Monday, October 26, 2020

Jeddah - More Giant Incense Burners

Here are some more examples of giant incense burners in a mall here in Jeddah. As you can imagine, the malls smell really good here!


Sunday, October 25, 2020

Saudi Men's Traditional Dress

Saudi men have the option of wearing the traditional dress in public or they can choose to wear Western style clothing like jeans and t-shirts.  The traditional crisp long white tunic is called a Thobe. It's pretty much like a businessman's white dress shirt, except it goes all the way down to the ankles and it usually has a standup collar.  Most often it is made of cotton, but other fabrics are also used.

On their heads, most Saudi men typically wear a plain white scarf called Ghotra or the traditional red and white checkered scarf called Shemagh.  Both are a large square of fabric usually with a border around the edges. The large square is folded in half into a triangle shape. The black loop that anchors the Shemagh in place is called Egal.  

Sometimes a cloak is worn over the Thobe, often during colder weather or for more formal occasions like weddings.  The cloak is called a Bisht and it can be in almost any color and comes in different weights of fabric.  Quite often the Bisht has a wide decorative trim in gold or silver along the front opening.  

Many menswear shops sell gift boxes of Bisht kits that can also include things like the sword, Oud perfume, prayer beads, or the curved dagger called Khanjar with a belt and holster.  


Saturday, October 24, 2020

Jeddah - Incense, Oud and Bakhoor

This post offers more pics of Saudi's incense culture.  Above is a large sculpture of an incense burner in my city of Jeddah.  Jeddah is home to many sculptures of ordinary objects that are turned into gigantic sized works of art.  By the way, incense burners here are called Mabkhara, which is what I'm guessing this sculpture is known as.  

The most common forms of incense in the kingdom are called Oud or Bakhoor, which is derived from the Aquilaria tree species.  The fragrant resinous heart of the Aquilaria tree is called Agarwood.  Oud is actually the perfumy oil extracted from the tree.  Bakhoor is small Agarwood chips from the Aquilaria tree that are soaked in the aromatic oils known as Oud and are burned over charcoal to produce the woodsy sweet scented smoke.  

Burning incense is said to be good for relaxation, that it can relieve stress and anxiety.  However medical studies have also shown that there can be dangers associated with breathing in incense, such as respiratory issues like asthma or lung inflamation.  
I've always had a thing for incense ever since my hippie days back in the 1970s. Here in Saudi Arabia I am intrigued with all the shops selling scrumptious scents and the oversized incense burners everywhere.  


Friday, October 23, 2020

Jeddah - Once Hard to Find

Years ago when I first arrived in the kingdom, rubbing alcohol was pretty much impossible to find. I could find it in boxes of individual alcohol wipes but never in liquid form.  I believe the reason for this was because liquor or alcoholic drinks are strictly forbidden here.  I'm happy to see that rubbing alcochol is now available here in the kingdom. I can't imagine anyone trying to drink the stuff.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Jeddah Sky Banners and Pretty Minaret

These shiny green and gold banners were up for the recent Saudi National Day. They caught the sunlight and flashed like crazy in the breeze.  

I love the dome and minaret of the mosque below, but unfortunately the empty lot next door is littered with trash - a common thing here in Saudi.  Sometimes it feels like the problem is getting better but there are still many pockets around the city of piles of rubble and unsightly garbage like this. 

 This post links to - SKYWATCH 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Jeddah Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  Here in Saudi Arabia, an issue that used to be swept under the carpet is now front and center to educate women about it.  The familiar pink ribbon is prominently on display in many businesses that ater to female clientele here in Jeddah.  

With 55% of cases diagnosed here in the late stage of the disease, breast cancer is the #1 leading cause of death in Saudi women.  Another problem is that studies show that breast cancer tends to affect younger Saudi women at higher rates than it does in females from Western countries. Therefore education and early detection ares of the utmost importance. 

This year's campaign in the kingdom is promoting online workshops and lectures featuring surviving women who have had first hand experience with the disease as well as health care professionals sharing their knowledge. There are also some events being held and promotional materials displayed in malls and on billboards.   



Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Jeddah Winter Games Theme

This kid's entertainment area in a mall in Jeddah called Kidzania has a Winter Games theme going on now.  



Monday, October 19, 2020

Saudi Arabia Patriotism

Saudis are very proud of their country. It is common for them to show it by displaying their patriotism on their vehicles and businesses. 


Sunday, October 18, 2020

Jeddah Cute Shop Windows

Larger than life doughnuts and lollipops make for adorable window dressing to feature kiddie's clothing at this mall shop in Jeddah.  


