Monthly Archives: July 2012

Saudi bee

Note the thorns in the background.  Isn’t that always the way?

What time they fed on honey fresh, food of the gods devine
The holy madness made their hearts to speak the truth incline.
But if from food of honeycomb they needs must keep aloof,
Confused they buzz among themselves and speak no word of sooth
—Homer (see here and here)


Crescent moon

Since nobody seems to be able to go out and look at the moon properly and without controversy, last night I went out and looked for it myself. It is indeed in crescent form and Ramadan may now begin.Image

Ramadan, I guess

Ramadan, I guess.  The King has given Ramadan greetings, so it can’t be more official than that.

See also Crossroads Arabia: The annual game of “When Does Ramadan Begin?” is underway.

Saudi women will compete in Olympics

Saudi Jeans reports that the drama over sending women to the Olympics is finally over. After much wrangling behind the scenes, two women have been named as competitors, Wejdan Shahrkhani in judo above 78kg, and Sarah Attar in the 800m race.

To appease the clerics, Saudi’s most senior sports official Prince Nawaf bin Faisal announced a set of rules for women’s participation at the Olympics. Athletes can only take part if they do so “wearing suitable clothing that complies with sharia” and “the athlete’s guardian agrees and attends with her,” he told local daily al-Jazirah. “There must also be no mixing with men during the Games,” he added.

Sarah Attar can be seen here in a training film released by the International Olympic Committee.  The California-born athlete is wearing a headscarf here, but she does not wear it in another photo, apparently taken from her university’s website.

Video here (she is the first athlete in the video, a short training film and interview), the main website is here, but it does not appear possible to link to that article directly.

Other barriers to Saudi women competing in sports were removed earlier in the month, when the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the governing body for FIFA, ruled that female players will be permitted to wear hijab/headscarves for soccer competition.

Google (DOT) sa

Last night I looked at the google logo, hoping to find the special Gustav Klimt design commemorating his painting “The Kiss”, and found the address and design had been replaced by a plain I haven’t seen that here for at least a year. But no Gustav Klimt.

Today the special google screen is back, so it occurred to me to take a screenshot in case it disappears again.

And yes, the temperature toolbar says 111°.

Here is the google doodle I was looking for:

and here is the original painting:

Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World

A very nice trailer for the film Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World, part of the PBS Arts Summer Festival:

Some ho-hum related videos…..

Another very short preview:

A 15-minute bonus footage, an African fort (maybe Timbuctoo?) with demonstrations of local crafts like brick making, with a soothing musical background:


This souq (al-Andalus) must have at least 30 hole-in-the-wall shoe shops. Everything is made in China. Not one thing is made of leather.

In Jerusalem the “China market” outside the gates of the Old City has put the local leather artisans at Hebron out of business. Here there is still a huge leather sandal market at the bedouin suq. You can get handmade leather sandals for about SAR 40 or $10. You see the guys here wearing them, and I even have a pair, but I find them unwearable.

These are hand made of leather, with decorative stitching in white flat plastic. They make and sell these at Janadreeya, the folk festival that has a different section of the fairgrounds for each region of the country. And you do see guys wearing them on the street. I got these at the bedouin souk at Dera’a, but the Pakstanis also sell them at Battha — pronounced baht-ha — a huge ethnic neighborhood with lots of markets.