We still have no vehicle... besides the junker we rented for $500 for the month... so we needed to go back out to try to find something! To make the trip a bit more enjoyable for everyone involved, we had our babysitter come over to watch the kids.... they get to stay and play and we get to have a bit of shopping time to ourselves! Win- win.... well it'd be a home run if we came home with a car!
We left at 8am to try to make it to the dealerships by 9am when they opened! On our drive we saw a mini shamal.... a sand storm... you couldn't see the things on the ground the sand was so thick in the air. Thankfully, it was a small one and nothing that prevented us from continuing our drive into town. The drivers we encountered were much more hazardous than the sand storm!!! A month into this and several trips into town and I'm still not sure to the craziness on the road! And THAT, my friends, is why we are going to go buy a BIG SUV!!! Sorry environment... my kids' safety is taking a priority on this one.... I'll need to plant a tree or two each year to make up for this purchase!
Our first stop was a used car dealer.... we are trying to live according to Dave Ramsey's "rules" and purchase a car outright..... it is never a good sign to see this in the parking lot!!!! Dare we go in?!?! Oh, and since pictures of cars on the road are hard to tell the craziness of it all... let a little evidence from some of the damage to cars speak for it all! What I do know is that we will make sure we buy a car that is expat own... and has all of its parts... bumper included!! : )
You know you are car shopping in Saudi when there is a prayer mat, prayer books, and a microphone so a person can recite a prayer over the loud speaker right in the middle of all of the cars!!! That isn't the only thing that is different... this whole process is a new experience!!! We walked around to look at lots of cars that were inside.... no keys to turn on the engine to check mileage or see how it runs, no opportunity to test drive, no prices list.... and when we go to ask... it seemed like each car had the same mileage.... seriously? And do you really have all 50 cars memorized? I was a bit skeptical of the process. And 3 used car dealers later my head was spinning. All of the names, miles, prices.... one HUGE jumbled mess... and Brad wanted my opinion.... I had none.... take that back, I had ONE.... I wanted a car TODAY and I was DONE shopping.
So we switched our strategy.... we started looking at new cars.... zero miles to remember and prices fixed (for the most part). We were looking and looking, really trying to find a car that met all of our requirements- low miles, expat owned, 3 rows, 4x4, not black, and in our price range. After 3 new car dealerships we thought we stumbled on the perfect deal!! It was a brand new 2011 that was out on a lot that we had to drive to and the guy thought he could sell it to us for 105,000sr. So we went to look at it.... look at these NEW cars around us, yes even that car to Brad's left is BRAND NEW, covered in LAYERS of sand, crazy! These are all new cars that are older and you'd think they'd be itching to get rid of them... so hold that thought. Okay, we saw the car... hard to tell the color under the layer of sand but at that price color didn't really matter as long as it wasn't black..... and it seemed perfect! DEAL! Let's buy it! We drive the guy back to the dealership and make an offer of 95,000sr.... surely they'll take it.... better than having it sit out there for years and years.... WRONG. The boss came back and said 113,000sr..... WHAT?!?! The price went up???? You must be kidding! That price isn't that far off from a 2013 so why would we buy an old one??? So we walked... and they let us walk! That was one thing that was hard to get use to. There is no wheeling and dealing AND they let you walk away if you don't like their price. Crazy! So we walked away.... car-less! Seriously?!?! All that for not?!?!
Speaking of seriously.... take a look at this billowing black smoke behind me.... I say to our guy, "Is this okay? Is this normal???" "Yes, Ma'am. Its okay. There are factories around us." Um.... okay.... get me out of here. Forget the car.... I need fresh oxygen!!!! And on that note, we left. I was done anyway!
So we headed to the mall to take care of a few errands sine we were kid free... and all I had to do was go potty... and that, my friends, is a chore here. Finding a clean bathroom. A bathroom that isn't covered in "butt spray water" (that's what my family calls it). A bathroom that is crowded with people washing their feet in the sink to get ready for prayer. A bathroom that has toilet paper (hence why the water is "Butt spray water".... if you catch my drift) And a bathroom that has options besides this Saudi toilet.
The best I could do today.... this "Western" toilet minus the lid... that's okay, I don't need it... I squat anyway.... you have to here... because the seat is covered in above mentioned water.... Yuck!!! And now you see why I'm in NO rush to potty train Ethan and why I'm super thankful Addyson can hold it for long periods of time!! And I must not forget to mention that in our new car... will go a portable kid potty... for this reason!!!
So we ended the day with no car... but we did get some sweet tea (they serve tea with simple sugar liquid on the side) with chips and salsa at Chili's before heading home!!! I probably would have been more disappointed in our lack of purchase but we had SO much to talk about from our whole car shopping experience that more than made up for the fact that we were driving our rented car back to camp with no hopes of a new car in our future. Oh well... we'll get a new car soon...
In sha'Allah ("Allah willing" (God willing (hopefully))