What I’ve been up to – July

While July was a relatively quiet month due to Ramadan and the summer holidays, I managed to have 15 articles published in the Saudi Gazette. Most events I covered this month concerned art exhibitions and other cultural events. I also wrote several health features. In addition, the three articles about my trip to Singapore came out, in addition to another travel article to a very special place.

Art & Culture

Painting from the exhibition "The Language of Human Consciousness"

Painting from the exhibition “The Language of Human Consciousness”

One of the largest events this month was the opening on July 10 of the mega exhibition “The Language of Human Consciousness” at Athr Gallery about geometry. The inauguration included a panel discussion led by Tate Modern Director Chris Dercon. Unfortunately, the talk was not very entertaining, as it was rather technical and abstract; the exhibition itself is all the more interesting, with works from over 20 galleries around the world. Read the article here.

Germans and Saudis celebrate Germany's victory of the World Cup.

Germans and Saudis celebrate Germany’s victory of the World Cup.

Another major event was, of course, the World Cup final matches, and though I was sorry Holland didn’t make it to the final I was happy to support our neighbor Germany for once. The consulate was pretty packed and the atmosphere tensed, until the Germans, nearly at the end of the extra time, saved their country’s pride and reputation. This picture was published in the Saudi Gazette a few days later.

France Consulate celebrating its national day

France Consulate celebrating its national day

World Cup champion or not, the French had their own celebration the day after, when the consulate observed “Le Quatorze Juillet” or July 14 National Day. It was a pretty plane event without any surprises, but there were some interesting remarks in the speech (in Arabic) by the French consul general.

Woman selling traditional foods in Al-Balad

Woman selling traditional foods in Al-Balad

Together with my family-in-law, I also visited Jeddah’s Old Town, which held a festival on the occasion of Ramadan. We were all amazed by how Al-Balad (the old town) had been changed. The municipality has truly done a great job reviving this area, and we all hope it will continue its efforts. I interviewed my husband’s stepfather and mother-in-law for the article, which came out on the newspaper’s front page!

Exhibition on Saudi Arabia in Singapore

Exhibition on Saudi Arabia in Singapore

The festival in Al-Balad is not the only thing the Saudi authorities are doing to revive their culture and heritage; when I was in Singapore nearly two months ago I came across an exhibition on “The Kingdom” (as Saudis themselves refer to their country) organized by the Saudi Embassy there. I thought it would be nice to write about it.

Lastly, I wrote something on the iRead competition organized by Saudi Aramco, which aims to promote reading in this country. The sad truth is that almost no one here reads novels.

Food

"Straits Kitchen," a halal restaurant at Grand Hyatt Singapore

“Straits Kitchen,” a halal restaurant at Grand Hyatt Singapore

Food-wise, July was a quiet month as well. For some reason, I don’t really like dining out during Ramadan. In the evening, when breaking the fast, I like to keep things light on my stomach (and most restaurants charge you for an exorbitant buffet), and in the morning I am careful not to eat things that make me thirsty. However, I did write an article on the halal dining scene in Singapore, as the press trip I attended focused on that. And I must say, for a country with only a Muslim majority it does have a large variety of halal venues. (I didn’t try any of the meat though.)

Travel

Singapore's infinity pool on top of Marina Bay Sands

Singapore’s infinity pool on top of Marina Bay Sands

On this blog I already wrote about my trip to Singapore in June. However, my most important article on this press trip for our travel page came out on July 5. I decided to focus on Singapore as an ideal destination for Saudi families.

The Great Mosque of Córdoba, Spain

The Great Mosque of Córdoba, Spain

Although I didn’t travel in July, I did also write an article about the Great Mosque of Córdoba in Southern Spain, which I visited with hubby in April. This mosque holds a very special place in my heart, and if you haven’t been there yet you should schedule your next trip! I will hopefully soon write more about the great trip we did in April and May this year.

Health & Green Living

Sambousa - a favorite during Ramadan in Saudi Arabia

Sambousa – a favorite during Ramadan in Saudi Arabia

For our Wholesome Living page, which comes out every Saturday, I focused this month on Ramadan-related health issues. My first article was on how to get healthy and fit during Ramadan. (Note: fried sambousas, as seen in the picture above, do NOT fit in a healthful Ramadan diet!)

Something that really bothers me to see here is the amount of food wasted throughout the year, but especially in Ramadan. I wrote about this issue before in the Arab News, but after reading that Saudis on average throw away an appalling 35 to 40 percent of cooked rice I knew I had to write about this again.

The last health story this month was about a topic relevant all year long: the fat vs. sugar debate. I have been noticing that lately, nutritionists (whether professionals or semi-professionals) seem to blame the obesity epidemic on the amount of sugar we eat. Low-fat is so 1990s, you could say. I was very curious what scientific studies say about this and came across a very interesting BBC video, which I used for an article on this topic.

Miscellaneous

Signature Interiors' new showroom

Signature Interiors’ new showroom

To conclude this post, I wrote several miscellaneous articles, such as this one about the opening of a new showroom. I just love their designs as well as the furniture and art they get from India, Turkey, and the Middle East. I would definitely furnish my house with their stuff if I had the money!

I also got in touch with someone who created a website to check how much salary you should get. I doubt its accuracy, because I got a ridiculously high amount – more than 2.5 times as much as I currently earn! Nevertheless did I write about the website, as I do support the idea.

U.S. Consul General Anne Casper during her farewell speech

U.S. Consul General Anne Casper during her farewell speech

A last event I attended was an iftar (breaking of the fast) on the second day of Ramadan organized by the U.S. Consulate. While this is a yearly event, this time it was combined with the farewell of the U.S. Consul General Anne Casper. Read the article here.

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