Saturday, June 30, 2012

Bedouin Decor

Some Saudi families like to designate a room in their home as their "Bedouin Room." It's a living room that has been decorated in the traditional Bedouin style. Many times the seating consists of cushions on the floor. The seating in this photo has the cushions elevated off the floor, like a typical couch. The red and black geometric and striped patterns in the fabric are traditional Bedouin designs. The black curtain is also very typically Bedouin, reminiscent of the black tents the nomadic Bedouins used to live in in the desert. The black tents were made of dark brown or black goats' hair, hence the color. Other items that complete the Bedouin look are red patterned carpets for the floor, decorative tassels and sashes in a variety of bright colors, pillows, and dark wooden chiseled furniture with clunky rustic hardware. Many Saudi celebrations and special events will have this type of Bedouin decor in place. There are many businesses in Jeddah that rent out the tents, carpets, and cushions for such events.

If you are interested in reading more about The Black Tents of the Bedouins, I found this wonderful article in a 1966 edition of Aramco Magazine.

Friday, June 29, 2012

SkyWatch: Lilac Chevy Tahoe

I like showing things from Saudi Arabia that might not be expected. I think a bright lilac colored Chevy Tahoe with matching colored wheel rims qualifies. The only thing is, the woman who likely owns this vehicle is not allowed to drive it, as women are forbidden to drive here.

UPDATE JUNE 2018 - I'd love to see the woman who owns this vehicle driving it herself around Jeddah now, as women have finally been given the green light to drive in Saudi Arabia - the last country in the world to grant women the right to drive. 

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Businesses at Night

I showed you a similar shot of lit up colorful business signs last month. This one is taken from an angle and shows a lot more of the colorful signs. I love shots like this.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sign Language Translation on TV

I'm used to seeing sign language interpreters on TV in the states, but I was surprised to see this program using a sign language interpreter. I'm not sure what the program was about.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Our World: The Use of "Haji"

When a Muslim man performs the required pilgrimage to Mecca at some point in his lifetime, he is allowed to refer to himself as "Haji," meaning that he has performed the Haj. It is also used as a man's first name as well.  Many businessmen like to use this title of honor before their names on their business establishments. When I Googled the term in preparation for this post, I was quite surprised and disappointed to learn, however, that the term "Haji" is now being used in a derogatory manner by US military personnel as a racial slur referring to Arabs.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Soccer Drills

There is a big empty lot a few blocks from our home that is used for soccer games and practice. It's one of the few empty lots that I've seen here in Jeddah that is not filled with rubble. Some neighborhoods have grassed fields, like at schools, where the boys can play. Girls are not allowed to play sports in public settings like this.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Villa With Tiled Exterior

This is the new exterior of an older villa that is being remodeled. It's an interesting choice of tile work - I don't think I've ever seen a design quite like this on a residential property. Although my Saudi husband and I used to enjoy doing DIY projects when we were homeowners in the states, remodeling DIY projects are not something that a Saudi man would normally do himself, merely for the fact that labor is so cheap here. So there are none of those big home improvement stores here like there are in the states, such as Home Depot and Loews.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Beautiful Chocolate and Gift Shop

Al-Nukaly is a chain of beautiful chocolate shops here in Jeddah. Gifts of chocolate platters or baskets are very popular for holidays or special occasions.

My only complaint is that dark chocolate is much harder to find in shops like these because most Saudis seem to prefer milk chocolate.

Friday, June 22, 2012

SkyWatch: Beautiful New Building

I don't know how many floors this lovely new building on Madinah Road in Jeddah has, but it is a vision to behold. Construction all over the city continues at a feverish pace with no signs of letting up. This particular building is one of my favorites.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Waiting for Customers

This is a very typical scene here in Jeddah - idle workers sitting outside shops just waiting for customers.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Va Va Voom!

