Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fruit Vendors in the Street

Street vendors selling fresh fruits and vegetables are seen all over the city every day selling their wares.
Sometimes they position themselves right outside supermarkets. They do a good business.
Their products are generally fresh and inexpensive. My husband likes to haggle with them over the prices, but he will generally give them what they asked for in the first place even if they've agreed to a lower price, as long as he thinks the price is reasonable.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

ATM in Arabic

ATMs are located all over in Saudi Arabia, just like everywhere else. Most places here have signs in both Arabic and English.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Our World: Dressing in Public

The men pictured above are a good example of the freedom men in Saudi Arabia have as far as choosing what they wish to wear in public. Men can even wear shorts and T-shirts, and when swimming in public, they can wear swimsuits without shirts, no matter how buff and sexy or how overweight, hairy, and grotesque they may be.
This photo shows how women and girls are required to dress when in public in Saudi Arabia. I've seen women dressed like this swimming in the Red Sea also.

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Hovel



Just across the street from a beautiful high end mall in Jeddah are hovels like this one where poor expat laborers live. The stark contrast upon exiting the mall and seeing how some people in the world live is quite mind blowing.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sad Truth




People begging on the streets and illegal immigration are social problems you might not associate with Saudi Arabia. But many Muslims from poorer countries around the world enter Saudi Arabia to perform required religious pilgrimages and then stay illegally once their visas have expired. Men that do this are generally able to get hard labor jobs to support themselves and their families. But for the women, life can be especially hard since they are usually unskilled, and employment for women in general in KSA is still quite restrictive (but improving).
Many of these women can be seen begging in the streets. Some of them resort to "dumpster diving" to retrieve food or discarded items that might be of some value. Every day they can be seen filling up empty baby strollers with items they have collected from trash bins.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

How Much is that Camel in the Window?


After four years living here in Saudi Arabia, it's still hard for me to get used to seeing unrefrigerated animal carcasses hanging in shop windows...


Friday, May 25, 2012

SkyWatch: Industrial Area Mosque Minaret

Since Muslims are required to pray five times a day, there are mosques located everywhere in Saudi Arabia. It is safe to say that there is a mosque within a short walking distance from almost any place in Jeddah. There are smaller funky mosques located in the industrial areas of the city for lower level foreign workers to use. Mosques are easily identifiable by their minarets.
I'm intrigued by mosque minarets and love to take photos of them. They all have their own certain charm.
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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Restaurant Sign


I guess you could call this a "fast food" restaurant. It offers a typical dish called ful and tameez that is wildly popular in many countries in the Middle East. In the mornings, you can easily spot restaurants that sell ful and tameez because there is a crowd of workers in front of the shop eager to get their breakfasts. Ful (pronounced "fool") is a fabulous dip made of mashed fava beans and is cooked in large round steel pots with a small opening for a very long spoon. Tameez is a large flatbread that is baked in special rounded ovens and like many breads, it is scrumptious right out of the oven.
You might enjoy reading this post I wrote about ful and tameez after my husband had heart surgery, or this Arab News article about it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Slice of Life

A candid shot of a conversation outside an upholstery shop here in Jeddah. Notice what the man on the left is sitting on. It is common here to see discarded pieces of furniture used as outdoor seating. This wouldn't work as well in a rainy climate, but eventually the heat and dust too must take their toll.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Our World: Gold Mesh Outfit

This is probably something one might not expect to see for sale here in Saudi Arabia. I can't imagine a woman wearing this to a gender segregated function with only other females present. And any function where men would be present, women are always dressed in abayas. Okay, so I guess that leaves some lucky husband who might be charmed and dazzled in the privacy of his own bedroom by his wife. I'll stop now...

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Headless and Faceless


All mannequins that I've seen here in Saudi Arabia are headless, and public images of women always have the faces blurred or pixelized. Somehow I don't quite understand why it's okay for the female mannequins to have bare legs like these or to show cleavage like many I have seen... It's perplexing to me.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Breaktime in the Shade

Sometimes shade is hard to find here in Saudi Arabia, and it can be brutally hot standing out in the sun. Foreign workers often find shady spots underneath large vehicles or equipment to take a respite from the blazing sun.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Gymboree in Arabic



I like showing how large franchise stores look here in Saudi Arabia. I especially enjoy seeing how the logo colors and font style are adapted in the Arabic
version.

