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The Spring of Culture Festival February 26, 2007

Posted by Aella in Bahrain, Culture.

Spring of Culture 

I must mention the upcoming events in Bahrain during the month of March for all of you who might have missed it. Before I do I must first say buhuwahahbubuhu since I won’t be able to go to some of them due to the fact that lil L doesn’t have a passport yet.

From what I gathered by reading the information booklet about these events it is basically a combo of poetry, art, concerts, lectures, music and literature. They come under the name of Spring of Culture and features musicians and artists such as Khalid al-Shaik, Youssou N’Dour, the Caracalla Dance Theatre, Marcel Khalife, the Chehade Brothers & The Oriental Roots Orchestra and many, many more.

Adonis, who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature about a year ago will recite poems as will Ghada Shbeir who will recite poems by Ahmed Shawqi.
There will be art exhibitions by Shadia Alem, Jaffar al-Oraibi & Khaled Farhan, just to mention a few. Patrick Seal, a British writer, Vincent Tiberj (French writer) and Professor Mohammed Arkoun will all hold lectures. Arkouns lecture will be about “The issue on humanism in Western and Muslim contemporary society”.  I will miss that one for sure 😦

These concerts, recitals, lectures and exhibitions will take place in different venues in Bahrain such as Arad Fort, Culture Hall, La Fontain Centre of Contemporary Art and House of Poetry.

I cannot claim to know most of the artist or places but the program surely excites me. I didn’t know this but Bahrain certainly seems to be a buzzing beehive of culture. I would have loved hear Youssou N’ Dour live but since that concert is on the 9th of March I will not be able to make it. I better get cracking on fixing that passport so I can go to some of these events by the end of March! Anyone going to any of these events?


A kingdom for a maid February 23, 2007

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

Felt a bit brave yesterday and decided to take li’l L and A to Applebees. Didn’t think in a million years that I would go out and eat with a three week old baby but we still did. Applebees in Khobar has quite a decent family section I would say. Of course it is upstairs and dark as Hitlers bunker but it’s still ok. L slept for about ten minutes and then decided to wake up. I had to go and change her and you would think there should be changing facilities in a family section wouldn’t you? Well of course there was none. Managed to change her anyway and even got a helping hand from a ten year old cute Lebanese girl (Lebs rule yezzz). All in all, the lunch went fine to my surprise.

Now over to something really, really interesting. Corruption and slowpokes.
We are looking to get a maid since a few months ago. To get a maid you need to get a visa for maid. As expats we cannot get visas for a maid. So, we have to ask a guy at my husbands job who deals with visas and who will fix it somehow. Now he has had this on his table for quite some time now. And has he gotten anywhere yet? I wouldn’t think so. He has a system where he takes all the time in the world (doing nothing basically) and then he gets back to you saying things are IMPOSSIBLE to sort out. Ok you say, then he adds UNLESS you pay this and that. Seems quite a common way of doing things here. So you pay up but still there is a twist to things…
Now in this case he told us that the people that makes visas signed our paper saying it is “not applicable”  to have a maid in our case. Well fuck me sideways….he decided we don’t need a maid? That is probably the same person that has 7 maids at home himself. Now EVERYONE has a maid in Saudi Arabia damn it! If we, who have two kids under the age of two and one more child don’t need a maid then who does?
So our dear visa fixer says, -I might have to go to a dude who knows a dude who will ask a prince to sign… How silly does this get? Should we really need a prince to sign for us to get a maid? Unbefuuuuuckinglivable!
I give up here for today.

Liquorice and lingerie February 18, 2007

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

As I took a bath a few days back I was hit by high fever. 40.5 celcius to be exact (since I’m Swedish) . Went to the dr the day after and turns out I had an infection which needed some antibiotics. I was told to take antibiotics and panadol for some time (I never take panadol and hardly ever antibiotics unless I have to, sooo grrr) and now to my biiig excitement (screaming like I won a million dollars!!!) I have an allergic reaction to the antibiotics.
Never mind.

It’s getting warmer here but my busy baby days pass so fast I don’t have time to go out. Inshalla soon.

I been thinking about why on earth men are selling everything from womens make up to lingerie in this country. It just doesn’t make any bleeding sense. Is that to promote men and women mixing or what is the idea? I am all for a mixed society but since Saudi Arabia doesn’t work that way I am a little puzzled. As a woman, you go into a clothes or make up shop and what do you find? Hot, young Lebanese, Egyptian and probably even Saudi men (and plenty other nationalites) offering their assistance. They are polite and all but to be honest and I really don’t want to sound chauvinist BUT I DON’T want to ask dudes for things when I’m buying lingerie! Surprised? Duh!
Where is the common sense God gave us, “you people that invented this corrupt system”?? Bring it out and use it! It’s not too hard!
Ok, there are no changing rooms for women of course (don’t know if it is the same for men) so sure we don’t have to, have guys fitting our bras and getting other sizes for us. Good. Instead we only have to guess if the item will fit us and look good on us, buy it and then if it looks like shite we can return it and pick another item from the store.  And what if I don’t want anything else from that store?  Well tough shit.

