Thursday, January 18, 2018

Madas - Traditional Saudi Sandals

Originally made of camel or cow leather, the madas sandals are traditionally worn by Saudi men in all walks of life, from royalty to laborers. They are worn for any occasion, from formal events to work to business meetings to hiking in the desert.

In the past madas were all made by hand, a painstaking process which is costly in today's world.  Madas offer more support and protection than simple flip flops.  Nowadays most madas found in the marketplace are mass produced and machine made.  Cheaper knockoffs made of imitation leather are readily available in a variety of colors and embellishments, like beadwork and stitching designs in colorful threads.

This style of sandal has also become popular with women in the last few years and even can be found now with low heels for the ladies.  

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Saudi Arabia - Yanbu Fish Basket Sculpture

Yanbu's Fish Basket sculpture is located in the middle of a roundabout near the oldest part of the city near a mosque with a beautiful minaret.  It pays homage to Yanbu's origins as a fishing village on the Red Sea. Yanbu was also in an important commerce station because of its strategic location along the trade route from Yemen to Egypt.  I love all these funky, whimsical sculptures in Saudi Arabia - they are something that most people might not expect to see.  

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Our World: Friday Prayers

The Friday congregational prayer is called Jumah, similiar to Sunday services for Christians.  Muslims are required to pray five times each day, which they can perform at home, the mosque, at work, or wherever they happen to be actually. But the Jumah prayer is the one prayer of the week when Muslim men are required to make an effort to pray together at the mosque. 

Here in Saudi Arabia, I am usually always at home during Friday prayers because my husband leaves for the mosque and pretty much all other businesses are closed until after the Jumah prayers.  So when we were in Yanbu a while back looking for a mosque for my husband to go to for Jumah, I was fascinated to see literally hundreds of men praying in public in the streets, likely because the small nearby mosques were all full to capacity.

Most of the men I saw brought prayer rugs to pray on.  Many were foreign workers, but I did see some Saudi men in the crowd as well - all praying together on the sidewalks, in the streets, amidst the parked cars and closed businesses.  It was, for me, an impressive and moving sight to behold.

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Monday, January 15, 2018

Saudi Arabia Restaurant Segregation

This Red Lobster Restaurant offers entirely separate entrances and dining areas for single men and families - in compliance with strict gender segregation laws in Saudi Arabia.  Many restaurants also have privacy screens or individual dining rooms for families available for those seeking an even higher level of privacy. 

In light of the many overhauls the country's young Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is implementing, this might be one of the areas in which we might expect to see changes made. 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Saudi Arabia Blue Roshan

The roshan (elaborate wooden window covering) are an integral part of the architectural details of the western Red Sea coastal area of Saudi Arabia called the Hejaz Region.  Roshan (singular) or Rawasheen (plural) actually were a very functional addition to homes back before modern air conditioning came about. They allowed for air flow as well as privacy for the building's inhabitants.  I think the roshan adds beauty to the design of the building too.  They are most often either painted in shades of blue, green, or red, or are stained or left natural. 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Visit Jeddah's Bastah Market

If you haven't been yet, Jeddah's Bastah Market is definitely worth the trip. Held every Friday evening now through February 16th, the atmosphere is joyous, the weather is extremely pleasant, and the food is fabulous.  Not to mention all the other dozens of vendors with their products of handmade crafts, jewelry, fragrances, clothing, and much much more.

CLICK HERE for more photos and information about Bastah Market.

CLICK HERE for a map location of Jeddah's Bastah Market.

Friday, January 12, 2018

SkyWatch: Yanbu Industrial Sculpture

Yanbu is a city located about 300 km north of Jeddah and, like Jeddah, is an important seaport located on the Red Sea coastline.  The city of about 200,000 serves as a key industrial center on Saudi Arabia's west coast.  So it was not surprising to see in Yanbu this rather unusual and formidable sculpture with an industrial flair of concrete, large pipes and an erector set-like tower.  I was also happy to see the century plants (in the top photo on the right) which reminded me of Arizona where I grew up.

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