a row and I find it to be a really cosy place with good food.  Veranda and  Aroma Cafe are two other place which are nice to just sit and chill in with an arghile, (not for me) some food and drinks. Just love the feeling of bei ng able to just chill. Something I haven’t been able to do in Khobar. It always feels like such an issue to go somewhere and once you have eaten you can’t just sit and chill (or can you??). Maybe someone can recommend a chill out place in Khobar or Dammam? And by the way, aren’t there any arghile places in Khobar?


Murphys Law December 28, 2006

Posted by Aella in Al Khobar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia.

An interesting and not so funny twist has hit our plans to be in Bahrain during Eid. We were supposed to leave early this morning and stay for about a week. Unfortunately my husband realised last night that his exit re-entry visa is running out…..tomorrow morning. Which means that if we go he cannot go back until he has renewed it. The only person that can renew it has of course gone to hajj (God bless him) and won’t be back until the 6th of Jan. This also means that if I get into labour in Bahrain my husband won’t be able to take me back to Saudi (how the heck would I get back then?). Sure they have good hospitals in Bahrain too but if li’l one is born in Bahrain it means I will be stuck there until we get her a passport (and a visa perhaps?) and quite frankly I want to be at home afterwards and not in someone elses house.

My husband has now gone to a passport office in Dammam where this possibly could be sorted inshalla…only they told him last night that only his sponsor can do this. I assume his company is his sponsor but as I said before the Saudi man dealing with this is away. So let’s see if he can still get some kind of a visa..
I know it’s a few weeks until due date but babies tend to come as they please and not according to calculations. Inshalla it won’t be until we are back here anyway.

Breastfeeding in public December 26, 2006

Posted by Aella in Al Khobar, Culture, Saudi Arabia, Sweden.

There is a debate is Sweden right now about the right to nurse your baby in public. We do of course have that right only some restaurants are asking women to sit in a special room as oppossed to by the table when nursing.
NursingSwedish writer Linda Skugge ( I won’t call her a journalist since I don’t think she is) recently visited a fancy restaurant (Edsbacka värdshus) when she was asked to sit behind a screen (in a comfortable armchair) and nurse her baby. The place was especially design for women to sit and nurse in but Linda felt it was both unfair and humiliating having to sit there. She made a big drama about it in the restaurant and later wrote about it in one of Swedens leading tabloids Expressen. After this article she has received emails from people all over Sweden both supporting her and opposing her argument. People supporting her are asking what happened to equality between men and women and if women nursing are assumed to stay at home.

I am wondering, do you see any men sitting with their shirts open in 2-star Michelin Guide restaurants? And what is this urge to sit among people with the risk of exposing your breasts? Personally I would ask for the right to have a clean, peaceful and safe place to nurse in, in any restaurant I visit. I really can’t understand people asking for the right to nurse in front of other people. And how is it related to equality between men and women (please do enlighten me) . Then again the fight for equality has a long time ago gone haywire in Sweden in my opinion. It has gotten to the point where most people are confused. Many men are acting as if being helpful will get them a prison sentence and women are asking for things and making drama about things that has nothing to do with equality. 

Here in Khobar, Saad Hospital have just started a Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign in order to get women to feed their little ones in a natural way. They are handing out information leaflets about the benfits of nursing your baby and they have also changed some of the “Womens waiting rooms” to “Nursing areas”. A really good initiative in my opinion. It would be interesting to know how if restaurants and malls here have special areas for this purpose. I am imagining it should be common here to find such rooms.

To Swedish women wanting to breastfeed by restaurant tables I say, go ahead and do it but also remember that other people are entitled to their opinions on this matter just like you are. If it cannot be done in a discreet way then you will just have to take that discussion with people around you. Buhu.

God Jul ‘n Merry Christmas December 24, 2006

Posted by Aella in Al Khobar, Bahrain, Culture, Saudi Arabia, Saudi culture, Sweden.

