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We Have Moved !!!

Jeddah Blog has moved to our very own dedicated website on Wordpress. Spurred on by our wonderful and dedicated readers, we took the plunge after careful consideration. Our main motivation was to make our blog more visually appealing for our readers, and Wordpress, with its varied and creative themes suits our purpose. The new hosting site also allows us to interact more efficiently with our followers.

Simple and self-explanatory, our new address is: http://www.jeddah-blog.com

We hope you will join us at our new location and continue to provide us with your valuable feedback.

Don't forget to bookmark us!

The Jeddah Blog Team

Treasure hunting at Hamed Carpets

A feeling of elation, a rush of excitement. Discovering a hidden treasure evokes such feelings as these, and this is exactly what I feel every time I walk into a little hidden gem of a shop called Hamed Carpets.

Hamed 1    Hamedcarpets2

The wondrous store is jam-packed with exotic souvenirs and handicrafts from Saudi Arabia and all over the world, and for those who have already experienced the disappointment in finding keepsakes for loved ones from Jeddah, this treasure trove is the perfect place to hunt.

Hamed 4  hamedcarpets4 hamedcarpets3

From antique locks to intricate trinket boxes, beautifully carved antique furniture and handmade rugs to glittering baubles, Hamed Carpets has all one could wish for, and more. There is even a gorgeous traditional wooden swing begging to be bought and lovingly displayed in one's home.

So, next time you would like to aesthetically treat yourself, or purchase some pre-vacation souvenirs, or simply browse away while time flies past, head to Hamed Carpets tucked away on the top floor of the City Plaza (also known as the Dome Plaza) on Prince Sultan Street, and indulge to your heart's content.

- Sabaa Ali

Out of Britain

An exhibition that seems to be of great general interest.

The British Council in partnership with Athr Gallery will celebrate the opening of Out of Britain exhibition on 02 June 2012, in the presence of Her Majesty’s consul general in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Shawkat and Adrian Chadwick OBE, Director British Council Saudi Arabia.
For the first time in Saudi Arabia the British Council is exhibiting in Out of Britain a selection of key artworks from its Collection by important 20th century British artists.
Out Of Britain started its journey on 23 April in the National museum in Riyadh, a large number of people visited the exhibition after it was opened by HE the minister of Culture and Information Abdulaziz Khoja.

Out of Britain will explore the theme of the British landscape, from the urban to the rural and the UK’s encircling coastline. The exhibition examines the ways in which artists have engaged with landscape and addressed timeless and fundamental questions about man's place in the world. The works in the show illustrate individual artist’s attempts to find their place amongst an ever-changing environment where they are often driven to challenge traditional ways of interpreting and framing the landscape.

This exhibition has been created as a direct result of an ongoing partnership between the National Museum and the British council, both of whom have been active in selection of them and the artworks themselves. This is the first time that a selection of such valuable works by key 20th century British artists has been shown in Saudi Arabia.
By introducing Saudi audiences to major works from one of the largest national collections of British contemporary art, the intention is to generate similar artistic responses around a theme of the Saudi landscape – Out of Arabia – for both physical and virtual presentation in Saudi Arabia and the UK.
The exhibition will be running from the 2nd of June to the 30th of June, 2012
Gallery hours are Saturday - Thursday from 10am to 10pm


Lecture at Athr Gallery

Coming up at Athr this Saturday.

The British Council and Athr Gallery are pleased to invite you to a  lecture on ‘The Historical and Cultural Fascination of Landscape’
By Professor David Rayson, of the Royal Academy in London.

6:00 – 7:30 PM, June 16th, 2012
at Athr Gallery
5th Floor Office Tower, Serafi Mega Mall

Please RSVP info@athrart.com

Out of Britain showcases selected works from the British Council collection by some of the most important landscape artists of the 20th century.

Above image and text reproduced from Athr's invite and copyrighted to them.

A Bonny blithe blue

The blue of 'Blue Abbaya' is a shade apart, merging a spirit of deep inner freedom and an infectiously positive attitude. Jeddah Blog chats with Laylah of Blue Abbaya, investigating the meaning of her blue, and generally, a lot of this and that.

