Shopping in Saudi

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Shopping here is definitely an experience...and one that requires planning to say the least.  Prayer times reek havoc on a ladies shopping day!  There is no such thing as running out really quickly to the store.  You better know when each prayer time is before you head out.
My first trip to the store was with Matt (of course, since I can't drive).  We got there during one of the prayers.  One of our grocery stores is located in the mall.  Every single store was closed for prayer.  There were a bunch of people (mostly men) lined up outside the store with carts ready to go.  So we lined up with them and patiently waited...

When the prayer finally ended, the doors opened and everyone rushed in.  We only had about an hour before the next prayer (afternoon prayer times are close together).  It was so funny to see everyone trying to get their shopping done so quickly!  I, of course, wanted to browse all the different items.  As we neared the next prayer, over the loud speaker, you could hear them announce that everyone had 5 minutes left to wrap up their shopping and get out.  It was pretty funny.  So, we hurried and checked out and went on our way.  
We've been a couple more times since then and each time its a different experience.  I'm really going to have to plan out ahead...not to mention that the stores don't even open until 4pm on Fridays!  (Saudi weekends are Thursday/Friday)  So I really only have one day to shop.  Most locals shop after the last prayer around 8pm or so and on into the night.  (stores are open pretty late here)  But, having kiddos makes that hard to do.

There are many stores here similar to the states.  We have H&M and Toys R Us and many more.  The malls are THE thing here since there isn't anything else to do.  In Jeddah, the malls are just amazing...too bad Jeddah is a 3 hour drive from us...making it a special trip when we can go.
Food here is another obstacle I'm going to have to overcome.  Perhaps it's because we live in a smaller town...but the produce selection here is very limited.  Finding food you're used to cooking with is not easy.  Many of the dishes I make (made) I'll either have to tweak big time or just not cook altogether.  (especially if it includes pork)  So, I try to pay close attention to what is actually in the stores and then try to figure out meals from there.  It's going to be really interesting!  :)  

All in all, it's safe to say that shopping here is quite the adventure and you just have to keep an open mind and a well planned schedule!  :)   

This is the mall in Yanbu.

Hyper Panda Grocery Store located in the mall.

Star Grocery Store


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