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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Weddings in Saudi Arabia: Jeddah

Who doesn’t love weddings?  It’s always nice to be part of the celebration of starting a new life together.  But for me, weddings are about more than that, especially since college when I first started to learn more about Arab culture.  I always wanted to go to weddings to see how different countries and cultures celebrated this life changing event.  I saw Palestinian weddings, Senegalese, Moroccoan-Iraqi and Iraqi weddings.  Each one had its on uniqueness.  And Saudi Arabia is no exception.

In all honesty, I’m not even sure where to begin.  I love and hate Saudi weddings, lol.  I hate the fact that they go so late though I’ve been told that in some areas of the country they don’t last that long.  I was most recently at a wedding that was supposed to begin at 10pm. Apparently in this part of the world, the time is a target time.  No one is ever on time.  If you say 10, it means at least 11, at least.  Unfortunately for me, I was already sleepy at 9.  But, it was important for me to go.  First, the bride was one of my best friends’ daughter and second I had never seen a wedding in Jeddah before.  I had seen Medinah and kind of Yanbu.  I was sick of what I had seen in Medinah so I was hoping to see something different.  Sadly, many things are in fact the same, for example the dresses and makeup.

Clothes and Makeup

When you walk into these weddings, you will see everything and I have a name for them all.  There’s the skanky dress, the gaudy, the elegant, the “eh” and the OMG.  You will see it all.  It should be a crime for some people to wear what they do.  Please think long and hard before showing yourselves in public, ladies.  I saw Punky Brewster style getups as well as the, “Who let you out the house like that?” While I saw much that entertained me, there was one dress that really stood out to me.  The lady reminded me of Little Bo Peep. You heard me, Little Bo Peep.  It was ghastly yet she was so proud.  And of course my friends and I  were the first ones to notice.  I heard my friends saying, “Wow!”  And all I kept thinking was, “Sorry, Little Bo Peep, we haven’t seen your sheep.  Now get back on your rightful page in that nursery rhyme book and we’ll call it a day.” What was she thinking?  I realize we all have different tastes, but come on!  Her dress wasn’t the only offensive thing I saw, but it was definitely the biggest offense.  I still have nightmares about it.  Then there’s the makeup.  What can I say about makeup?  Perhaps I shouldn’t talk about it since I’m not a fan of makeup.  I use light, very light makeup.  I don’t like putting gunk on my face.  Some women had on about 10 layers of crap which was then painted with various colors of the rainbow.  It’s not clown school.  I don’t know who told them that more makeup means more beautiful.  Less is more.  Not everyone opts for clown makeup, but many do.  I keep trying my best not to be so judgmental, but I simply can’t help it when I see it.  Often they were more attractive before the remanufacturing of their faces.

Entertainment

One of the things that can make or break the wedding is the entertainment.  If I didn’t mention it before, we westerners were on time.  We were there by 10pm.  Silly foreigners, lol.  Anyway, the “singers” didn’t begin until about midnight.  What was funny was that they performed one song and took a break.  The song sucked and then they had the nerve to take a break.  Really?!  Were they so exhausted that they needed a coffee break?  I didn’t even like the looks on their faces.  They seemed to have attitudes, bad ones.  They couldn’t keep people on the floor.  Lots of times people were dancing and they actually looked bored.  My buddies and I laughed at the scene we saw.  Interestingly enough, they got better later that night.  Unfortunately, many of us were half asleep.  I didn’t get back to my hotel until 5:30am.  I was awake with the roosters.  In fact, I could have done the cockadoodle doodling.  Who knows?  Maybe I did.

The last thing that I have to say about the weddings here is that I personally find them to be excessive.  I suppose it’s okay if you’re filthy rich, but contrary to popular belief, not all Saudis are wealthy and they don’t each have their own personal oil wells on their property.  Often people have to break the bank, maybe incurring debt, to pay for their extravagant weddings.  Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy seeing the wedding halls nicely decorated and the like, but I still believe it’s too much.  My advice to everyone is to consider toning it down a bit.  A grand wedding does not guarantee a grand, happy life.