The blue abbaya is both a symbol and an attitude for Laylah’s blog. It’s a posture of being respectful to local traditions while setting oneself apart from the crowd through personal taste. It is one of those blogs where the author’s personality comes out very strongly. You will recognize her ‘voice’ at once, and are unlikely to confuse it with another. Your instinct will tell you to stay on the good side of this blithe but aggressively positive person. She is witty and sharp-tongued on a good day, and best to avoid on a bad day, we reckon. And her blog comes with a warning for the humorously challenged.

Reading her blog, one traverses two regions equally mysterious to many – Finland and Saudi Arabia, and her blog pierces the mystery of both lands to offer us a window into both cultures through the eyes of somebody who embodies them both to some extent.

After surviving the tragic-comical challenge of a wedding à la Saoudienne, it’s been a mildly bumpy ride, to say the least, but her Finnish hardiness has helped her keep her feet firmly on the ground. Some unavoidable, amusing and enlightening comparisons between the Finnish and the Saudi way of life, whether they emerged unconsciously as survival tactics, or as a conscious reflection about the cultural polarity she embodies, make for some delightful traipsing for the culture vulture. Scandinavian ice and deserts of Arabia are physical reliefs, but like all environment, they become landscapes of the mind at some point. In ‘Blue Abbaya’, blue is the colour of the Finnish sky, and the abbaya is a cultural norm of Saudi Arabia. In its name and its nature, the blog is defined by the richly opposed but co-existing worlds that the author is part of, and the best and worst of which peppers her real and virtual space.

What was the blogging scene like when you started?

I haven't been blogging for too long, and only started reading Saudi blogs back in late 2009. I only read American Bedu’s, Tara Umm Omar and Susie’s blogs back then to search for information about marrying a Saudi and the permission progress so I can't answer this question very well sorry. Many Saudi bloggers have turned to the micro blogging site Twitter and unfortunately don’t post that often anymore.

Were you blogging since before your marriage to a Saudi?

Yes I was blogging some time before our marriage in Finland took place. We got the Saudi marriage permission around a year later.

Was blogging a means to aid your transition into the Saudi culture? To what extent did it help you in a catharsis of some negative feeling and voicing some more positive ones ?

I think I had already transitioned into the Saudi culture fairly well by that time, and part of why I started blogging was to help others in the transition. I had been here for over two years back then. Writing definitely gets stuff out of your system and off your heart and helps with frustration levels!

Your writings suggest that you made a very joyful transition from Finnish to Saudi culture. Is there something in your upbringing which is responsible for this, like a taste for foreign cultures, or a special legacy of tolerance?

I assure you my transition did not always feel  joyful.  But on a more serious note, yes my upbringing surely had a strong influence on how I deal with foreign cultures. My family travelled extensively since I can remember and that has definitely made me a more open-minded and flexible person.  We lived in the States when I was a kid and most my friends were of various races. My father is a globe-trotter and from him I learned a sense of curiosity toward everything different from my own culture. My mother on the other hand as a psychiatrist is more of a people person and she will always engage in long talks with foreigners wherever we are. She taught me how to cope with stressful situations by always cracking up a joke, no matter how serious or horrible the situation might be. Once for example on safari we got stuck in mud in middle of Serengeti at midnight. Upon realizing the car and radio had broken down and no help was on the way with hyenas closing in on our car, she said "Well, at least we have Amarula!"

Did blogging as a platform (its anonymity and its range of reach) allow you a certain liberty to engage with people about issues that would have been impossible in a non-virtual medium, especially since Saudi remains a relatively closed society?

To a certain extent yes, but most of the issues I write about I discuss with my friends here, Saudis too. Maybe they are more of the liberal types though.

Is the blogging world like a fraternity which exists only in the virtual medium? Would this kind of ease, comfort and openness be imaginable in real communication?

It is a fraternity in a way . Blogging enables exchange of thoughts and communication with people you would normally never meet in person. Also conversations with Saudi men are definitely easier this way.

I’ve met many of the expat bloggers here in Riyadh and made friends with them, we love to discuss(read rant) the same things we do on our blogs. I noticed we share the same kind of humor and instantly communication was very easy with these ladies.

Do you feel that the explosion of blogs in Saudi Arabia, and the readiness to communicate both negative and positive sides of the Saudi experience, from perspectives of locals as well as expats, has begun to create a general culture of exchange and debate, even if in this parallel, alternative, virtual universe? Or do you think that any kind of change is still a far way off?

