Jeddah Blog

Discover the best of Jeddah!

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
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: An Interview with Layla of Blue Abbaya

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.

Read more…

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.

Read more…


The Ana Special Mall is holding an exhibition of stunning modern art glass creations by famous Glass Master Jean-Claude Navaro.

Read more…

Expat Blog

Jeddah Blog recently got in touch with Julien, Founder of Expat Blogwho 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.”

Read more…

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 Ms. Q. is no different. She recently purchased a deal for a Hot Stone Massage from Cobone; a website for introducing city-specific deals. The massage was offered by Laylaty Beauty Centre, located in the Khalidiyya District of Jeddah.

Read more…

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 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…)***

Childrens’ workshop at Athr

A children's workshop with Saddik Wasil, coming up at Athr. Learn how to make art from waste materials and scrap. Young engineers, carpenters, who've been itching to put a tool to good use, here's your chance. And as we said already, Saddik will click naturally with kids. He's a slightly overgrown kid himself.

Learn how to make art from discarded material with Artist Saddek Wasil.
Thursday, May 24, 2012

10.00 AM to 12.00 PM

For children between the ages 8 and 14

100 SR per child

To register please contact
+966 2 284 5009

RSVP as places are limited.
Please note that the workshop will be age appropriate and safe.

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

Opening of Saddek Wasil’s solo show at Athr

Solo show by young Saudi sculptor Saddik Wasil from Mecca opens tomorrow at the Athr Gallery.

There are numerous verses from the Koran which illustrate the wondrous diversity with which God has created mankind, be it in shape, size, colour, character, ability or talent.  The richness of this diversity is no more evident than at the holiest site of Mecca Almukkarrama.  Its historic location as a pilgrimage as well as a trade route destination saw millions of different peoples from all four corners of the globe flock to its gates every year, a phenomena that continues to this day.  Thus the scene is set for the life and work of the artist Saddek Wasil, who recognized this diversity as an endless stream of solid gold inspiration that would be the driving force of his work.  The artist considers his own talent, the ability to work with and manipulate metal, as his very own gift from God.

As with many artists, Saddek is influenced by his surroundings and the happenings of the world around him, with a particular focus on humans and human emotions.  The myriad of individuals that visit Mecca and the Ka’aba do so in order to commune with God as a way to deal with their problems and the changing, fast-paced environments they live in.
Wasil’s work The Mask investigates the role of the facades that people assume, as a form of protection, an armor against the world.  With time, these masks become a part of you. This fear of transparency leads us to eventually become lost, even to ourselves and we forget who we truly are.

Faces of Tin (Stop) is a re-exploration of ‘Wasil’s Faces of Tin’ series – a collection of discarded oil, paint and petrol tin cans lay side by side. They are flattened and carved out to reveal faces. There was once a time when interpersonal relationships and encounters with people were treasured and valued.  Now, everyone seems expendable and we discard people from our lives as easily as we would a tin can. The discarded faces of tin are a reminder to be accepting, to be patient and to pay attention, for each is special, unique and different..

The dallah is a symbol of Arabism and Arab hospitality and is a common feature in every household.  It evokes scenes of union and dialogue from bygone times.  The work Game of Dallahs is the artist’s redefinition of Chess, once dubbed the Game of Kings. In lieu of regular chess pieces, the artist uses dallah coffeepot covers, which ironically resemble medieval Muslim soldiers’ helmets. The game is a reference to the ongoing battle between tradition and modernity and the importance of the survival of the traditions that are key components of the Arab identity.
Saddek Wasil is a witness to the daily struggles of his fellow man as well as an observer of their innermost struggles at the moment when they are at their most vulnerable and transparent, in the house of God.  His work is in no way judgmental as he rejects the role of the judge; it is merely a recognition of diversity in all its shapes, forms and colours.  His work is about understanding, acceptance and tolerance and foremost, it is about the acknowledgement of seen and unseen realities…’And they will not cease to differ…’

Image Courtesy of Fahad Ayyad

Above text reprinted from Athr's invite and copyrighted to Athr Gallery

6th of May – 3rd of June, 2012

Opening Hours

Saturday – Thursday, 10am – 10pm

Exhibition at Roi’a art consultancy

Collection of art works by

Hussien Al-Mohasen

May 5th-9th  from 6-9 p.m.

Please RSVP to

or on

Lamees A. Bashawri

Ro'iya art consultancy Location: Ro'iya art studio, B04, business park, behind Jamjoom Mall, Jeddah

+966 5 5858 4994

Jeddah, K.S.A

The Entertainer KSA

A great deal is always irresistable, and we at Jeddah Blog are very excited to share our latest find with you. The Entertainer KSA has arrived. The amazing people there sent us a copy, and we can’t wait to share it with our readers!

What is The Entertainer?

The Entertainer is a coupon book which has just been launched in Saudi Arabia. They started out in Dubai in 2001 and now have 14 books in the GCC and Cyprus. The Entertainer provides buy one get one free vouchers at restaurants and other venues throughout Riyadh, Jeddah and the Eastern Province. The book aims to make eating out, family activities, beauty and travel more affordable.