I know that what I said might piss some people off and at the same time I know there are plenty of people who agree.  Feel free to comment, yell, scream or otherwise :).

Anyway, one wedding down, a gazillion to go.  Next up, a wedding in Yanbu.

 

 

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Turkey: Day, Um I don’t really know. (Antalya)

I went to plenty of places in between and I’ll share the pics later, but I couldn’t help but remember my first tour in Antalya, a beautiful area of Turkey I hadn’t heard out before this trip.  It was nice to

I got up early on a, uh, morning to make sure I didn’t miss the tour bus.  It was “cool” out and felt great.  The bus arrived and I got on.  This group was smaller and I still didn’t have to share a seat which was nice.  Our very “pleasant” guide got on and we were off.  I had no idea where we were going I just hoped it would be nice.  Turned out that we were headed to a region of Antalya, the Kekova Islands, which was 3 hours away.  The distance wasn’t that great but a good part of the route was through a mountainous area filled with winding roads.

Anywho, the guide walked through the bus speaking to everyone.  And when he got close enough to me he said good morning.  I’m telling you that man must have had some bourbon for breakfast.  Well, I don’t know that it was bourbon but it was definitely alcohol.  I thought to myself, “Oh great! Our guide is drunk already.  This should be interesting.”  He stood there at the front of the bus asking people where they were from and that’s when the silliness began.  I know that on the surface I don’t look “American” per se but when I talk, you would know that I couldn’t be anything else.  Anywho, he asked where I was from.  I said, sounding like a typical Ohioan, “America.”  He asked, “Saudi Arabia?”  Whatever, man.  Even though other people repeated that I was from America, he apparently didn’t get it.

Twenty thousand hours later we reached the Kekova Islands.  What can I say about this place?  Lovely!  And that’s an understatement.  I tried to choose one of my best shots to post.  As if I’m a photographer, lol.

I was really liking the view.  It was so peaceful and serene.  And to think I was planning to cancel this part of my trip because I was so tired from everything, the walking and climbing.  Anywho, the tour guide, still in a drunken stupor apparently, asked me again where I was from.  So I decided to go with something else.  I said, “The US.”  His response, “Tunis?”  Are you freaking kidding me?  He just didn’t want to accept that I was American I

lotspart2 181guess.  But I did get a laugh out of it.  To add to the humor, someone else asked me where I was from.  I thought, “Here I go again.”  The lady’s son told her that I was from Ohio.  So, she asked me about my parents.  I told her that my mom was from Michigan and that my dad was from Ohio.  And she decided to dig deeper.  Her son said that she kept saying, “Something’s not adding up.”  How far did she want me to go back?  My ancestors include Africans, American Indians, English and more recently I discovered also Turkey.  Finally, when I said that I was the only one in my family that looked like this, she was able to accept it.  Darn foreigners!

As part of our trip that day, the boat stopped and we were told we could take a swim for 30 minutes.  “Do you wanna go for a swim?”  Oh, silly tour guide!  I chuckled and said no.  He asked, “Oh, you’re not prepared?”  Again I chuckled and said no.  Picture it, I’m covered from head to toe.  Did he really think I planned of drowning myself as I tried to maneuver myself in the water the way I was dressed?  I must admit, it was tempting though.  Here’s where we stopped to swim, lol.  I can’t help but laugh when I think about it.

lotspart2 170

Since I wasn’t “prepared” to swim, I did what I had been doing all day.  I took pictures.  I also started thinking that I would definitely like to return to Turkey, this area in particular.  Prior to my trip I had never heard of Antalya and when I added the stop to my itinerary I no idea what I would see.

I’m glad I went and I highly recommend it to you.  I was there in October which was nice.  The temperature hovered right around 75 F.  Don’t ask me about C temperatures because I have no idea.

Antalya!  I loved it.

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2012 in Getting away, Uncategorized

 

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