I do like to think this is having an effect.  People are much more open to discussion on the internet, and the more people talk and express their opinions and share experiences from Saudi, the more aware people become of the current issues.

Unlike some other expat bloggers, you have insisted on anonymity. Have you ever felt that your family/dear ones could be exposed to any kind of harm or negativity or perhaps too much fame if you divulged your identity?

Yes, this does concern me, especially after receiving hateful messages and some threats through the blog. Come to think of it, the only expat female bloggers I know who write about Saudi experience with their real names are Susie (Susies Big Adventure)and Carol (American Bedu). Both women are in very different life situations than many of us younger bloggers and have sort of established their position in the blogosphere and have more confidence in showing their identity.

For reasons both personal and prudent, Laylah insists on anonymity. Suppressing her identity allows for a freer margin for expression, the blog truly opens doors to the cultures she co-habits.

How did your family take to your blogging? Were they always supportive or did they have reservations initially or later?

They've been supportive, but don't give me much feedback other than from stuff I tell them. Actually I don't think they read my blogs that much.

My husband reads everything and always encourages me and gives me feedback, both positive and negative. He often laughs out loud at what I’ve written. I know he doesn't like some things I write about, like the muttawa for example. The utter frustration and sometimes rage I feel as an independent, strong Finnish woman when I see the religious police offending or harassing women is hard for him to fully grasp I guess, bearing in mind this is what he grew up with and has gotten used to. My tolerance for hateful, discriminatory, sexist behavior that I often see the religious police engaging in is zero. I can't help it, I've always been like this. I can't stay silent while watching someone getting abused, I will try to intervene and help. Also, it maddens me when muttawa spreads this horribly wrong impression of Islam to the world.

About the recent media attention that Saudi Arabia received about voting and the issue of women’s driving, what do you think? Do you feel these are issues that genuinely merit the most attention, or do you feel that the Western media operates on a certain bias towards the region, highlighting issues which in a Western reading, seem the most important? Do you also feel that Western solutions or quick-fixes to problems are applied insensitively to regions like Saudi Arabia?

I think the recent media coverage gives a pretty mixed impression of the country. One day women are granted right to vote, the next a woman is sentenced to lashes for driving, I mean literally. And what the western media does is highlights the negative, of course. For example emphasis is based on how women still lack this and that right, as if this news was nothing, when in fact it was monumental by Saudi terms. Media touches the surface only, there are so many underlying issues people don't give a second thought to. Like how much the right to participate in Shoura and have the right to vote impacts Saudi women's status in society. This builds women's self-esteem and confidence and the more confidence they gain, the more power they have in society. The right to vote and Shoura membership was like giving women official channels to finally voice their opinions publicly. Women will start demanding for other things and standing up for themselves in their own life's situations more and more.

I don't think western solutions work well in Saudi-Arabia. This is a tribal and patriarchal society that doesn't take outsiders' views too seriously.

There is much talk of ‘change’ or a move ‘forward’ for Saudi Arabia, to the point that one no longer knows what it means. Do you think that there are genuinely some aspects here that need to be changed? If so, should they be ‘fixed’ through local custom/tradition/conventional wisdom or a Western permutation of it? What’s your stance on the matter, as someone having lived Arabia from the inside out?

There is always talk, but nowadays there are also many actions to back it up. Social media has had a huge impact on Saudis.

Yes what is moving forward? Where is Saudi headed? I think that is one of the problems that real change faces. The fear of the unknown. What will happen to us, if we allow women to drive? Will we end up in chaos? Will our wives leave us and cheat on us, now that they can move freely? Will all morals be forgotten and Saudi become like the west? Those are just some of the many different fears in people's minds.

There are many things I would like to see change in Saudi, number one being "fixing" the injustice system ahem sorry justice system which in itself has many problems relating to women's issues, number one being the need for a legal guardian.

The culture of overprotecting Saudi women has to change first before the change to the woman’s need for a legal mahrem in all her affairs can be changed. The root causes of many of the problems in Saudi-Arabia are so deeply ingrained in the people’s minds I suspect it will take generations for some things to change here.

I don't think there is any quick fix, matters are so complex and intertwined here that simple solutions won't work. Opening up the country for discussion could help start the long process.