The current book lasts until the end of 2012 and offers buy one get one free discounts at the most popular eateries and destinations in Saudi Arabia. In Jeddah, the book includes The Pizza Company, Vapiano, Maggiano’s, Burger King, Cinnabon, Helen’s Kitchen, Marble Slab, Fitness First, Gold’s Gym and a number of beauty salons as well as hostel accommodations across the Middle East and Asia. I even spied Paintball coupons at first glance. In total there are over 500 buy one get one free vouchers in the KSA book.

What does it cost?

The book costs SR 250, but with hundreds of buy one get one free coupons you can make the cost of the book back many times over! Furthermore, if you buy online you can get a 10% discount. How amazing is that?

Where can I get my hands on a copy?

The books are available at Jarir Bookstores and at the Virgin Megastore However, if you’d like an additional 10% discount, purchase your copy online here or visit their Facebook page for more information.

How can I get some coupons for free?

As deliciously tempting as these coupons are, as a token of our gratitude to you all for supporting our blog, we will be giving lots of them away. Our very first giveaway is a buy one get one free vouchers for Pasta Caldo in the Red Sea Mall, entitling the holder to one complimentary main course when a main course of equal or great value is purchased. We have 3 vouchers, and thus will pick 3 lucky winners! To win your coupon, simply leave a comment on this post describing our blog in 3 words. Don’t forget to leave your email address so we can get in touch.

Please note: if we can’t find a convenient way to get your free voucher to you, you may need to organize pick-up of your voucher at a fixed location in Jeddah.

Lastly, to avoid any disappointment we advise you to call the establishment before going in to claim your voucher.

Good luck !

Young Saudi Artists – Portrait of an event

For those tuned in to the promise of things, Young Saudi Artists measures some telling parameters in the nascent art landscape of Saudi Arabia.

In its second edition this year in February 2012, the Young Saudi Artists takes on a character of its own as an art event, emerging as a spirited amateur art expo. In the nascent art landscape of Saudi Arabia, this event serves two purposes – it diversifies the range by offering an alternative kind of art experience, casual and more democratized in mood, but in the long-term, it also harnesses an emerging loose end of creative output, which might wither for want of timely mentorship and encouragement. In the wider international art market, the Saudi art scene is, although phenomenal in its rise, still a fledgling one, grappling with the very real challenges of the art market – the realities and forces of demand and supply, and a constant guarantee of artistic produce. It is with an eye to the future that this platform was created to nurture this embryonic art life, rising to life swiftly although haphazardly.

Who are these young Saudi artists? With very few exceptions, these are mostly youngsters, falling in an age group of 16 to late twenties. They are college and university graduates, some majoring in design and some not, high-schoolers ‘on a break for self-discovery’, professional or amateur photographers, doodlers, bloggers, and part-time creatives who have pursued some form of creative activity for some time, related or unrelated to their professions but have only recently found the opportunity for a significant and irreversible visibility, both home and abroad. Activities and forums of expression, exhibitions, talent-hunts and competitions for amateurs have begun to emerge here only as early as a couple of years ago, as off-shoots of the larger umbrella of Edge of Arabia, and have caught on like wildfire since. These newly created opportunities are mostly the motors that spurred these youngsters towards performance and recognition. What the banner of these initiatives, among them Young Saudi Artists, offers them is an initial walk through the first stages of preparedness, so that those who have the grit can go on and prove their mettle in the many ways available to young artists in the region today. The work that YSA showcases is really an undefined loose end, still indistinct in form or prospect, but it is an end nonetheless, and wisdom calls for timely mentorship and nurture rather than skepticism and abandon.

Read more…

Papaya: A Tropical Breakfast Experience

Regular Jeddah Blog reader Amreen Najmi visited Papaya Restaurant and sent us her review. Amreen grew up and went to school in Jeddah, leaving to pursue her higher education from London and Pakistan. She obtained her Masters in English Literature and also studied Professional Photography and Film Making. These days, she is working as an English and Photography Instructor in the Millenium Institute for Technology and Management (MITM). She is also working on scripts for a play and a documentary.

Author and journalist John Gunther once said, "All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast". Thus, when one morning, two of my colleagues and I were having a particularly slow start to the day, we latched on to the notion of going out for breakfast. One of my friends suggested Papaya, and I not having heard of this eatery before, immediately opted to give it a try.

The restaurant was a beautiful place behind Sawary Mall adjacent to ‘Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’.  As soon as I set foot out of the car, I knew that no matter how the food tasted, I was sure to enjoy the atmosphere. As we passed through a narrow corridor to reach the gate of the restaurant, I could see beautiful plants and banana trees covering the walls. There was a small lounge with very artistic benches and lamps. As I entered the restaurant, I felt as if I were in a greenhouse, surrounded and filled with exotic plants and trees. The roof was made of glass and I am quite sure the effect would be enchanting on a rainy day.


The interior was spectacular with very comfortable chairs and lovely plants and waterfalls. The sound of the birds chirping made us feel as if we were seated in a tropical forest. Since we reached there at 9:30 in the morning, the restaurant was practically empty. But as time passed, people began to pour in; mostly ladies and students with their teachers.

