October 23, 2012

Bi-Polar Bird, Rabid Dogs & London

There is this bird in a cage across the street from our house that shrieks at us every time we leave the house:

"GO BACK!!!" "GO BACK!!!!!!"

I try to dismiss the threats as meaningless but lets be honest here, if a bird was shrieking at you to go back into your home and your home just happened to be in the middle of Saudi Arabia, you might evaluate your life choices too.  Getting into your car shouldn't be a huge decision, but when a bird with a mild case of bipolarity insists that it's not safe to leave your home, you do think twice.  Oh, and the golf cart.  Most people get into cars to go places.  We get into a golf cart.  If the omniscient bird does, per chance, happen to be correct and the world will end, I will feel significantly less secure in a golf cart than a car.  Severe lack of seat belts, ya know.  (Andrew's Note: Um, and doors AND windows.)

Last week I started noticing the everyone walking around camp was carrying sticks.  And not just the adults, kids had baseball bats, too.  My first though was, "What do they know that I don't?"  And my second was, "My Harry Potter wand is in my shipment, dang it!"  Who are we kidding, the wand was my first thought, I don't know why I bother trying to hide my inner nerd anymore.  We even had complaints that the last post wasn't nerdy enough - I never realized I had a nerd standard to uphold in this blog.  (It's just the natural progression of things.)  Anyway, where am I going with this?  Oh!  Yes.  So everyone is acting a bit strange and that is when I realize the bird was right!  "Go back!, Go back!!" it said.  Why, you ask?  Because of the wild, rabid dogs on camp.

Okay, so I couldn't get a picture of the dogs, but I can promise you they AREN'T this cute.
Yep.  You deal with needing to get your oil changed this week and we deal with the mild threat of wild dogs attacking our golf cart, which on a good day only goes 5.4 miles per hour.  I can run faster than that.  (Won Ton can run faster than that...and that's saying something.)  Evidently, there is a pack running around camp intent on doing whatever it is that wild, rabid dogs do in Saudi Arabia.  (Perhaps they run around trying to get every form on creation signed by 10 different people who don't want to sign it in offices that are open from 9am - 9:45am Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  Oh wait, that's me :-)  Sorry, I'm in the throes of trying to get my Saudi drivers license.)  My inner (outer) nerd wants them to be animagus, running around camp disguised as dogs but really they are saving Hogwar...cough....Ras Tanura from Voldermort.  Completely plausible.  But Andrew tells me they are in fact real dogs that happen to have gotten along a little too well with rabies, so it would be best to avoid them.  Do you think if I attached rope to the golf cart while running along side of it that it would go faster?  Possibly!  Or maybe we should just take the bi-polar bird's advice and just stay inside.  (Or take my 1st grader's advice and carry a bat "to kill the wild dogs who carry away the babies and eat them".

Hide ya kids, hide ya wife, and hide ya husbands cuz they chasin errrbody out here.

Wife, this is a very link-y blog post.)

At this point in the reading process, you might have glanced at the title and sighed,  "I thought I was going to hear about London!" And normally this is where I would find some clever way to connect a bi-polar bird, rabid dogs, and London together.  But not this week.  I'm not feeling it, and I really don't think there is a way to connect the three.  Unless, the rabid dog is Sirius Black, the bird is a patronus of Dumbeldore and they all live in London!!!!  Dang, I'm amazing.  (Well done.)

Geez, even Won Ton is rolling his eyes now.  Focus Allison, focus.

The Islamic holiday "Eid" is coming up, it's a big deal, kind of like our Christmas.  We have a 9 day vacation.  And in a last ditch attempt to stick-it-to-the-bird/patronus-thing, we are spending a few days in the U.K.  Why the U.K. and not something more exotic like Thailand, or Tunisia or Morocco like everyone else we know is doing?  Well.... London, as my dear friend Christina put it, is our "re-charge city."  And we can't think of a better way to recharge than basking in the cold weather (COLD WEATHER!!!) of a city that has more pubs than Saudi does gross, bony cats.  In planning how we wanted to spend our time, we decided that we wanted to explore the markets, eat and have a pint at the best pubs, hear music in our top two favorite cathedrals, and attend two concerts.  Oh and gain weight from eating ourselves silly.  (Yes.) Our eating schedule is listed below.  And yes, all those links work.  They will make you salivate. I promise.  Click on them. : )  

Lodge: EasyHotel, Paddington.
Pub-  The White Horse or "Sloany Poney"

Lodge: EasyHotel
Bkfst:  "The Fortnum and Mason Fountain"
Lunch & activity:  The Borough Market (gourmet food market outdoors)
Train to Brighton to see "The Tallis Scholars" in concert!

Bkfst:  TBA
Lunch & activity:  Portobello Road Market
Train to York
Lodge: Lamb & Lion Inn/Pub (stayed here last summer!)
Dinner:  The Mason Arms (one of the best Yorkshire Puddings in the York region!)

Bkfst:  Lamb & Lion
Church:  York Minster (10 AM Sung Eucharist Service!)
Afternoon:  Explore the shambles, have tea at a tea shop?
Dinner:  Pub in York

Bkfst:  Lamb & Lion
Activity:  Explore York
Train to Durham
Lodge:  The Victoria (Inn)
Activity:  Tour Durham Castle

Bkfst:  Victoria Inn
Activity:  Tour Durham Cathedral
Train to London
Concert: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra!
Lodge: Fox and Anchor Pub!!!

Bkfst:  Fox and Anchor
Activity:  Explore London, Spitalfield Market?
Lunch:  Newman Arms Pub (best English pies in London!)
Activity:  Explore Camden Market
5:00  Evensong at Westminster?
Dinner:  Fox and Anchor

(I'm super excited about The Tallis Scholars concert...they're one of my all time favorite early choral music groups and they didn't come to the York Early Music Festival that we went to last year.  If you've never heard them, do yourself a favor.) 

If you've not caught the theme of the week, it's this:  Eat as much food in as many pubs and markets as possible.  I will be disappointed if we don't arrive back in Saudi with a few pounds gained.

You should ALWAYS follow your chalkboard's advice. 


  1. Glad to hear that even though you guys have hit the big time with Aramco you are still up for staying at a EasyHotel. Way to stay in touch with your humble, pre-yard boy roots:) Definitely visit Spitalfields, it is well worth the trip if you haven't been before. Enjoy the cold weather & send some to Houston please.

  2. I love the eating schedule! That's amazing!!

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