What I’ve been up to – February

"Orientalism" by Dana Awartani, one of the artworks on display at the “Moallaqat” exhibition.

“Orientalism” by Dana Awartani, one of the artworks on display at the “Moallaqat” exhibition.

We are almost leaving March behind us; Spring has officially started. Though most people around the world anxiously await the arrival of this season and the longer and sunny days accompanied by it, in Jeddah we are sad the temperature’s increasing, fearing the months ahead of us. A few days ago I woke up in the middle of the night realizing I hadn’t written my ‘What I’ve been up to’ blog post about February yet! I’ve been so busy this month – first with my parents visiting me here and then a trip to Sweden (about which I’ll write more in a subsequent post) – that I hardly had any time to write something. So let’s take a look back at the events in Jeddah I attended last month and the articles I wrote about them.

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“Holy-wood” by Musaed Al-Hulis and in the background “Food for Thought” by Maha Malluh on display at the “Moallaqat” group exhibition

We could easily call February the Month of Art in Jeddah. A new initiative, ‘21,39 Jeddah Arts’ launched its art program with two group exhibitions of Saudi artists. The two-month program is an effort by the recently-established Saudi Arts Council that aims at introducing art into more people’s lives. The introductory week coincided with the Jeddah Arts Week, which I totally missed because I was so busy with the former. In hindsight I think it would’ve been better if I divided my time over both art initiatives and not stick to one program. That being sad, I wrote several articles about the two group exhibitions, a symposium during which Tate Gallery of Modern Art Director Chris Dercon said that Jeddah is ‘among the three biggest art centers in the Middle East,’ and an opinion-style essay about Saudi art, in which I wrote that Saudi artists are in search of their roots.

Tate Gallery of Modern Art Director Chris Dercon speaks at the symposium.

Tate Gallery of Modern Art Director Chris Dercon speaks at the symposium.

The Dubai Art and Design Week also took place last week. Unfortunately, I could not attend that due to my trip to Sweden (about which soon more!), but I did write an article about the Design Week after meeting Fair Director Cyril Zammit.

As usual, I wrote several health articles. The most interesting? Perhaps the one in which I explain how you can make your direct environment a lot healthier in 10 easy steps. You see, many people worry about pollution from cars and buildings in the city, but few realize the indoor air quality is often worse than outside.

Nonetheless, the most important factor ultimately defining our health is not the air we breathe, the food we eat, or the amount of exercise we squeeze into our busy lives. It’s our happiness, so (if you aren’t yet) get happy for better health!

Remember the article on breastfeeding I wrote a few months ago? That got a second part, in which expatriate women in Jeddah said infant formula is not so much promoted, but they face many challenges to breastfeed in this country.

Abu Dhabi Capital Gate

Abu Dhabi Capital Gate

A few posts ago I also wrote about the weekend in Abu Dhabi Ahmed and I spent following the Dubai Marathon. The article I wrote about that weekend appeared on February 8 under the name “Sane & Serene – Abu Dhabi offers soothing experience.” (Note to self: ALWAYS choose your own titles!) Some more tourism articles appeared, one about the Atlantis, The Palm hotel in Dubai which is trying to woos tourists in the Kingdom and another on a dull SkyTeam press conference.

Latte Art at Casper & Gambini's

Latte Art at Casper & Gambini’s

A peak in the kitchen at Casper & Gambini's.

A peak in the kitchen at Casper & Gambini’s

Have I forgotten a thing? Yes, I have! Ahmed and I had a superb experience at Casper & Gambini’s, where I attempted to remain undercover while trying their food and service. Unfortunately, my big camera and notebook made it slightly hard to do so. So, although I am not sure how the service would have been had I not been so obviously a “journalist trying to do a restaurant review undercover” I do know that the food was fresh and mouthwatering, and their Latte Art to ask for more (and I usually don’t even like latte or any coffee involving milk!).

Italian designer Alessandra Serafini at the Abaya Fashion Days

Italian designer Alessandra Serafini at the Abaya Fashion Days

There were also the Abaya Fashion Days (which I attended because my friend Alessandra Serafini was one of the participating designers. Her abayas are amazing!);

The Chris Curton Band performing at the American Consulate

The Chris Curton Band performing at the American Consulate

Singer Chris Curton during the concert at the American Consulate

Singer Chris Curton during the concert at the American Consulate

A fun concert at the American Consulate (concerts here are scarce, so any opportunity to go to one should be grabbed immediately);

Fancy cars at the Aston Martin & Park Hyatt dinner to celebrate their cooperation

Fancy cars at the Aston Martin & Park Hyatt dinner to celebrate their cooperation

A dinner to celebrate the cooperation between Park Hyatt and Aston Martin;

Nespresso cocktail to celebrate the opening of their boutique at Red Sea Mall

Nespresso cocktail to celebrate the opening of their boutique at Red Sea Mall

And Nespresso opening its second boutique in Jeddah at Red Sea Mall (good for us to have one closer to our home!).

JRR Half and Full Marathon

JRR Half and Full Marathon

Last but definitely not least, my local running club Jeddah Road Runners organized its yearly marathon and half, this year for the first time at King Abdullah Economic City, some 80 kilometers north from Jeddah. I decided not to run myself, because it had been only one week since the Dubai Marathon, but went to help my fellow running buddies giving water and juice, take some pics, and write an article for the Saudi Gazette about it.

All in all an entertaining month!

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6 thoughts on “What I’ve been up to – February

  1. Safira says:

    Hi! I was looking for information regarding Alessandra Serafini’s abayas on the internet and stumbled on your blog. I may be relocating to Jeddah middle of next year so I’m doing some online ‘window shopping’ as it were. Would you be able to share contact details? Hope you can help, thanks!!! 🙂

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