What I’ve been up to – March

Months come and go… I’m not even gonna say how fast this last month passed, ’cause if February flew by March was a rocket. I wonder whether time would go slower if my months were not so packed. And March was especially full of travel. First I accompanied Ahmed on a trip to Sweden (about which I will write in my next blog – I promise!) and at the last day of the month I went on a media trip to London. Yes indeed, my “life as a rich girl” got a second part! (Or technically a fourth part, as part 1, 2 and 3 were all about my trip to Switzerland last September.)

Yummy feta cheese at Park Hyatt's Greek food festival

Yummy feta cheese at Park Hyatt’s Greek food festival

All types of olives at the Greek food festival

All types of olives at the Greek food festival

Culinary highlight of the month was the opening of the Greek Food Festival at Park Hyatt’s Nafoura Restaurant, which I attended with my parents. It was very nice they could attend it as well, to get a taste of how these kind of events look like.

Filipino children's choir "Serenata" performed a show of commitment, hope and charity.

Filipino children’s choir “Serenata” performed a show of commitment, hope and charity.

Serenata children's choir

Serenata children’s choir

Performance highlight of the month was Serenata, a musical show by a Filipino children’s choir that took place at the American International School in February, but got published on March 8. It is incredible how professional the Filipino community set up the show, and the children blew everyone’s mind with their jaw-dropping performance.

Park Hyatt's Nafoura Restaurant has a terrace overlooking the Red Sea and King Fahd Fountain.

Park Hyatt’s Nafoura Restaurant has a terrace overlooking the Red Sea and King Fahd Fountain.

I got the chance to do several interviews, such as the one with Park Hyatt’s new General Manager Ashwini Kumar, as well as a talk with a plastic and cosmetic surgeon from France. The latter, in particular, was fascinating. Me, strongly opposing any beautification procedures involving needles and/or knives, had no interest whatsoever to do an interview about skincare and cosmetic surgeries, but my manager opined differently. He told me to do it for the newspaper’s weekend edition Wholesome Living page and be critical, so I went and was amazed to hear the doctor’s side of the story. I hope the article reflects how interesting our conversation was. (Had I known the interview would open the fancy doors of a glamorous press trip to London I would have immediately agreed to conduct the interview. More about the press trip soon!)

Ballet intermission on Strauss' "The Blue Danube" during the Serenata concert.

Ballet intermission on Strauss’ “The Blue Danube” during the Serenata concert.

Other exciting interviews included one with the beautiful Saudi filmmaker and actress Ahd Kamel, which was conducted as part of the ‘21,39’ events by my colleague Roberta Fedele; an article about the booming Saudi tourism industry following an interview with the senior vice president global sales at Atlantis, Dubai; as well as an interview with an interior designer.

Signature Interior Design showroom

Signature Interior Design showroom

Signature Interior Design showroom

Signature Interior Design showroom

I also got a little bit healthier by learning about the importance of breathing and how to breathe correctly for a happier life, something a very nice and warm lady who lives here in Jeddah teaches company employees and other people interested. And I got concerned about vitamin D levels. That may sound strange, as it is sunny practically every day in Jeddah, but many people don’t go outside at all, or when they do they fully cover themselves. Knowing that too much is the number one cause of skin ageing, I was curious how much sunshine is enough and wrote this article about it.

Park Hyatt's idyllic garden

Park Hyatt’s idyllic garden

Another hot health issue this month were energy drinks. They made headlines when the Saudi government decided to “clip the wings” of energy drinks by restricting the sale, promotion and consumption of these caffeinated beverages. I was curious if energy drinks are really that harmful and wrote my findings in an article.

Lovely cakes at the Greek food festival

Lovely cakes at the Greek food festival

And then, of course, there were the more tedious events I “had” to cover for one reason or another: the Italian business delegation that came to Jeddah, Ghana’s Independence Day, Greece’s National Day (which turned out more interesting than expected), and the launch of a luxury hair care product.

Exhibition depicting Parisian life by Palestinian artist Ayman Yossri Daydban

Exhibition depicting Parisian life by Palestinian artist Ayman Yossri Daydban

The French celebrated a whole month of “Fête de la Francophonie,” which I mostly missed, but I did attend one chamber concert that was, in fact, pretty good. I was less impressed by another event organized at the French Consulate – a Palestinian artist depicting Parisian life during the French presidential elections. But hey, I’m a journalist and cannot just blend my opinion into the news article, my colleague and editor reminded me. He was right, of course, but sometimes I wish I could. Like my opinion concerning the “marathon” that is taking place tomorrow in Jeddah. Luckily, I have this blog for venting my sentiments.

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