Expats in Saudi Arabia live in isolationist habitats which don’t allow an interaction with locals. I sometimes get a very strong reek of almost barbaric snobbishness from expats who consistently put down the Saudis as if they were an inferior species altogether. They are also very firm in their beliefs, and their arrogance matches their ignorance about locals. At the same time, one feels that giving up certain basic rights of living and freedom is way too much to ask for. What is your feeling about the extreme compound culture in Saudi Arabia? Is an alternative possible? Do you feel that the disdain of most expats towards Saudis (and vice versa) is warranted?

You have opened Pandora's box.  I have so much to say about this issue I would bore you to death. First I have to agree with your impression but of course we cannot generalize either way.

I know saying this will generate many disagreeing responses, but many of them are in denial or ashamed to admit this phenomenon is real and fairly common. Some expats do see Saudis as an inferior culture. When describing Saudi lifestyle you will not hear "different" or "interesting" but rather "stupid" "animalistic" or "idiotic" from those expat workers.

I am just being honest here and I'm not ashamed to admit that many westerners coming here to work are racist toward Arabs and have a supremacist attitude. From my observations the problem is people don’t find out about the country, the culture and the religion beforehand, they rather keep to their fixed prejudices. When they arrive they see things happen without knowing the real reasons why, and thus their prejudices are fed.

Naturally there are plenty of exceptions. I have many expat friends that love this country or like to call it home, for now. They have Saudi friends; they explore the country and get to know the customs and culture. These expats value the cultural differences and take them as a special and rare gift not many in the world are lucky enough to experience. They are positive and tolerant about the local culture. I used to hang around very negative people when I first came here and noticed that attitude is contagious and decided it's best to avoid these people altogether.

 I must mention that this is not only a problem within western circles, but other Arabs, Africans and Asians will in general have mostly negative opinions about Saudis. I find this extremely unfortunate. Expats might have worked as nurses here for 20+ years but not know a single FACT about Islam or Saudi culture which I find very sad.

The problem is how the negative image of Saudis spreads. Some veteran expats spew hatred and lies about Saudis to the newcomers, who in turn trust their senior's opinions and take advice as the only truth. That leads to the new people starting to avoid locals and seeing only the bad in them, and thus, the cycle of hate continues and cultural gaps persist.

Compound life is kind of like living in an open-prison. If you're lucky it might be a life full of luxuries like swimming pools, restaurants, pubs and golf courses. But all this behind the barbwires, high walls and with machinegun men standing outside. Inside is actually an illusion of life in the west isn't it?

Even if a westerner lives on such an isolated compound, they could still, if they really wanted, meet and make friends with locals. But the most common phrase I hear is how can we even meet Saudis? Well, if you spend 99% of your time inside the compound, you won't J So it's not so much the compound itself, its back to that attitude problem. Another issue is some these compounds ban Saudis from entering, so how is there going to be any cultural exchange inside?

I wish expats and Saudis alike would let go of their prejudices against one another and make more effort to mingle and create a more tolerant atmosphere. We need to think of one another as fellow humans, not just see the nationality and religion and decide who to trust, talk to or dislike according to that!

Laylah, would you say that you have finally settled in Saudi Arabia, and contoured most roadblocks that expats face while adjusting to the way of life here?

I would say yes, I have settled.  We recently moved to an area (DQ) where I can walk around freely to parks, cafes, restaurants, the gym and supermarket which is not to be taken for granted in Saudi-Arabia! It has made my life so much easier. Sometimes I feel like I live in a parallel universe inside Riyadh!


Two years on: a sense of calm pervades.

What would your list of positives and negatives in Saudi Arabia look like?


-high standard of living (includes tax-free salaries, low cost of living, availability of cheap labor to help in the house, cheap gasoline and cars, large apartments,  inexpensive food and furniture,)

-great weather

-travel inside the country is affordable and interesting, travel to surrounding countries as well

-access to red sea and unspoiled dive sites

-surrounded by beautiful desert

-excellent shopping opportunities

-hearing adhan and access to Holy sites

-plenty of affordable restaurants to try out

-relaxed and more slow pace of life than in Finland

-meeting friendly Saudis and interesting conversations with them at work


-not being able to drive. This is the single most difficult thing for me. Not having a driver makes life restrictive, and I have to rely on my husband to take me everywhere. Calling taxi services is unreliable, expensive,  the drivers are inexperienced, some have horrible driving skills, don't have seatbelts and might even be rude. All in all, just a hassle. Not being able to move around freely has a psychological effect too.

