Saturday, May 31, 2014

Saudi Arabia: Taif Mountains

This photo was taken from a picturesque scenic point on the outskirts of Taif.  The winding mountainous road curves and climbs for many miles.

Friday, May 30, 2014

SkyWatch: Saudi Arabia Mountain Mosque

I love the fading mountains in the distance behind this terra cotta colored mosque in rural Saudi Arabia.

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Saudi Arabia: Taif Cable Cars

The cable cars of Taif transport guests from the Ramada Hotel to a water park.  The attraction takes people over the rugged mountainous scenery of the area. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Saudi Arabia: Shepherd's Tents

In rural areas, it is common to see Bedouin tents which house shepherds who mind their charges of sheep, goats, or camels.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Monday, May 26, 2014

Saudi Arabia: Mosque Outside Taif

This mosque is located on the road between Jeddah and Taif, a largely rural area but big enough to support a rather nice and large new mosque.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Saudi Arabia: Mosque in Desert

Because Muslims are required to pray five times daily, there are mosques everywhere in Saudi Arabia, even in the middle of nowhere.  With most of Saudi Arabia being desert, rural, or undeveloped, there are many mosques in these areas too, to accommodate travelers.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Jeddah: Street Scene

This is a very typical scene as one drives around parts of Jeddah.  Nothing special or extraordinary, but colorful and interesting, none the less.  Very commonly in the evenings, men will often sit and chat on the outdoor seating.  

Friday, May 23, 2014

SkyWatch: Saudi Arabia: Camel in Desert

I feel fortunate that I got this shot - taken, as so many of my photos are, from a moving vehicle.

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Jeddah Surprise: Castle

This villa is unusual for a couple of reasons.  It is surrounded by dense foliage, which in this desert kingdom is a rarity.  The castle style of the villa is also unusual.  Even the palaces I have seen here in Jeddah are not built in the castle style. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Traffic Signs: Royal Terminal

Thought you might be interested to know that the airport in Jeddah has several different terminals that all have separate entrances.  The South Terminal houses Saudi Airlines which offers domestic and international flights.  Foreign airlines are located in the North Terminal and there is also a special area there that accommodates the millions of religious pilgrims who travel to Saudi Arabia each year for Hajj.  There is also a Royal Terminal, which accommodates royal family members traveling on private or chartered flights. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

SkyWatch: Red Sea Palm Trees at Sunset

This shot was taken at a private beach house north of Jeddah in the Obhur area.

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Jeddah Sculpture: The Illuminated Globe

The Illuminated Globe is one of the most well known and beloved sculptures of Jeddah.  It is located in the center of a large roundabout in North Jeddah by Roshan Mall.  It was built in Italy at a cost of more than $1 million. 

Julio LaFuente is the Spanish architect who created this amazing stained glass and steel sculpture. It is quite beautiful when it is illuminated from within at night, depicting Mecca as the center of the Islamic world.  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What Women Do in Saudi Arabia: They Wait

The way this society is set up in Saudi Arabia wastes a lot of people's time.  Since women cannot legally drive, they frequently must wait around for their transportation instead of just hopping into their cars and driving themselves.  I once waited 3 hours for a driver to come and pick me up.  Many foreign drivers are brought into the country just to drive women around.  Often drivers can be seen waiting outside malls where women shop, waiting to take them to their next destination.   Not allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia is extremely inefficient for this society, among other things.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Jeddah: Camel Sculpture

One of Jeddah's most well known public art sculptures is The Camel Roundabout located in North Jeddah's Obhur (beach) area.

The artist who made the two concrete camel sculptures is Rabi Al Akhras.  They are quite tall and exaggerated, with necks and legs more like giraffes than camels.  They are visible from quite a distance. 

The traffic roundabout in which this sculpture is located is huge.  Each camel is divided up into three separated sections.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Jeddah's Danube Supermarket Deli Lighting

The deli section of this Danube supermarket sports dozens of pendant lights.  This photo just shows a small section of its huge deli counter.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Seattle's Best Coffee in Jeddah

In addition to the popular coffee chains of Starbucks and Barnie's, Jeddah is also home to Seattle's Best Coffee.  Coffee is just as popular here as it is around the world.  Arabic coffee, called gahwa, is mostly cardomom with just a tad of actual coffee in it.  It is served in extremely tiny little cups.  Gahwa is traditionally offered to guests shortly after arrival, along with sweets or dates.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Meat Market

There are many small meat markets like this one with the carcasses hanging in the window here in Jeddah.  Besides lamb, goat, and beef, these markets also offer camel meat for sale. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Window Washer

Another blue glass building, which is a popular trend here in Jeddah.  Many of my photos are taken from a moving vehicle, so I didn't realize I had captured the window washer until I got home and looked at it on the computer.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Jeddah: Majestic Minarets

I have a thing for minarets.  Some are very functional and ordinary but others have a majestic or almost magical quality about them. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Going Overboard with VIP

The term "VIP" is over-used here in Jeddah in naming or promoting businesses. 

"VIP" is included on many business signs

The funny thing is that many businesses here do not treat customers very well at all and certainly don't make us feel like VIPs!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Jeddah: Curved Blue Glass Building

Many of the buildings are made of blue glass, for some reason.  This shot is taken from the side

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Jeddah Signs: GBS

In the Arabic language, there are no sounds of "P" or "V" so many Saudis have trouble pronouncing these sounds in English.  For example, "Pepsi" is commonly heard as "Bebsi"  and "love" is pronounced as "luff."  So many times I see signs or menus written in English that are spelled phonetically according to how Arabs pronounce the words.  This business sells GPS devices and the sign says "GBS."

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Samadi Sweets

Saudis definitely have a sweet tooth.  In Jeddah, there are chocolate shops galore, along with many other confectioneries, ice cream shops, and bakeries.  Baklava is a very popular treat in the Middle East.  In the back of this photo you can see a tree made of bite size pieces of baklava.  In the front is a colorful fondant cake.  These were on display at one of my husband's favorite places for sweets in Jeddah called Samadi. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

SkyWatch: Sandstorm Season

Allergies, face masks, trouble breathing - these are all things that come to mind during sandstorm season here in Jeddah.
Sometimes it's so bad that school is cancelled.  Hospital emergency rooms generally see an upswing in patients with breathing difficulties.
And maids are kept busier than normal trying to keep up with the dusting required to keep homes clean.  

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Shoes Outside Mosque

It is not unusual here in Jeddah to see products during prayer time just left out in the open unattended.