Va Va Voom offers fragrances and skin care products. They were having some type of promotion, hence the pink balloons.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Our World: Near Beer in Saudi

I think it's interesting that among the popular beverages in Saudi Arabia are non-alcoholic versions of beer. Many of them actually come in a variety of different flavors, like apple, berry, and peach.

Be sure to visit OUR WORLD TUESDAY, where family-friendly bloggers share a unique glimpse into what life is like all around our ever-amazing planet.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sodas in Arabic

I thought you might enjoy seeing how bottles of Coca Cola, Coca Cola Light, Sprite, and Mountain Dew appear here in Saudi Arabia. On one side is the English text and familiar logos (above), and on the other side is the Arabic version.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ulla Popken: "Family Only"

There are many European companies that have outlets in Jeddah. Ulla Popken in the Mall of Arabia offers clothing for plus sized women. If you look closely you can see signs on either side of the entrance that say "Family Only" in both English and Arabic. New laws in Saudi Arabia are being enforced requiring shops that cater to female clientele, such as lingerie, make-up, and women's clothing, to replace their previously all-male work force with female sales clerks. Businesses have until a certain date to comply, and many have already made the switch. Personally I see this as a huge victory for women in this country. Women began a highly publicized movement boycotting lingerie shops for a certain period of time for several years. It was one of those nonsensical things in this society which had previously forced Saudi women into the uncomfortable and humiliating position of having to purchase undergarments from male sales clerks. I had written several posts about the stupidity of this policy, so I, for one, am elated when I see shops with these "Family Only" signs, which signal that there are female employees in the shop and that single male customers are not allowed.

Friday, June 15, 2012

SkyWatch: Camel Sculpture of Obhur

This is a very distinctive landmark in Jeddah. It consists of two enormous abstract sculptures of stylized camels made of concrete in the middle of one of the city's largest traffic circles, although I'm only showing you one in this photo. This camel sculpture is the creation of Rabi Al Akras and it is located in Obhur, north of Jeddah. The camels are abnormally elongated and each camel is composed of three separate parts that are not connected. The long necks and legs are more fitting for giraffes than camels. Many of the sculptures of Jeddah are well known landmarks and are used for giving directions around the city. Street addresses with numbers are not commonly used here. In a city of over three million people, it makes for a lot of confusion and getting lost.

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hennaed Man

Many Muslim men color their hair and beards with henna, and surprisingly enough, they oftentimes use a shockingly bright orange or red color. For some reason, this seems to be very popular among Indian and Pakistani men here in Saudi Arabia. Muslim women also use henna to color their hair, but most often with brown or reddish brown. Using henna to decorate women's hands with intricate designs is a popular wedding tradition in this area also.

I have read that the Prophet Mohammed colored his hair and beard with henna, so many Muslim men do this to emulate him. Also, if an older man wishes to ask for the hand of a younger woman in marriage, Islam forbids him from coloring his hair to make himself appear younger to the woman because that would constitute fraud. It is not uncommon here to see older men with fading henna colored beards and the roots growing back in gray, like the man in this photo.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Almost every day, brickmakers can be seen out in the hot sun making bricks. Their lot is right next door to the Mall of Arabia, a beautiful modern high end mall that I have featured on this blog many times. I've tried to get my husband to stop so I can find out more about the process, but so far, no luck with that!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Our World: Paintball in Jeddah!

One might not expect to find a paintball business in Saudi Arabia, but in Jeddah, there are at least two locations! I've complained before that there is really not that much to do here, so I'm happy to discover that there are places like this here, especially for the youth and those who are young at heart. This one is located in Obhur, north of Jeddah, and the other location is near Prince Sultan Road and Al Kayal Street. I'm not sure about the cost and how it compares to the states.
For more information, you can call 055-627-1862. Saudi Paintball also has a Facebook page:

Be sure to visit OUR WORLD TUESDAY, where family-friendly bloggers share a unique glimpse into what life is like all around our ever-amazing planet.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Heavy Black Villa Gate