-family is far away

- expat friends are often here for only a few years then leave

-the feeling of being isolated from the world


-lack of parks and movie theatres

-extreme gender segregation which causes multiple problems for individuals, families and the society as a whole.

What were the highs and lows of your blogging life in Saudi Arabia?

Hmm, hard to say what the lows were, maybe the beginning when some jealous nurses at the hospital complained about my blog trying to get it banned, without succeeding though J They also left some nasty remarks on the blog but that stopped after a while.

Highs would be being chosen for interview by Arab News, asked to write columns and articles for various sites, my images published in Arab News, other magazines and a book and just overall all the positive feedback from readers. Oh and meeting a big fan of my blog randomly in the desert!Some invaluable lessons in cultural wisdom that you learnt.

I would say just in general cultural wisdom can be learned by experience and having an open mind.

Which would be some of your favourite blogs in Saudi?

Blue: the colour of free expanse, the Finnish skies and the sea.

I like American Bedu's blog because she has time to post everyday and has such a multitude of interesting things there, Saudi Woman's blog because of her unique insight and clever writing skills, although I wish she would post more often. Also Crossroads Arabia is worth mentioning, this site has the most interesting news articles and expert commentary, and of course, Susie of Arabia's blog.

Was your banner design by Aafke? Is there a particular reason why you chose her and her passion for horses for your banner art? What’s your enchantment with the colour blue?

Yes Aafke made the banner, it's  actually a picture of a painting which she sent to me. I am a fan of her artblog and  especially how beautifully she portrays horses so I decided to ask her to make my banner and was thrilled to see the painting was exactly what I had pictured in my mind.

Blue is my favorite color! It reminds me of the ocean which I love, the blue skies of Finnish summer, and blue has so many different shades to it...I cannot explain it better than that.

- Naima Rashid


The Business Lunch Challenge

Many restaurants in the city are promoting Business Lunch deals, targeted at working people, presumably as ideal venues for casual business meetings. The lunches are usually a set number of options one can choose from at a fixed price, usually including a salad, a main course and a drink.

Jeddah Blog decided to try out 3 such restaurants, but to put them to their ultimate test, took along three tough customers; children aged 8 years to 12 years, in order to find out if these deals would be equally applicable to families. We then rated the restaurants out of 10. We would like to add here that the reviews were undertaken anonymously in order to gain the most objective results. None of the three restaurants were aware that they were serving Jeddah Blog that day.


This relatively new Italian restaurant on Malik Road, adjacent to Stars Avenue Mall has shown an increasing web presence. They are very active promoting their eatery on Facebook and Twitter, and we took up their Business Lunch offer first.

Piatto's decor is one to please the eye and calm the spirit. Their use of a fountain inside the premises gives an air of coolness after walking in from the afternoon heat. Their floor tiles immediately reminded us of sidewalk cafes in Europe and set us in the mood to order some great Italian food.

The business lunch menu in Piatto is a salad bowl, bread basket, a choice of one of their pastas or pizzas, and a scoop of their Gelato icecream. The Salad was extremely refreshing. No complicated flavours or heavy ingredients but delicious, green and fresh.

The pizzas we felt were great, but nothing to shout about. If your children are used to the heavy and overloaded American-style pizzas, then they may not be too impressed by these. The crusts are thinner and toppings lighter. In all fairness they are truer to proper Italian-style pizzas. Portion sizes are quite good and dishes can be easily shared.

The dish we all thought was outstanding was the Fetuccini Alfredo with chicken and brocolli. It was creamy, delicious and bursting with flavour. This dish alone is worth a visit to Piatto.

Finally a visit to the Icecream stand. Piatto offers many flavours and we went for strawberry, mango and coffee. Personally I found the strawberry too tart, but one of the children loved it enough to want to go back just for the icecream. The mango did not impress, however the coffee icecream is one of the very best I've had lately.

Verdict: Great atmosphere, friendly waiters, amazing pasta. We give it 8/10.

Ruby Tuesday

Ruby Tuesday is another restaurant promoting their business lunch deal. They are situated a couple of shops away from Sony World, on the Iceland roundabout, opposite Sultan Mall.

Their business lunch includes a plate of salad from their salad bar, one of the main course choices and a drink. Disappointingly no dessert.

