Month: February 2010

Seeing Red in Riyadh

The people here are polite and friendly; the food is amazing.  I’m told that the finest dates in the world come from Saudi Arabia.  My own small sample would seem to confirm that.  But for a country that celebrates friendship and good food to such 

Shisha, or Hubbly-Bubbly

There are no bars in Saudi; there’s no (legal) consumption of alcohol.  But there is shisha, AKA “hubbly-bubbly” which is what men do instead of going to the bar.  Women not allowed, but they certainly are on the minds and a part of the discussion over 

“In case of any ‘Danger Alarm’ (God forbidden)…”

Is there a more elegant way to discourage smoking?  “It is prohibited in the Holy Book, do not hesitate to stop this bad habit.”

Matrimonial Classifieds from the “Arab News”

“…parents invite suitable alliance for their son, 27 years, 5’8”, B.Tech (IT), wheatish and good-looking, …” “Wheatish”.  A new word for me, and another way to say, “I’m not dark skinned!”  Hey, black is beautiful!

Mama Noura

Mama Noura has ruined it for me.  Well, not completely.  I haven’t tried their falafel yet but when I do then the destruction of any desire I might have for Arabic food in the US will be gone, gone, gone.  Why?  Because once one has 

Omm Ali أم علي

Day one, Riyadh.  Omm Ali for dinner after an amazing lunch of some familiar Arabic foods.  I’ve eaten these foods before, but (like Thai, or Japanese, Chinese, et cetera) they taste somehow different (better) when eaten in their country of origin than they do in the good ol’ USA.  Maybe there is something to this idea of terroir.