Monthly Archives: November 2011


The Bedouin looked upon tinned food as a dubious institution. One day, when Major Maynard was accompanying us on a journey over the desert northeast of Akaba, he handed a tin of bully beef to each of the men with us. They took the meat reluctantly and seemed to regard it as unholy. It was then we discovered how suspicious the Arab was of things in tins—but from religious, not hygienic motives. It is customary for an Arab, when he cuts the throat of a sheep or of any other animal, to say, as he inserts the knife, “In the name of Allah the Merciful and the compassionate!” When they opened the tins they repeated these same words, fearful lest the Chicago packers had not performed the ceremony according to the law of the Prophet.

Apart from a few such formal observances, the average Bedouin is by no means a religious fanatic….

—Lowell Thomas, With Lawrence in Arabia, 1924


Flu arsenal – the thyme and the ivy

If you are in the U.S. and you come down with the flu, you just buy some Nyquil and go to sleep. Unfortunately for the Saudis, Nyquil contains alcohol, so here is what you have to take to even start to control the flu symptoms. And every time one of the symptoms wakes you up in the middle of the night, you have to get up and take more.

But what is that in the middle? Ivy extract? With thyme? Don’t bother. Go straight for the guaifenesin (Robitussin) they keep behind the counter.


Some days I think WordPress is just a bunch of dopes.

This is the message I received after posting the Eid Mubarak photo.

This is your 55th published post. Dope!


The last time I checked, “dope” is 1)an idiot 2)marijuana 3)something you spread on airplane wings*

Urban Dictionary adds a few meanings, but I sure do wish those kids would learn how to use caps.

*Thanks to Catanea for reminding me about airplane dope.

Eid Mubarak

This is the mosque just past Sahara Mall in Riyadh.