The salad we all felt was nothing special. Very similar to the salad one would get at Pizza Hut. The main courses were quite tasty, especially their fish and mini-burgers. Portion sizes were moderate. However, their biggest flaw was the number of flies hovering around our table. It was very difficult to enjoy the food while constantly waving away flies. When we complained to the waiter, he said there were too many flies that day because of a sandstorm outside, and the flies all wanted to come in!

Verdict: All in all, a disappointing experience. Average food and service. Unpleasant atmosphere. We give it 6/10.

Steak House

This is a place we have visited more than once, however it was the first time we took children along with us. Steak House is situated on Tahlia Street in the Millenium Center. You can park in the basement and take the elevator up to the first floor.

The Steak House Business Lunch includes a choice of two soups, a salad from their salad bar, one of their main course options, but again no dessert.

The soups on offer were a mushroom soup and a meaty soup, both were delicious. Then came the visit to the salad bar. In our opinion, Steak House offers the best salad bar in Jeddah. They have an amazing variety of options in their salad bar, and everything is extremely fresh. Our clear favourites were the chicken salad, apple and pasta salads. It was the only place where the children enjoyed the salads tremendously. Tasty and healthy? What more can one ask for?

For the main course we ordered a Philly Steak Sandwich, a Roast Beef Sandwich and Quesadillas. Portion sizes are the way we like them; large. Be ready to have leftovers packed to take home. Their Philly Steak Sandwich was juicy and tender, and the children loved the Quesadillas. However we felt that the Roast Beef Sandwich was a little dry. Their glasses are fun and give a unique touch, and the large windows bring in plenty of light. Sitting next to the window provides a scenic view of the busy Tahlia Street below.

The waiters were very friendly and helpful, and the Manager is always very hands-on, making visits to each table to ensure his customers are satisfied.

Verdict: Amazing salad, delicious soups and tasty sandwiches. No dessert but the quality and portion sizes of the dishes makes up for it by far. We give it 9/10.


Expat Blog

Jeddah Blog recently got in touch with Julien, Founder of Expat Blog who has updated us on important changes happening at their blog.

It was Julien's passion for discovering new cultures, and himself being an expatriate for several years that prompted him to launch the Expat Blog project seven years ago. "I wanted to gather all the expatriates' blogs throughout the world on a unique platform," says Julien.

What is Expat Blog?

Expat Blog is a participative platform dedicated to expatriates and soon-to-be expatriates. It is aimed at helping people living or wishing to live abroad. It is a great resource for free advice and information on living abroad: everyday life, formalities, visas, education, cost of living, etc. It deals with all the important subjects for expatriates and the ones about to live in another country. Julien believed that this energy and experience could be channeled to help those wanting to make a move and explore other countries but needed help and advice on the very basics of making such a big move. He enthuses, "I have always thought that the real life and experience of expatriates could really help those people wishing to start a new life abroad."

At first, Expat blog was a platform of expatriates’ blogs. As the website developed, new features have been added. Expat Blog are now launching two functions which would greatly help expats and soon-to-be expatriates. They have just released two new sections dedicated to jobs and housing in Saudi Arabia. Those of us living here know that these are 2 areas where so far, there is simply not enough information one can find, and Expat Blog hopes to help to fill that information gap. These sections would help potential expats to settle and expats who would like to find a new house or explore new job opportunities in Saudi Arabia.

How does it work?

Saudi Arabia Jobs section

For job seekers: You select the relevant field (more than 100 jobs and fields)
For employers: You create a CV or describe the offered position: nature of job, skills, languages, kind of job contract…

Saudi Arabia Housing section

For house hunters: Select the kind of accommodation as per your needs
For owners: Post your ad: description of the accommodation, area, number of rooms, service charges included, parking…

We at Jeddah Blog have been a part of the Expat Blog community for quite a while now. If you haven't visited their site before, we recommend that you check it out!


Ms. Q. goes to Laylaty

Massages are always considered to be a luxurious treat. What few people know is that in the Far East, massages have in fact been used for generations as a medical therapy for illness. In the current day, we see spas and massage centers opening up, big and small, all around the world. Saudi Arabia, the land of sand, as well the biggest market for cosmetic sales, is not to be left behind. Women here are well-attuned to the latest releases and advancements in the beauty industry.