Soon after, our waiter brought us the menus, and I was pleasantly surprised to see very reasonable prices. We ordered steak and eggs with hash browns, french toast, a cheddar cheese omelette, manaeesh and a chocolate mousse dome. For beverages, we ordered coffee, hot chocolate, and pacific paradise instead of coconut. I asked the waiter to add strawberries.

Our food was served within 15 minutes. The waiters were well-trained and very polite, and I was very pleased with my order. Extra bread and butter was served. Although the steak would have tasted better with some extra sauce but with a little sprinkle of salt and pepper it was delicious.  My co-workers were wearing a very satisfactory look on their faces, and everybody was delighted with their food.

The average cost of the breakfast was SR 35, or SR 65, depending on the order. Lunch or dinner, however, may cost up to SR 60 – 80.

I will definitely go there again, maybe for lunch or coffee. If you want to enjoy a lazy day or simply have fun with your family or friends do visit Papaya. I would really recommend going there during the day-time in order to truly appreciate the ambience.

If you would like to submit a review to be published on Jeddah Blog, email us at

Susie says: An Interview with Susie of Arabia

Jeddah Blog talks to Susie of Arabia about blogging, transitions, and the highs and lows of life in Saudi Arabia.

Prominent among the voices in the Saudi blogosphere are those of non-Saudi women married to Saudi men. As narratives of cultural experiences, this data is significant because the authors bring a natural ease of expression, documentary zest, outspokenness and an analytical bent of mind to bear upon their superset of experiences in Saudi Arabia. Being married to Saudis, they have a direct canal to the culture that they are tackling through the deep end – direct immersion. Where their clarity of observation, their willing embrace of a foreign culture, and the amusing contrasts between an Eastern and a Western culture meet, a thing of great value and beauty is created.

‘Susie’s big adventure’ was among the earliest blogs written by an expat. Along with Carol Fleming of the well-known American Bedu, Susan has revealed her true identity, and shared very real and personal details on the blog. From the fairy-tale romance that led to her marriage to a Saudi, to her reasons for the move to the Kingdom and perhaps, most courageously and significantly, an intimate account of the emotional journey that the move was, what it meant in terms of cultural learning, loss of personal freedom, the real frustrations and difficulties of adjusting to a second culture diametrically opposed to her native culture, and finally, the apprehensions as the mother of a teenager straddling two completely different cultures.

Read more…

Manna Hair Salon

Your hairdresser is almost your best friend. She sees you when you are not at your best, she hides your imperfections and highlights the positives. A good hairdresser knows your hair better than you do, and once you find ‘the one’ you won’t want to experiment with any others. There are a few great hair salons in Jeddah, and Manna Center in Rawdah is considered to be one of them. Our mystery shopper visits the salon and reports back on her experience.

After visiting the Manna Hairdressing Salon last year, and coming away with such a great haircut, I was determined to go back again this week. I knew I would be well taken care of, but what I wasn’t prepared for was the amazing new salon they have constructed and I was blown away by the sheer professionalism and outstanding customer service being given in Manna.

Not only was I lucky to find Nawal, the same lady who expertly cut my hair last time (and did an amazing job yet again), but from the first moment I walked into the salon I began to feel pampered and relaxed. Once you check in at reception, your abaaya is taken and you are handed a white coat to wear on top of your regular clothes. You then walk past glass trickling water giving a wonderful cooling effect in this hot weather, and pass by the most interesting innovation I’ve seen recently – a cafe within the salon! It makes absolute perfect sense and I wonder why I haven’t seen anything like it before. A trip to the salon usually requires a certain period of waiting, and what a perfect way to fill the time, than with coffee, cupcakes, croissants or sandwiches. Even better if you’re spending time there with friends. It’s also quite common here to be waiting for a family member or a driver to collect you from the salon, but this time was not difficult to pass in their lovely environment.

So after waiting for the colour to sink in, you are taken to the sink to have your hair washed – pretty normal, right? Well, not in this salon ! You take a seat next to the sink and instead of having to awkwardly tip your head back to be washed, the seat lifts you up and back so that you are pretty much horizontal and very comfortable. The icing on the cake is that the chair you are sitting in is a massage chair. So all the while the ladies are checking the colour, giving it 5 minutes more, shampooing your hair you are receiving this spectacular massage from lower to upper back. Just when you think it can’t get any better, the shampoo lady gives you the most relaxing scalp massage with hair conditioner washing away any tiredness or tension from your day.

It goes without saying that Nawal gave me a clean and efficient cut in no time. After paying the cashier, your receipt and white coat is exchanged with the abaaya lady, who returns your abaaya, leaving you free to head home after a most relaxing and pampered evening.

Manna is situation on Aba Al Khail Street in Rawdah District. Travelling West on Rawdah St. turn right after the Danube, take a u-turn and then a second-right turning. Expect to pay around SR150 for a haircut, SR300-400 on highlights. Complete beauty treatments available eg manicures, pedicures, facials, massages, party and bridal makeup.

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