I want to wish everyone (who is celebrating of course) a Merry Christmas! Today the 24th of December the Swedes are celebrating Christmas unlike most of the rest of the world. People are still celebrating tomorrow but the 24th is the main day when people open up presents and have family gatherings. Do I miss my family back home a day like this (even if I don’t celebrate Christmas)? You bet!

We had a great weekend in Bahrain and I can say that it is so good to go there in the weekends. No offence to anyone in Saudi but I really feel you just cannot fit into the Saudi society in a natural way. It is so different from where I am from and also so hard to understand.  The many issues about women here are puzzling me to say the least. I don’t feel it has to do with islam but mainly with culture.

Anyway…. as we left Bahrain around 8am yesterday it was such a beautiful morning. Really uplifting! We crossed the bridge….the different stops (passport and so on) went quickly…til we came to the Saudi side of things.. How is it possible that the ques are so long once by the Saudi side? And if people have a problem concentrating then why let them listen to mp3 players, chat to their colleagues, chew gum (we all know many men find it hard to do more than one thing at a time) and have coffee at the same time as they are suppossed to work? Like yalla, yalla boys! Your sisters would have been a lot faster than you all even if they were busy with all of this.

Final countdown December 19, 2006

Posted by Aella in Al Khobar, Israel, Karlskrona, Pictures, Saudi Arabia, Sweden.

30 days left until estimated due date. 30 days inshalla. It has been a long stretch and I am really looking forward seeing my little baby who by the way is already keeping me up at night.

The temperature has been around 8-10 degrees in the afternoon lately. According to my dad, they had 12 degrees where he lives in Sweden. Never thought it would be colder here than there.

I saw Mr Tony Blair on Euronews today…celebrating Hannuka with Mr Olmert. With a little hat and all. How low can you sink mr Blair (youdroolinglapdogofBush) ? Not to mention the ridiculous things you said afterwards about Hamas having to acknowledge the state of Israel. Why should anyone have to?

I baked cinnamon rolls for the first time in my life the other day and they actually turned out quite well. Need to work a little on the presentation though 😉 . Baking cinnamonrolls or bullar as we call them is one of those things you just have to be able to do as a Swedish citizens or your passport might get confiscated. Well, I passed the test and I will continue baking them. I guess I am not really into eating cakes and buns though. I have also been baking some really, really nice bread. Baked some today and I just can’t get myself to eat anything but bread all day.


Cinnamonrolls United

Friday morning by the Corniche December 17, 2006

Posted by Aella in Al Khobar, Culture, Pictures, Saudi Arabia, Saudi culture.

Saudi family

Saudi family on a Friday stroll

Khobar Corniche

Khobar Corniche

Playground by the Corniche

Playground by the Corniche

Toy stall

Toy salesgirl by her stall

Saudi father playing with his child

Saudi father playing with his children


Don’t ask me what it says but the flowers are purdy.

Inshalla December 13, 2006

Posted by Aella in Culture, Lebanon, Sweden.

I am fed up with ALWAYS having to ASK my husband to take me to do food shopping. He huffs and puffs as if I am asking him to give me a full body massage or participate in the Olympics…then he goes Inshalla. When he says Inshalla it means…If God comes down and makes me do it! When I say Inshalla it means..If God is willing (or wants to). Inshalla the weather will be good, inshalla we will go to Bahrain and so on. It’s not as if he has to DO the shopping with me or as if I actually enjoy doing it…
Anyway, that’s married life for you. Will have to find a taxi service or summat.
Same thing with the maid issue. I cannot sort this issue out myself due to laws and what not. But it just won’t happen unless I bring it up again and again and again….and quite frankly I am not the kind that likes to do that. So as he says… inshalla.
In Sweden we like to do things on time and plan things in advance. Not doing that can sometimes have it’s advantages but a lot of time it really frustrates me that EVERYTHING has to be decided LAST MINUTE. Meals, trips, visits and major decisions. I have lived in the Arab world long enough to relax a little about these things but it is still in me and sometimes it frustrates the hell out of me. Like now.
Aaanyway…I want to wish all you Lucia celebraters out there a Happy Lucia or a Trevlig Lucia with lots of Lussebullar (saffron buns) and Glögg (some Swedish drink…google it). I could really do with both right now. And the sight of purdy girls in white.