God help them please.
What else?
Yes, why is Sweden one of the few countries in the world that sells salty liquorice? I know Denmark and Finland does as well and some other European countries. Everyone in the whole world likes salt so why not salty liquorice?

Not to mention the best crisps (chips if your American) in the world ….Swedish ones of course. Estrella and OLW. Why aren’t they sold all over the world?
I give up.

MTV INDIA rocks! February 14, 2007

Posted by Aella in Al Khobar, Culture.

Chup Chup Ke

 If I was ever to appear in a music video it would sooo have to be one made to be shown on MTV India (sorry 50). After having signed up for the Showtime channels I discovered that we now have MTV India and maaan does it rock!
It is sooo cool! I mean really! From having seen MTV Europe and MTV ma barif shou, this channel is so refreshing. Everyone seems to have popped some serious happy pills, are wearing bright and colourful clothes and are dancing like mad. Like a huuge, neverending party! 
Can it get any better when you are dead bored from all the excitment here?

My son complains loudly when I put MTV I on saying the female voices freaks him out and that the rest of the people are just annoying and silly but maaan you just have to watch it to start laughing. Power to Bollywood for having the ability to make people laugh!

I just saw a video from what I believe is a Bollywood movie called Chup Chup Ke (Ketchup?) and gosh matosh did these guys have a lot of fun recording this or what? I want some of the fun tooo! Send me a ticket to Bollywood now!


Babes and Blackmarkers February 9, 2007

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

You missed her..

As I went to Jarir Bookstore (which is a great bookstore by the way) the other day I decided to buy some British womens magasines. I picked up a couple and then went in search for some yoga dvds. Later back home, (to my surprise) I soon realised that Mr Blackmarker and his mates had been busy blacking things out in the mags. These blacked out things were mainly womens arms, legs and thighs. And some cleavage as well. And bottles of wine. And a jar of Nivea. Sigh.

It made me kinda ticked off that a few pages had been ripped out (sorry Ulrikaka you’re too hot for KSA) and that the black marker had discoloured not only womens bodies but also the previous and the following pages. A bloody mess in other words.

I really think you guys should get stickers not to ruin the whole magasine. You are only making a mess now. Like 3 year olds with a big black pen.

I would also reeally like to know what was on the ripped out pages (sounds like I bought a porn mag with all these pages ripped out and all these black dots) and I would reeeaaalllly like to know if you throw them away or if one of you saves them 😉 . Perhaps someone could invite me to a session of blackmarking so I too could participate and write about it 😛 . I am honestly a little curious about this. Does someone from the muttawa sqaud do this or staff from the bookstore?

I am pretty sure I could improve the whole procedure. I could help you guys pointing out things you missed so your work can be done properly – you missed a lady in execise gear 😛 . And I would really like to discuss the issue of covering up Nivea jars and wine bottles. I would be more than grateful if someone could tell me where in the Quran (or what hadith) there is a prohibition to see pics of alcohol. I mean seriously. I know that everything else related to alcohol is haram. To sit with drinker, to sell it, to transport it and to drink it… but to look at it, well I never heard of this.

The interesting thing is… I know and have heard that many people drive from Bahrain intoxicated by alcohol. Now, is that ok? I would think not. If our beloved prophet (peace be upon him) saw how people are spending time blacking out wine bottles in magasins while others are driving drunk in the kingdom I am sure he would have more than one thing to say about this. Why isn’t there anyone making breathalyzer test by the Saudi-Bahraini border? Since no one is doing that I assume, it is ok to drive intoxicated by alcohol in Saudi Arabia. And why is that?

Honey, Saad shrank the kids! February 3, 2007

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

We went on a follow up for little L the other day and imagine my surprise when the Filipino nurse called out L’s length to another nurse filling in L’s journal. -48 centimeters, she called. Eh, 48??? Excuse me, but that can’t be right? Why? Eh duh, cus she was 52 when she was born! Yes, but look madam…48! My husband made his way to the scale an voila according to him it was still 52.

I was already tense ‘cus little one needed feeding and I couldn’t find any place to sit in (there is a feeding area on the gyn floor but not on the pediatrics floor – smart move guys) so I felt how I was getting all mad. Like grrr how can they make such a mistake? Ok 1 cm but this?? I was getting myself all worked up thinking how this never could have happened in Sweden and so on and so on!
After the annoying dr (he just doesn’t have the personality to be a pediatrician) had checked little one I told him what had happened earlier but he just goes to the nurse, – Uhm I want the correct length of this baby!

We went back to the room with the nurses and they explained that when the baby is born they hold it upside down when they measure it and therefore it can seem taller since it gets stretched. Ok, but this wasn’t done with our daughter according to my husband and heeey what kind of a dumb routine is that anyway? If it proves to be giving incorrect numbers then why the hell is it still in practice? To me I guess it is just another one of those things you bump into as a Swede abroad. For them the correct length doesn’t matter but for me it sure does. In the end as she was measured she was 49 cm even if my husband still insists she is 52. I’m still pissed of with them for being this sloppy.