A Real Picnic

Grass? What? Really? Where?

…was my friend’s incredulous response when we told them we’d gone on a picnic, and sat on the grass eating lunch.

King Abdulaziz Historical Center is an oasis in the city.

It made for a perfect ‘Sunday afternoon’ (okay, it was actually Friday, but the second day of our weekend). We ate hummus, babaganoush, tabouleh, Arabic-style tuna salad (peppers and lemons), and spiced fava beans.  We didn’t have a proper picnic mat or blanket. One friend said, “My abaya is my picnic mat.” aha, multipurpose these things!

The weather has been amazingly perfect, with clear sunny skies and light breezes. Just warm enough to still be comfortable wearing an abaya (yeah, we had to keep them on in the park), but not too cool to need a jacket (which you’re really supposed to wear under your abaya.)

It was a treat to see kids riding bicycles, kicking soccer balls and just playing. A girl in an abaya rollerskating was struggling, but honestly even without an abaya, she would be no roller derby contender.

Twice I tried to use the public restroom in the park. But women here can be pretty aggressive when it comes to queueing, or rather not. If you don’t have your game on, there are times when you get left in the dust. I just didn’t have it in me to fight to keep my place in line for some extremely marginal toilets. I decided to wait until we got into the museum. Good call!


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