Monday, February 17, 2020

Our World - Miswak for Dental Hygiene

Miswak is derived from the branches of a certain tree and its twigs have been used for over 7000 years as a tool for dental hygiene in the Middle East and other Muslim populated areas of the world.  Not only do they have value as a toothbrush, miswak has been proven to have antibacterial properties, is helpful in the prevention and reduction of plaque, strengthens the gums, and prevents tooth decay and bad breath.  It is also endorsed Islamically.  Not bad for a simple product that comes from tree branches, huh?

Miswak can be purchased in small bundles that are cut to about 6 inches or so in length. Each twig can vary in its diameter, with the smallest size being about the width of a piece of cooked spaghetti.  The biggest size would be about the circumference of a tube of lipstick, while the most common size is about the width of a pencil.  Miswak is very inexpensive and is very easily purchased by vendors on the street here.

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Sunday, February 16, 2020

More Doors of Al Balad

Enjoy more of these unusual doors from Al Balad, in the oldest sector of the city of Jeddah.  Which one is your favorite? The one with the elegant colorful illuminated arch above it? 

Or is it the lacy cutout door and vent above it painted sky blue?  Or perhaps you prefer the rustic charm of the graffitied baby pink metal door with blue flowers below, with the old time green street signs next to it?  Note how the vent area above the door has been covered over by an unsightly piece of plywood.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Jeddah Men at Work

Countless small shops in Jeddah sell only scarves. They all seem to carry very similar styles and colors, so I don't know how they manage to compete with one another. Their prices all seem to be very similar as well. 

All of these shops are well organized and tidy - and they somehow manage to display as many scarves as they possibly can. 

Friday, February 14, 2020

Jeddah Doors of Al Balad

The doors of Al Balad are a photographer's paradise.  I love the different colored Arabic Script painted around the above door.  My guess is that this building is being renovated and the open wall above the door will maybe be getting window or possibly new roshan, the decorative slatted window coverings unique to this area.

The early morning sun caused the golden light on the upper part of this old door.  Many of the doors in Al Balad have a graceful arch shape above the door, like in the above and below photos.  The arch above the aqua colored door has an open vent, which is also a common architectural feature of these old buildings.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

SkyWatch - Gorgeous Jeddah Sunset

These sunset photos were taken in a sequence roughly two minutes after the previous one.  I couldn't decide which one was my favorite.

It's amazing how quickly the skies above us can change.  

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Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Phonetically Spelling Arabic Words

Trying to write out Arabic words phonetically (transliteration) can be really tricky and confusing.  Arabic has an entirely different alphabet and different sounds.  So when speakers of different languages and accents try to write Arabic words according to how they sound to them, the result is many different spellings of the same word. There is really no one absolute way of spelling out an Arabic word.

Good examples would be the cities of Mecca (or Makkah), and Medina (or Madinah).
 I have taken Arabic classes with women from other countries, and when I compare how we phonetically write the Arabic sounds/words out, they are always different - because we hear different sounds. 

The photos in this post show different ways of spelling the same word - Hindawia or Hendaweyyah? They are both acceptable - and I've seen this word spelled several other ways too!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Green Roshan in Al Balad

Jeddah is known for this beautiful architectural feature of the region - wooden latticed window coverings called roshan.  They are unique and practical and add a special elegance to the old buildings of Al Balad.

Many of the roshan are painted blue or reddish brown, some are left in their natural wood state, but I think my favorite ones are the ones painted green. 

Below is a photo with two shades of green roshan in Al Balad from a distance.