A woman will always welcome a massage which promises to take away all the aches and sores, and I am no different. I recently had the opportunity to purchase a deal for a Hot Stone Massage from Cobone; a website for introducing city-specific deals. This massage was being offered by Laylaty Beauty Centre located in the Khalidiyya District of Jeddah.

My experience started by making a phone call to make a reservation. I made a point to mention that I had purchased the Cobone Deal. I felt that they have kept specific times for such customers, as the lady took her time in giving me an appointment. Truth be told, she was courteous and tried to accommodate me at a date and time which suited us both.

Once the day of my Hot Stone Massage appointment arrived, I reached the Salon fifteen minutes earlier than my appointment. I entered the Salon to an empty reception. There was an office located off-side the reception, where a lady was seated. She was in my full view, as I am sure I was in hers. She did not make an effort to greet me, neither to welcome me. After waiting for five minutes or so, I turned and addressed the lady for assistance. Subsequently, she stepped out of the office and shouted for someone to come and help me. I, as a first time customer, did not like this attitude, and felt awkward to be there. Soon after, another lady arrived, took my cobone (coupon), and called the masseuse to lead me to the massage area.  I was not offered a seat to wait, nor was my abaaya taken away for hanging, as is the norm in most salons here.

Once in the massage room, the masseuse put on soothing music, and informed me about the massage. I liked the fact that she mentioned that she was a trained Reflexology Masseuse, with experience of working in spas in Singapore.


The masseuse already had the stones in the heater, warmed to skin touch. Once she started the massage, she was really good in terms of pressing all the right pressure points, as well as placing the stones on my back and shoulders in a methodological manner. The oil she used was baby oil, although I would have preferred eucalyptus or lavender oil. However, I was not given a choice.

The masseuse went about her work quietly and efficiently, periodically asking me if I was experiencing any pain, and checking to see if the stones were warm enough for my comfort. The massage lasted a good one and a half hour, and consisted of a full body and face massage.

When she had finished, the masseuse gave me instructions to avoid cold beverages, and not to shower until the next morning, as this may create an imbalance in the muscles. I appreciated her guidance, as not all masseuses offer this kind of after-service consultation.

Finally, I returned to the reception, and left soon after. I was not asked for any feedback. If I had been asked, I would have raved about the masseuse.

Overall, even though I was initially put off by the attitude at reception, the skills of the masseuse won me over. I highly recommend the Hot Stone Massage at Laylaty Beauty Salon to my friends and readers.

With so much to see and do, why label oneself as a specific professional? So believes Ms. Q; a nickname born from convenience, but stuck due to its uniqueness. Ms. Q is a lover of all things beautiful. She believes in learning and sharing her know-how with no reservations. Her aim is to enjoy each day to the fullest! She writes for her own entertainment, preferring not to restrict herself to any specific genre. So don't be surprised to read about beauty one day and food another, all in the pursuit of discovering unique spots and hidden treasures in Jeddah. We may even persuade her to disclose her favourite places to hang out. Ms. Q adores pizza, firmly  believes that blow-dried hair is the best solution to a bad day, and cannot resist buying BBW creams and dolls of all makes and sizes.


Open Mic Night - Jeddah Spring Vortex

A night of musical and poetry performances, camaraderie and Hejazi style bbq.

Jeddah Spring Vortex        "Open-Mic"

Jeddah Music Community (JMC) is helping to organize an open mic  night showcasing local Jeddah talents in an "unplugged" style  atmosphere. As always JMC is involved to encourage musicians and  non-musicians with a passion for music to connect, collaborate, socialize, and perform.

Some of the participating musicians will include:
Various Poets
The Accidental Artist
Breaking Boundries
Bassam Saad
Acoustic Minor
Moiz Rehman
Not From Georgia

All slots will filled before the night of the performance, if you would like to perform there are still time slots available.

Thursday 17th May, 2012

Registration and introduction - 8:30 pm

Open Mic starts - 9:00 pm

Hejazi-style BBQ Dinner served at intermission

Cost: SR 175 (JMC Members & CEC  Mailing list members);
             and SR 200 (Non-members of JMC)

If you would like to attend or perform please write to swestfal@notfromgeorgia.net for more details. We will send you an email with details for you about the event.

***Please be sure to indicate if you are a GUEST or a  PERFORMER, and which group you are affiliated with JMC or CEC to get a   discount. (Your email will be on the mailing list for either...)***