Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thanksgiving Gala

Our first Thanksgiving here was very pleasant.  Casey cooked the turkey and it turned out fantastic.  He had put the stuffing inside and I think this helped the turkey stay nice and moist.  The girls helped with all the vegetables-washing and cutting.  This was so much fun for them.  They also helped with all our pies- pecan, cherry, and apple.  All day we could smell the wonderful aromas coming from the kitchen.  The smells were so much like the Thanksgiving smells we remember from home that for the day we almost felt as if we were back in Texas.
Later in the evening we ventured out to Thuwal Park for a Saudi Eid Gala.  Now this was a real experience.  So far all the KAUST sponsored events have been so well organized but for some reason this particular event was a little on the "sensory overload" side as Mr. Chris, a K-2 teacher put it.  They had advertised gifts for kids and our kids were a few of the lucky ones to actually receive gifts.  The organizers ran out of gifts in about 30 minutes.  The girls got plastic tea party sets and a hair care set and Eben got a Ben 10 car that continually plays Axel F and lights up.  He loves it as do the girls.  What was so neat about the girls' tea sets is that they came with stove top pieces- this was perfect timing because my sister Mary had sent us a link on how to make a cardboard kitchen.  We used the stove top pieces for this kitchen.  Since our shipment had not yet arrived, the tea set was a big hit.  We got a kick out of the packaging.
Here the kids are enjoying the sights and sounds and their new gifts.  The couches were all over as were the beautiful lamps.

The main problem with the event was the blaring music and in my opinion, treatment of the animals.  First of all, the event was supposed to have traditional Saudi musicians and dancers, which it did, but the music was so darn loud you could not enjoy the show.  Then the camels and horses were a little dissapointing to say the least.  They came a bit late which only drew attention to the way they were transported here: in the bed of a run down livestock truck- all six of them!

  Here you see a camel "jumping" off the truck in full regalia.  I had had visions of the family posing in front of a camel for our Christmas picture but this vision quickly fizzled when I saw the absolute madness taking place with the animals.  There were no lines; everything was all jumbled.  Camels are very tall animals with very large feet.  There was no stairway leading onto the camels back.  The camel sits down, the riders climb up, and then the camel heaves itself up, back legs first.  They had to do this over and over.  Unbelievable.  There was no way our kiddos were getting on them.  Marcella did ride a nice pony and we rode as a family with some school friends in the Hantuk, which was basically and old pick up converted into a wagon pulled by two skinny, sore covered horses given no break.  Apparently there are no animal rights for such events.  When browsing the pictures, note Theresa's friend, Layla and Eben sitting up front- he loved it!

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