Friday, May 18, 2012

SkyWatch: Domed Mall



When the sun is setting, I like to go up on the rooftop of our building and enjoy the breeze, the lights beginning to turn on about the city, and the sunset, of course. With so much wind and dust the past few months, there haven't been many spectacular sunsets at all. This dome-shaped building is actually a large shopping mall in Jeddah styled after the Capitol Building in Washington DC.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Shop Window Display



I love looking at the window displays as I walk along in the malls here. I thought this one was particularly bright and colorful and I liked the use of the colorful rolls of wallpaper behind the mannequins. Many of the shop window dressers in Saudi Arabia are men from the Philippines or other Asian countries.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bedouin Party Rental Shop



There are many shops here that rent out Bedouin style furnishings for parties. Their offerings include red Persian carpets, traditional Bedouin style floor cushions upholstered in the typical red, black and white Bedouin designs, tablecloths, and tents.
I've attended parties with this type of set-up on rooftops, in villa courtyards, and near swimming pools. When the weather is nice, there is nothing like a Bedouin style theme for a party!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Our World: Birthday Cake Buildings

At night, many of the buildings here in Jeddah remind me of birthday cakes because the tops of the buildings are ablaze with lights.
Since addresses aren't commonly used in Saudi Arabia, landmarks, businesses, or schools are used to give directions, so buildings lit up in different colors are a good way of identifying them. Don't you agree with me that the buildings resemble birthday cakes?

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Car Seat Upholstery Shop



This is a common sight outside car upholstery shops here in Jeddah. Lined up outside the shops on the sidewalks or in any spare space are dozens of car seats waiting to be reupholstered. I don't think I've ever seen something like this in the states. US businesses would keep this type of work back in a workshop that is not visible or accessible to the public for many reasons I'm sure. I don't think being exposed to the elements is a good idea, and there's always a chance that someone might trip over them if they are out on the sidewalk. Another reason is because I would think there would be too great of a chance for the seats to be stolen or vandalized in the US - but not here in Saudi Arabia.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Forgive Me



I have seen so many of these yellow stickers adhered to the doors of shops here in Jeddah that I finally asked my husband what these stickers say.
In Arabic the sticker says "Astaghfirullah." It is a common Arabic phrase meaning "I ask Allah forgiveness." I hear this phrase being said every day here in conversations. There are many religious phrases that Muslims repeat frequently while speaking with others that reference Allah in some form or another.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Globe in Scrap Iron Sculpture

Julio Lafunete's "Globe in Scrap Iron"

Another one of Spanish artist Julio Lafuente's artworks is titled "Globe in Scrap Iron." Many of the sculptures around the city of Jeddah are fashioned out of recycled items such as old machinery or scraps leftover from other projects. Lafuente created dozens of works of art for the Jeddah beautification project over a six year period back in the 1970s. You can see more of Lafuente's artwork on these earlier posts I have done.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Skywatch: White Horse Circle

Many of Jeddah's major intersections are huge roundabouts and are frequently the home of enormous sculptures for the public to enjoy. I don't know why this intersection is called White Horse Circle because there is nary a white horse in sight. It's possible that at one point in time there was a sculpture of a white horse adorning this roundabout, but now there are several boats and huge open steel sails soaring into the sky. For another view of this particular sculpture, I wrote more about its specifics on this earlier post. If you are interested in seeing more of the amazing sculptures of Jeddah, please click here.
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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Honeycomb


This jar is about 6 inches in diameter and is filled with honey and a honeycomb. This is a smaller size than most products like this that I have seen here in Jeddah. If I remember correctly, the price was about 25 SR, which is less than $5 US. Honey is very popular here in Saudi Arabia. It is used to sweeten tea and coffee and also used in many desserts.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Colorful Nights

The city of Jeddah, like many cities, comes alive at night with all the neon lights which outline buildings and announce the locations of many thriving businesses.
What a change from the dusty and often drab surroundings I see during the daylight hours.
The signage everywhere makes me wish I could read Arabic!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Our World: And Right Next Door...

Vacant lots in Jeddah can be a real eyesore. They become a dumping ground for garbage, construction rubble, and God knows what else. Any vacant lot in Jeddah seems to be fair game. I personally would hate living next door to something like this. How depressing.

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Al Balad Style

Jeddah's unique architectural feature of wooden latticed window coverings is called rawasheen. They help create air flow to the interior, allow for privacy, and enhance the beauty of the building's facade. Many of the buildings in the oldest part of Jeddah, called Al Balad, have this attractive and distinctive architectural feature.

You can learn more about the Al Balad district of Jeddah and see more photos of the rawasheen on this post I wrote on my other blog, Susie's Big Adventure.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Food Court at Prayer Time

Muslims are required to pray at least five specific times each and every day. Each prayer time has a different name: Fajr (right before sunrise); Duhur (noonish); Asr (mid-afternoon); Maghrib (sunset); and Isha (evening). Businesses in Saudi Arabia are required by law to close during all prayer times for at least 30 minutes or more. Many shopping malls provide areas for customers and workers to wash up and pray. Men and women pray in separate areas.

Friday, May 4, 2012

SkyWatch: When Will This Dust End?

Since January 2012 I have lived on the 6th floor of an apartment building in Jeddah. I'm able to see out the windows or from the rooftop for miles and miles.
If I cannot see the mountains in the distance, I know that the wind and dust is very bad that day. Some days I can only see for a couple of blocks.
This year by far has had the worst winds and dust storms since I moved here four years ago.
It has lasted for months now. On really bad days, school has been canceled and emergency rooms have been flooded with people who have respiratory problems.
Besides my breathing difficulties, trying to keep the house free of fine layers of dust everywhere is also a big problem.

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