I mentioned before that the shops close during prayer times. There are prayers at midday and again around 3pm, for half an hour each, so in reality most shops close at 12 and then re-open at 4pm, usually staying open til around 10pm (the Saudis are late-birds).
So, we deliberately planned our stop-off at Starbucks to coincide with prayers, so that we could sip our coffee in peace knowing that we weren't missing out on quality shopping time. After prayers at around 12.30 only a handful of shops in the Mall re-opened, but one of them was a sporting goods store, so in we piled!
Joy! They have good quality adult rollerblades in stock!
I've been quietly forming the idea of getting my own in-line skates ever since buying Abigail hers last week; be good to be able to go skating with her, and good exercise for me - I need to get some exercise, plus with the Super Phillips currently off the road with a flat front tyre I need alternative transport.
It'll be great, I'll learn it in no-time; looks easy doesn't it?
The shopkeeper tells me there's 15% off everything in the store, and when I mention I'm from the British Embassy he increases that to 20%... nice!, so I kit myself out: skates, dorky helmet and pads all for under £40, and quite good quality too.
One of the things I like about going to weddings is the opportunity the reception affords me to embarass my children by what I consider to be OK-for-a-bloke-dancing, but what they call "Dad Dancing".
Well guess what? Good news for all you dads out there; you no longer have to wait to be invited to a wedding to embarass your kids. Just buy a pair of in-line skates and have a go at Dad-skating! The embarrassment factor's just as high but you get the added advantage of being able to do it outdoors, in broad daylight!
The technique's fairly simple, just try to skate and the Dad-skating will flow. I managed to get 200 yds in about 20 minutes, holding on to the railings the whole time, until I collapsed from exhaustion and gave up for the day.
The London Skaters website has a page on Top Ten Gumbie Mistakes and I'm proud to say I think I covered all ten in my first outing, including the aptly named, "Windmill of Death". This happens when you don't bend your legs enough and overbalance backwards, so you flail wildly with both arms in an attempt to regain your composure.
I've had another couple of practices since then and I am getting slowly better, but it's exhausting, I'm in agony with my legs and acutely aware that I look a bit of a wally, but none of that's going to stop me (well... not yet anyway).