Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Chorizo, Cribs and the Circle of Life - London Bound!

In two days I’m leaving for London.

It's an exciting time. In a couple of months there’s going to be a baby arriving, and my daughter and I have a lot to do together. There’s a quilt to be finished and little woolen singlets that are still on the needles. A wooden crib has been lovingly handcrafted and lies waiting. There's so much joy in the process of readiness and anticipation.

When I first arrive I’ll head into Selfridges, where we’ve decided to meet. I know the pavements will be teeming with people and that everywhere I look there’ll be colour. The city will feel energetic and vibrant.

It’ll look different too. The shop mannequins won’t be the Islamically correct headless Saudi versions. Neither will advertising posters showing women have faces pixilated or painted black.

Headless and faceless - a pretty typical Riyadh Mall shop front. 
My daughter and I plan on looking at sewing machines and then (I’m pretty sure) there’ll be a brief foray to the baby wear department. If I ask for help, I know I’ll be treated with respect and dignity. Last week a friend of mine was refused service in a Mobily shop, simply because she was on her own. If she’d had her husband or son with her, it would have been different.

When hunger gets the better of us, we’ll find somewhere to eat. There’ll be no need to walk around to a dingy back entrance labeled ‘Families Only’ and then find our way to a curtained booth with opaque glass.  There’ll be no need to consult the prayer time application on my cell phone to make sure we don't arrive when the doors are locked for prayer. Then too, there’s the menu. I’m hoping there’ll be chorizo somewhere. It beats camel meat any day.

My cell phone prayer time app - and every day the times are  different!

We’ll tube and walk home. I’m looking forward to walking. I'm looking forward to doing something different every day if I wish. I won't be limited by the tall barbed-wire-topped walls of our compound or have to pass anti-tank barricades and guards with  AK 47 rifles.
Our compound with its Colditz like walls. 
Back home I’ll unpack my bag.  A little of it’s mine, but a lot more is for someone else.  Bootees, woolen shawls, baby gowns, feeders, that once my daughter wore and that now she wants to use with her own baby.

It's that circle of life starting all over again.

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