In Sweden both men and women wear white thobs.

Silence pleeeassse! December 11, 2006

Posted by Aella in Culture, Sweden.

Why do Arabs shout so much?
No offence but I find that the Arabic programs are just full of people shouting all the time like AAAAAAAh AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHMIOKHAMSEEEEN AAAHHHHH, whether it is a political debate, a film or a comedy. And when people meet they shout as well. God. I know us Swedes can be a little on the boring side, being a bit too quiet but like all this shouting can just be tooo much! When the TV is on in our house it’s like a cacophony of shouting and screaming.
God, please make people stop shouting!

Thank god for Baskin Robbins! December 7, 2006

Posted by Aella in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, Saudi culture, Sweden.

Just came back from  the shopping trip from hell. It wasn’t too hysterical but all these people stepping in my way FREAK ME OUT!!! Really! I know perhaps I shouldn’t go shopping on Thursdays since everyone is there but sometimes you just don’t have a choice. We went to Dahran Mall which is a good mall in the sense that everything is on one floor and that shops aren’t too hard to find. Bought some pyjamas for the kids and some other things… After some time I  started feeling claustrophobic with all the people breathing down my neck, crossing my road very close to me, kids fighting, women not knowing where they are putting their feet cus of niqabs, electrical cars driving criss cross in front of me, noise, noise and fucking noise!

After about three, four hours of shopping, eating and dodging women and their abayas I felt like hitting someone. Really! I dragged my sorry ass to Geant and picked up some items and after that I was ready to crack. My husband bought me some Baskin Robbins and we all went to the car to just enjoy the ice cream and go hooome. Can’t describe the satisfaction of eating that pecan n macadamia ice creammmmmmm.

I really can’t understand how people handle these kind of situations (never mind enjoining them). I mean, I have never been the claustrophobic kinda person but that’s probably cus in Sweden we are used to more personal space. Here, there is no such thing it seems. You just have to push and shove and be in each others face. And I am sorry to say it but why cover your face so you can’t see where the hell you are going? And then you lift up the whole thing and expose your face just to see where you are heading. Aren’t you showing yourself then or am I missing something?
Aah fuck I still feel a little stressed from it all.

“The One” in Bahrain December 5, 2006

Posted by Aella in Bahrain, Dubai, Sweden.

About 2 weeks ago I received an email from a good friend in Sweden. She told me that her favourite interior design shop in Stockholm is called The One and that they have a store in Manama. The company was founded by a Swedish man by the name of Thomas Lundgren and he now has stores in Dubai, Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar and Kuwait.  She recommended a visit to The One in Bahrain and were curious as to whether they had the same kind of things as in Stockholm. I promised to take some pictures but unfortuantly I was not allowed to.

In any case, we went there for a visit last weekend and the place it absolutely beautiful. I simply wanted most things that I laid my eyes on! Little glittery trinkets, velvety curtains, bedspreads, cuttlery, paintings, carpets, cushions and so on. Some items are a little pricey but what do you expect from a shop owned by a man claiming to be on a mission to save the world from IKEA? It is hard to describe the look of the goods and the store but I can really recommend a visit if you have the opportunity.

The only pic I managed to get was this one hrmm.. Real shame they don’t allow people to photograph but not much to do about that.

                                  The One

Thanks for the tip Elisabeth and I’m sorry I couldn’t take any pics. You just have to come here and we will go and visit it together aaaight!

Read more about Thomas Lundgren, the founder of The One in Gulf News .