Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Past and Present come together...

100 years ago, Bedouins roamed the Arabian desert with camels, living in small nomadic tribes within palm frond houses and tents. Some still do. In today's society, the Arabs often go back to their roots, building the palm frond lean-tos and camping in the desert in large tents. The tents are very luxurious, a firepit in the middle for making tea, Persian carpets on the floor and low couches and chairs around the edges. People congregate in the tents to talk, eat, drink tea and discuss world events.

This hut is made from palm fronds. The gentleman whose farm we visited told us that as a young child his family lived in one similar only much larger. His date farm is one of many scattered about the countryside. There are many varieties of dates in Saudi Arabia. The government encourages the growth of dates because the crop has a huge impact on their culture. When visiting anywhere, even many locally run stores, guests are offered a date and small cup of tea.

Old and new come together in an ad for a Toyota Land Cruiser. Around Al-Khobar, there are many areas that are not developed. The locals take tents and families out to these areas and camp for a day or two. We often see people dressed traditionally sitting on Persian rugs in front of a tent and socializing.

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