Private villas in Jeddah are surrounded by high walls for privacy that completely surround the property. The gates to the villas are all very distinctive and prominent. Most villas have an area within the walls where the women can go to be outside but cannot be seen from outside the walls.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Nice Pink Building on Madinah Road

I'm not sure if this is a government building or not, but I've always thought it is very modern and attractive, with beautiful architectural details.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Decorated Plaza Entrance

I asked my husband for a translation of what it says in Arabic on the top part of this entrance to a large shopping plaza, but he said it was difficult to interpret. Something like: Dress well, look good, or dress for success, something along those lines. The colorful decorations around the entrance were for some type of big promotion the plaza was having. At any rate, it was attractive and colorful and definitely attention-grabbing.

Friday, June 8, 2012

SkyWatch: Red Sea Marina

This is an early morning shot taken at the Red Sea Marina.

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

School Wall Mural

I have seen more and more Saudi public schools lately with bright and beautiful murals painted on the schools' walls.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tiling Building Exterior

I have featured many photos of hard laborers on this blog. These workers come from a variety of poor Asian and African countries, like Bangladesh, India, and Yemen. They come here to Saudi Arabia because they can earn a lot more money here than they can in their own countries, enough to provide well for their families back home, even though it may not sound like much money to people from more affluent countries. Many of these hard workers are frequently treated like second class citizens. They work long hours in the hot blazing sun and oftentimes perform dangerous jobs, without any consideration given to their safety. This type of back breaking and dangerous labor is never done by Saudi men.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Our World: Single Males Section at Mall Cafe

Segregation of the sexes is carried to the extreme here in Saudi Arabia. Doctors' waiting rooms have separate seating areas for men and women. Saudi homes have separate entrances for female guests and male guests, as well as separate parlors for men and women for entertaining. Saudis will likely not purchase an existing home if these gender segregation features are not available. Restaurants will generally have separate entrances and seating areas for families and different ones for men who are not accompanied by a female family member. This photo shows the single male's section of a mall coffee shop. This strict application of gender segregation is something I personally do not care for and don't think I will ever get used to.

Be sure to visit OUR WORLD TUESDAY, where family-friendly bloggers share a unique glimpse into what life is like all around our ever-amazing planet.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Where Men Wear Skirts...

It is common to see men dressed casually wearing a type of skirt that is very popular among Middle Eastern/Asian men. It is called a "futa." It is just a simple large piece of fabric sewn together with one seam, and open at the top and the bottom. The man steps into it, folds it across his belly back and forth about three times, and then folds it down from the top a few times. There is no need for a belt to hold it up. My husband likes to wear them at home, as the futas are very comfortable. Many men like to wear them out, like the man in this photo who has just walked down to this small neighborhood grocery store.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Architectural Details: Balconies

Many buildings here in Jeddah have these tiny balconies that I doubt even a chair would fit on. So I assume that these tiny balconies are just for decoration, or for hanging out clothes or rugs to dry, which I've seen. Even the larger balconies that I've seen here are not really used by the residents to sit out on or to use for growing a collection of potted plants. I've actually seen many balconies boarded up here in Jeddah. Most of the year it's too hot to sit outside and potted plants outdoors require lots of attention in this heat. But more importantly, culturally speaking, people here just do not sit out in the open on balconies. The society is much too private, especially the women. I see men sitting around chatting outdoors in front of businesses, but never women.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Skywatch: Red Sea Sunset

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Friday, June 1, 2012

City Daily Photo Theme Day: Tranquility

Nothing quite spells tranquility like the vision of a mosque minaret at sundown and the sounds of the calls to prayer coming from all the mosques in the area at the same time. There is something magical about it.

City Daily Photo is an online group of photo bloggers who post photos of their cities so we can all be armchair travelers and learn about other places in the world. The first day of each month is City Daily Photo’s Theme Day. Tranquility is this month's theme.

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants