Saturday, November 03, 2007

Garage Sale

Our Garage Sale on Friday was a success. I had created a poster and the Embassy emailed it to all the families, drivers, domestic staff and so on to help get the word out. Karen and I had been sorting stuff to sell all week and we had huge piles of it all around the living room.

The Build-up

Apologies to any Family members who might spot an old Christmas present or two.

We borrowed some tables from the Embassy and early Friday morning set up our stalls in the yard outside, ably assisted by our maid Gina and her husband Rick.


Gina and Rick also helped bring in the punters -- most of the Filipinos who turned up seemed to be their friends. I had been concerned that no-one would come and that we'd have to pack all the stuff away again, but I needn't have worried. A busy two hours followed, during which we sold about three quarters of the goods. We had bikes, clothes, books, CDs, DVDs, board games, shoes, camping equipment, ornaments, crockery, even my old rollerblades went. My iPod and speakers were playing on a table behind the counter to create some atmosphere, and I almost fight them off from wanting to buy that too. How could I sell my beloved iPod, especially as it had proven its durability in The Gym Incident ?

The two tents we had for sale didn't attract any interest, and neither did the books nor my unwanted CDs: I guess our musical tastes must be incompatible. There's me trying to sell a Killswitch Engage album and they're asking for Julio Iglesias. Oh well.


After the customers had gone we gave Rick and Gina their pick of what was left as a thankyou for helping us, and by 12 noon the yard was completely clear again. You'd never know such a bustling market had been there not an hour before.

Karen counted up the dosh and we made around SR2,500, which is just over £300. Not a bad haul but the trouble was it was mostly in small denomination notes: SR1 is about 14p, and we had a huge pile of 1 Riyal and 5 Riyasl notes on the dining room table. In the evening we decided to go out to dinner to celebrate, and I thought it'd be an opportunity to get rid of some of these small notes, so I put a big pile together and handed them to Karen to put in her handbag. She thought it was too much and peeled about a third off the pile, stuffing the rest -- still a wad the size of a housebrick -- into her bag, dinner bill for payment thereof.

I wanted to try Tokyo, a Japanese restaurant that had been recommended, but when we got there it was closed (doesn't open on Fridays). Now in the mood for Oriental I consulted my trusty GPS and it led us to the Radisson Hotel and it's Shogun Teppanyaki restaurant. I was a bit underdressed for this place (wrinkled shirt, jeans, Crocs), but then a high-class joint like this hadn't been part of the plan when we'd left the house. The staff took my appearance in good humour though, and we were admitted without a punch-up.

The meal was OK but no better, and when the bill came Karen delved into her bag for the Small Note Mountain she'd brought. The bill was SR411, and after about five minutes of counting we concluded that our pile of small bills came to precisely SR409. DOH! Can I just say at this point that it was I who had assembled a larger pile and it was Karen who had skimmed some off? Just for the record. I paid the bill with a SR500 note (got even more change) and Karen refilled her handbag with the pile.

Only slightly embarrassing.


Anonymous said...

I do hope you will continue with yr blog even after you have left saudi arabia. I look forward to your regular instalments

Chris said...

Thank you anonymous! It's comments like this that have kept me going in the past and I really appreciate them. I'm glad you read and enjoy it.

I will certainly continue blogging when we leave here, but I'm not sure whether to continue with Neal of Arabia or to put it to bed and start a new blog with a new name.