This is a 'greetings card' I had made up to give to my Yemeni friends Musher and Basem, after they had taken me out for a fish dinner one evening in al-Balad area of Riyadh. I had invited them over to my hotel the following evening, to hang around and go out for dinner, but they did not turn up. This was disappointing but also understandable given the many cultural uncertainties involved, it being easier for me to meet them on their streets than for them to come over and participate in a lifestyle quite strange to their common experience.
I had met Musher when I was in Riyadh in February. He was selling rings on the street and had caughht my eye. We started 'chatting' and he gave me one of his rings.
I had hoped to see him again this time but noticed he was not in his same position as back in February and I had given up looking for him, when sure enough I saw his joyful beady eyes in the crowd. I tapped him on his shoulder and he turned round and recognised me immediately and he also asked after our joint Italian friend, Iskender who had been with me back in February. And, sure enough, before long he had given me yet another of his rings, which can maybe be seen in some of the subsequent pics I have from Saudi.
Anyway, we arranged to meet up for dinner that night and I was gald when he turned up with his friend Basem (the chap in the middle on the bottom photo) as he spoke some English. He said he would like an English or a Dutch girla dn could I please find him one. I told him that she would probably like to drink alcohol and that this might be a problem. He just said that he would have to tell them about the bad effects alcohol has on one's body and that she would stop and I said that things are not that easy, as we Europeans are quite aware of the dangers of alcohol to our health and it still does not stop (most of) us.
We finished the evening with the massive fruit cocktail on the left.
Tuesday evening: just received an sms from Basem. It reads "Eid mubarak This sentence we talking in this holiday muslim which we are in. Mean, I request the happiness and successful to you from Allah. I am sorry for that day when we do not come to you. But of Allah wants, we will meet you in the future."