Saturday, October 17, 2020

Jeddah Incense in Malls

Walking around the beautiful malls in Saudi Arabia can be very pleasing to the senses, as it is very common practice for businesses to burn incense to attract customers.  Incense is a big part of Arab culture. There are many shops that sell "oud," a very well known type of scented wood for burning.  Small elaborate burners are found in many shops, and there are even electric burners available too.  


Friday, October 16, 2020

Weekend Roundup


Ancient Pictograph

Special thanks to Khaled Al-Sheraihi for allowing me to post today's lovely variety of photos from Saudi Arabia.  You can follow him on Instagram.

Plentiful blue sky


Thursday, October 15, 2020

Skies Over Saudi Arabia

In the area where I live in Jeddah, many days the skies are not very pretty, or even blue. There is so much dust in the air all the time that it often appears beige.  In other less populated areas, pretty skies can be seen.  Special thanks to Khaled Al-Sheraihi for allowing me to post today's photos from Saudi Arabia.  You can follow him on Instagram.

 This post links to - SKYWATCH

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Signs in Saudi Arabia

Outside a local mosque in a busy area of town, I noticed this sign telling congregants to leave their shoes outside the mosque before entering for prayers.  The cubby holes are for shoes, however during prayer times I have seen the cubby holes empty and the floor below strewn with shoes everywhere.  Personally I'd rather place mine in a cubby hole, but that's just me.  

The second photo shows a big graphic sign that was up during the Saudi National Day celebrations recently, with images of three generations of Saudi royalty - the first ruler of the country, ibn Saud; ibn Saud's son and the current king, King Salman; and ibn Saud's grandson who is King Salman's son, Mohammed bin Salman, the current Crown Prince and heir apparent.  

 This post links to -  SIGNS 

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Jeddah Scenes from a Mall

Family entertainment areas in malls are commonplace in Saudi Arabia.  Due to the severe heat, outdoor activities are limited here during much of the year, so big air conditioned malls offer indoor amusement parks where kids can have fun while moms shop.  

There are unlimited fancy dress shops in malls too - plenty of fashions fit for a queen.  Malls also have food court areas as well as higher end restaurants too.  

This post links to - 



Sunday, October 11, 2020

Saudi Arabia Sans Abaya

I see more and more women walking around without abayas now.  As long as women are appropriately covered, the abaya doesn't have to be the "uniform" of women when out in public nowadays.  The religious police are no longer a presence to get after women for exposing their ankles or not covering their hair like a few short years ago.  The times they are a'changing!


Saturday, October 10, 2020

Saudi Arabia Bedouin Living

A typical desert camp scene in Saudi Arabia - an open fire on the desert floor for barbecuing or making tea, resting on a magic carpet, and enjoying the weather, the clear skies, and the quiet of the end of the day.

Carved rock paintings can be found in many areas of the country of Saudi Arabia - some are thousands of years old.  

A traditional Bedouin style interior with the familiar red geometric carpeting, located in Shaqra Heritage Village.

Special thanks to Khaled Al-Sheraihi for allowing me to post today's lovely variety of photos from Saudi Arabia.  You can follow him on Instagram.


Friday, October 9, 2020

Jeddah Colorful Tailor Sign

Business signs in Saudi Arabia are often written in both Arabic and English. Many also have graphics depicting the type of business it is, for those who can't read either Arabic or English.  


Thursday, October 8, 2020

Saudi Arabia Desert Flowers

Can you believe this is in Saudi Arabia?  Gracing the desert hills for as far as the eyes can see, this carpet of purple wildflowers blooms in the winter months west of the capital city of Riyadh.

I think it's magical, don't you?  

Special thanks to Khaled Al-Sheraihi for allowing me to post today's lovely photos of the desert flowers of Saudi Arabia.  You can follow him on Instagram.

 This post links to - SKYWATCH 

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Saudi Arabia Camels in the Desert

I think this is one of the most beautiful camel photos I've ever seen.  White camels are the rarest and they really stand out amidst the lavender colored wildflowers and the reddish soil.  

The silhouette camel photo below is also very special.  It was a matter of taking it at just the right time being in the right place.

Special thanks to Khaled Al-Sheraihi for allowing me to post today's lovely photos of the desert camels of Saudi Arabia.  You can follow him on Instagram.


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Saudi Arabia Beauty of the Desert

Who knew the desert could be this beautiful?  Miles and miles of gentle sand dunes in shades of caramel, golden cream or even pale pink, swirling like a delicious hot cappuccino.

Special thanks to Khaled Al-Sheraihi for allowing me to post today's lovely photos of the desert sands of Saudi Arabia.  You can follow him on Instagram.

 This post links to -