What I’ve been up to – September

I don’t know about you, but I am pretty glad summer has come to an end. This may sound strange coming from a person who adores the sun and loathes cold weather, but even for me summer in Jeddah is a little too much, especially when it gets humid (bad hair month alert!) at the end of the summer. The other reason is that July and August are very slow here, with few events to write about, and that is not fun when you’re home and want to work. Luckily, September brought more activities for me to cover, and as a result I’ve been fairly productive this month. Read on to what I’ve been up to!

Travel

Vienna's Belvedere Palace

Vienna’s Belvedere Palace

It’s been a long summer without fun trips or travels for me, but this month my article on Vienna finally came out. This is easily one of my favorite European cities, as I love how elegant, clean, multicultural, and relaxed it is. I visited the capital of Austria twice, once with Ahmed while backpacking Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Vienna in 2008, and last year on another trip combined with work for Ahmed. The pictures are from this last trip.

Park in Vienna

Park in Vienna

Mozart monument

Mozart monument

Health & food

Chocolate Soufflé - Photo courtesy Park Hyatt Jeddah

Chocolate Soufflé – Photo courtesy of Park Hyatt Jeddah

I know what you’re thinking and you’re right: Chocolate soufflé is not the healthiest of foods. But we, at Saudi Gazette, decided to start a new series of articles on the weekly Wholesome Living page featuring mouthwatering dessert recipes revealed to us by the best chefs in town and with a healthy twist. If you’re curious what ‘healthy twist’ Park Hyatt Jeddah’s Pastry Chef Ibrahim gave to this delicious chocolate soufflé click here for the recipe.

Another ‘more or less’ healthy dessert was given to me by Monir Hossain, pastry chef at Rosewood Corniche Jeddah. He prepared me a delicious berry shooter and gave me several tips to make it guilt-free. Who doesn’t like berries at this time of year?

Fresh and tasty raspberries, blackberries and blueberries are combined with a velvet white chocolate mousse in this recipe.

Fresh and tasty raspberries, blackberries and blueberries are combined with a velvet white chocolate mousse in this recipe.

For those eager to kick off the new school year with real healthy meals I wrote another article on healthy back-to-school snacks, which, by the way, are also perfect for adults who want to bring their own food from home.

One article I was very excited about was something on health trends that are a waste of money. I think we all fall for them sometimes – well, I do, for sure! I used to think that coconut water was the sports drink par excellence and used to take my multivitamins daily. Now I know better…

My editor asked me to write an article about health stores in the Kingdom. Although I have written about Abazeer before – an amazing organic store whose owner I was lucky enough to interview two years ago – I thought it wouldn’t harm to highlight again some of the stores I love in this country. It wasn’t easy to complete the list, though. Saudi Arabia clearly lacks options when it comes to eating healthy. Check here what I came up with.

Rosewood Saturday Market lunch

Rosewood Saturday Market lunch

Last but certainly not least, Rosewood Corniche Jeddah also invited me to try out their new Saturday Market lunch. The hubby and I went together and were positively surprised by the variety of fresh foods – Mongolian, Italian, Chinese and South American – on offer. The lunch buffet is a fun way for families to spend their afternoon, as people choose their own ingredients and then have one of the chefs prepare the dish on the spot. The interaction is fun for both kids and adults. Read here my review.

Delicious desserts at Rosewood's Saturday Market lunch

Delicious desserts at Rosewood’s Saturday Market lunch

A collection of freshly baked breads at Rosewood's Saturday Market lunch

A collection of freshly baked breads at Rosewood’s Saturday Market lunch

Local news

US Consul General Todd Holmstrom and his wife Alexandra receive a warm welcome in Jeddah.

US Consul General Todd Holmstrom and his wife Alexandra receive a warm welcome in Jeddah.

Last month I already got the opportunity to meet the new US consul general in Jeddah, Todd Holmstrom, at his residence for an interview. This month the consulate officially welcomed him during a dinner reception, which I also attended and wrote about.

Something completely different: In September, the 33rd international agriculture, water, and agro-industry trade show took place in Riyadh. Grabbing any possibility to promote organic food in the country (or anywhere, for that matter), I called my contacts at the Organic Farming Project and arranged an interview with the general manager of the Department of Organic Agriculture, which is part of the Saudi Ministry of Agriculture. Luckily, the article became quite a hit.

Labor and Social Insurance Law in Saudi Arabia - photo credit Jochen Hundt

Labor and Social Insurance Law in Saudi Arabia – photo credit Jochen Hundt

In other news, a new book on Saudi labor law was launched this month and I met one of the writers for a brief talk. I think the book could be very useful for expatriates living here. Who wouldn’t want to know his rights when working or doing business abroad? Unfortunately, the book is in German, although they are thinking about translating it. Until the translation is out, at least the article contains some interesting facts.

Apps

Runkeeper - my favorite app to track my workouts

Runkeeper – my favorite app to track my workouts

Who would have thought I would ever become a tech geek?! Not that I consider myself one now, but I do regularly write about apps. And all apps I include in my articles are 1. free and 2. tested by me. This month, I wrote about the best apps to track your workouts and five fun & educational apps for the back-to-school season.

Misscellaneous

We’re getting towards the end of this post. Thanks for your patience if you are still reading!

Bill Clinton (left) and John Maino performing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (photo courtesy of Saudi Gazette)

Bill Clinton (left) and John Maino performing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (photo courtesy of Saudi Gazette)

Have you yet participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? For sure you have seen it at least on your Facebook wall. I, for my part, long thought about whether I should participate or not (if I was going to be asked, that is). At last, I decided I shouldn’t. Read here my concerns about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

And then there was the Saudi National Day on September 23. I already wrote about it in my previous post, but apart from that I worked hard on a few articles for our special supplement on that day. I did a long write-up on the country’s King Abdullah Scholarship Program and interviewed several students abroad about their experience.

One of the pages in the supplement was about Saudi citizens’ dreams for their country. Under the title “I have a dream”, I interviewed a male banker, female general practitioner, and male entrepreneur about their dreams and wishes for the Kingdom.

All in all, it was quite a fun month at work. Hopefully more interesting events, interviews, and perhaps trips are coming soon!

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One thought on “What I’ve been up to – September

  1. Ahmee says:

    Seems like your latest “what I have been up to” blogs are all about your articles! Not much going on in your life out of work?

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