Category Archives: Riyadh


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.



Somewhere west of Riyadh:

A balmy afternoon in the desert.

A sandstorm on the distance.

Hey, we could all run out there with our cameras.

Oopsie. Run for the car.

Let’s get out of here.

Um, where’s the road.

Camo eggs

Here in the land of One Religion Fits All, non-Islamic religious symbols are forbidden. Got eggs?

There may or may not be commercial egg dyes available, but I’m not going out tonight, unless it’s for chocolate. I have googled up some tutorial things about how to dye eggs naturally, |here| and |here|. They’re pretty much all the same–clean out your kitchen to find stuff with interesting colors, boil your eggs with a little vinegar added to the stuff, and see what happens. Photograph the interesting stuff, eat the rest.

A tour of the kitchen yields some possibilities for organic egg dyes:

Boiling eggs in the land of One Religion Fits All:
Front: ginger
Second row: paper towel wrapped with — left to right — sage, red onion skin, tomato paste
Third row: left — lemon and grapefruit peels, right –mustard
Back: oregano

I am not impressed, but these are all eggs that have a March 5 expiration date on them, so no great loss.

The ones that didn’t turn out are tossed into a combined dye bath with some old tea bags thrown in for good measure; plus some fresh eggs are treated to various flavored baths.

The rosy light of morning reveals a space eggassey.

Front row – oregano, second row – ginger, third row – BBQ sauce. The rest in the back are the recycled past-date-code bunch.

Now, outside.

Oh, look what the bunny has brought.

Friday, somewhere in the desert near Riyadh

“From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon….At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split.”

Or maybe the caption should be “One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.”

An afternoon in the desert


A sudden rain; the colors change.

After the rain.

The road home…preempted by goats.

While the camels remain sedately in the distance.


Edge of the world

Somewhere outside Riyadh is the Tuwaiq Escarpment…