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Friday, 06 February 2009

Goat Grabbing in Saudi Arabia - Page 3

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Growing up as an American in Saudi Arabia meant spending most days behind the concrete walls of our compound in Al-Khobar. It was illegal for women to drive, or even sit in a car with a man other than her husband, so day trips outside of Al-Bustan village were limited to the one day a week when my father could take us on the road in his company car. So when my mother and her friend planned a trip for our families to Al-Hofuf, a city about an hour and half to the south, we were thrilled at the prospect of escaping the compound for the day.


Goat Grabbing in Saudi Arabia, Growing up as an American in Saudi Arabia, Al-Bustan village, Al-Hofuf, Al-Hasa, world’s largest oases, Ghar Al Hashshab,  Kristen HamillAfter the goat had been thoroughly picked through, basins of water were brought out to wash our hands, and the women served chai tea and fruit. Alex, Matt, his friend, and I ran around the caves with the Saudi kids. They didn’t speak English, but somehow we settled on a game of tag. My Dad interrupted the fun with his camera, trying to get a picture of all of us. Our new friends seemed uninterested in posing except for the smallest girl who stared down the camera defiantly as the shutter clicked. Alex and I stood in the middle of the group awkwardly, waiting for the photo op to be over so we could get back to the game.


When our hosts began to pack up their coolers our parents thanked Karim and his wife for lunch before we wandered back out into the sun. While we all had a good time eating and chatting with the kind family that had invited us out of the blue, some of us were still a little shell-shocked by the goat ordeal, most notably my sister. Before making the long drive home we decided to relax in date palm groves and give Alex the chance to have a sandwich, since all she could manage to eat was a single boiled egg. As we shared stories from our lunch in the cave, Matt and his friend came running from behind the date palms where they had been playing.


“We just met another family, they invited us to have lunch with them too,” Matt said breathlessly.


We looked around at each other, wondering if we could handle a second “goat-grab.” Alex’s face puckered as she wailed, “Noooo.”


“Just kidding!” Matt and his friend laughed hysterically. The rest of us laughed along with them, relieved. Alex on the other hand, cried, and continued to do so until we were back on the road.


Goat-grabs, it seems, are certainly not for the faint of heart.


©Kristen Hamill

(Page 3 of 3)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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