February 3, 2007

Arabian Nights

Umm...what's so special about Arabian nights, that it was immortalised in the '1001 Arabian Nights' fairytale. In the modern version I think because in Saudi Arabia, (not in Persia, as this is my case) people live at nights!

This was quite a shocking transition for me when I first got here. After setlling down with having everything closed down after 6pm in Holland, I have to reboot my routines to having everything opened after 5pm in KSA.

Here, most stores open from 9am-12pm then open again from around 5 pm (or after Ashar prayer in the winter). Most small shops closed around 11 pm, big ones 12 AM, and restos 1-1.30 AM. In weekend (here weekends are Thursday and Friday. Time for Sholat Jumat), they even open up to 2 pm.

More about weekends, it's family night. So only families and/or groups of women are allowed to enter the malls. So often we see groups of men debating with the security asking them to allow them enterin the mall.

In Ramadhan, the opening time is different. Nothing open during the day. Everything opens before after Maghrib up until Subuh to accomodate Sahur. Only offices open during the day, yet with shortened working hours.

During prayer times, all shops and restaurants are closed and no one allowed to enter. Exception are for those who are already in the restaurants or big hypermarts. They are allowed to continue what they're doing inside. So often, we try to get inside the resto or hypermart b4 prayer time and order or shop.

Here, a place for sholat is not an issue (NATUURLIJK!!). In one of the hypermart, the size of the musholla for women is even bigger than the ISR prayer hall in Rotterdam. Should be bigger for the male then ;)

This kind of change of course also has impact on si Mas. He was able to follow the routines I gave him back in Amsterdam (then I can relax n watch Desperate Housewives or Lost :D). While here...!!! It's very hard to put him to sleep. Even in our first months, he often slept up to 1-2 AM!!! And woke up around 10-11 AM! Following my step...:p!

It's just not a natural jetlag. Of course in the first months, we have to buy lots of things and unconveniently they only open at night, even on weekends. Hypermarts open all day long, but Mukti works during the day. So, night it is.

It's good thing also for having hypermarts like in Jakarta. I don't have to go to several places like in Holland. Groceries at Dirk or AH, meat n poultry at Genco, fruits n veggies in Albert Cuypmarkt. All in just one convenient place. Geant or Danube are my favorites. The former for its low price, the latter for its quality. Especially, since I can't easily run to the next-door Albert Heijn for a bottle of milk.

Now, after getting back again from Jakarta for 2 months, I try to apply some routines to si Mas. Step by step. First, I tune my routines then him. I just have to restraint myself from wanting to browse the sale season at Zara or Mango. Or going out on a dinner. Try to do that only at weekends.

So, what I think about Arabian Nights then? Time to rush to the shops :))

1 comment: