Arts & Music, News, Offbeat, Online Magazine

The Winning Shot

Photo by Saleh Al Hadhlul

Immortalizing life’s precious moments.


Lionel Messi captured smiling during the Argentine vs. Brazil match held in Riyadh as part of the Riyadh Season.

Success is the achievement of a desired result – it can be experienced through many ways and forms. The ecstatic wave of emotions that can all generally fall under happiness is a moment we all wish to grasp for a long time, luckily, the art of photography has given us the opportunity to make this possible. Here are a few photographers that has successfully framed success through their work.

Saleh Al Hadhlul started off documenting trips with friends and family. As an architect, Saleh’s interest in photography revolves around the unusual approach in photographing everyday things but in a more interesting and intriguing angle as well as old structures and iconic buildings that our eyes have gotten used to looking at. Most of his photography work is within the world of architecture.

According to him, no matter how many times you plan to take a certain photograph, the result may differ from how you envisioned it to be, but that is all part of the process and as long as it serves the purpose of a great photograph, “…it should leave them speechless, if a photograph captivates you to the point of being overwhelmed then I have successfully delivered. Photographs for me are like poems without letters, my pen is my camera and my inspiration is the surroundings.”

Instagram: sale7des

Photo by Helmy Al Sagaff

Photo by Helmy Al Sagaff

A child’s joy captured while running in puddles of rain after months of summer heat.

Helmy H. Al Sagaff is one of the pioneering photographers when digital format was introduced in Saudi Arabia. He always has been a curious soul, observing the world and life around him at a young age, appreciating the lines, the symmetry and inspiring imagery that his eyes rendered. His love for photography stems from the same curiosity, observation and the passion to document everyday things that piqued his interests.

“I love the challenge that comes with the process. Photography is like an extension to my memory, one of the things I love about it is the nostalgic purpose it serves.” The idea of having the ability to document or encapsulate a moment in time and immortalize it through photographs drives Helmy to store archives of material he had shot in both film and digital formats since 1999 to today.

As a professional photographer, his portfolio is diverse in terms of content but the element he tries to keep consistent in each picture is preserving the reality surrounding his subject at the moment the photo was taken. “How and what the photograph you take makes you feel is an important part of taking a great photograph, the other part is if you manage to evoke your audience to feel the same way you do about your photograph.”

Instagram:  helmy_alsagaff

Photo by Omar Al Nahdi

Photo by Omar Al Nahdi

At a traditional wedding in the Najd area.

Omar Al Nahdi is the Brand Ambassador for Fujifilm Saudi Arabia and the chairman of the photography committee of the Society of Culture and Arts in Jeddah. He was born to a family that owned a business selling cameras. Naturally, he developed a liking for the artform, but the interest in photography peaked when he finally got his first professional camera in 2006. Then, a desire to capture the heritage behind historical Jeddah was evoked.
Omar loves to take photographs of a city’s landscape, the life in the streets and people’s facial expressions. To him, the artform is his most effective way of expressing how he feels inside. A perfect picture for him is “to capture a subject that tells the story of a person or a social issue, to showcase that photograph in hopes that it could touch people’s emotions and lives.”

A recipient of the Saudi Colors Award in Cultural Heritage, Omar has a collection of photographs documenting the recent positive changes and developments in women’s lives in Saudi Arabia. His instagram account contains posts depicting the country’s progress. To him, this is one form of capturing “success.”

“I love the challenge that comes along with the process. Photography is like an extension to my memory…”

Instagram: @nahdiomar

Photo by Abdulrahman Aldgelbi

Photo by Abdulrahman Aldgelbi

The Hijazi art of Ta’sheer.

Abdulrahman Aldgelbi’s mostly known for his regional photography exhibitions, but his love for the medium started off with the simple fact that he lives in one of Saudi Arabia’s most photogenic cities, Taif, a place locally known to have an abundance of roses. Ten years later, Abdulrahman has honed his skills enough to know what makes a photograph great, “I love photos that touch your heart, mind and affects your emotions. However, a picture taken for no particular purpose means nothing.”

He understands the many challenges that a photographer needs to overcome to walk away with the desired outcome. To him, there are many ways to capture success with a single click, but a different way of photographing one of the truest forms of success is through  capturing special moments like when a person realizes a dream, or the overcoming of a challenge after a number of repeated failures and most importantly, self-discovery. Abdulrahman believes that every photographer has the ability to capture these through their own lens and style.

Instagram: @aldgelbi

Read More...

Online Magazine, Travel Stories, Travel Trends

The Sights & Sounds of KL

mo_1-copy

Explore the city with Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur.


I can think of no better place than Malaysia when I feel like immersing myself in a fusion of not two but three different cultures – Malay, Indian, and Chinese – which is the makeup of the country’s population. For the summer holidays, some Saudi friends and I packed our bags and made the 9-hour flight to the Southeast Asian country, and luckily for us, Mandarin Oriental (MO) Kuala Lumpur hosted our stay, ensuring we had the full Malaysian experience at the luxurious hotel.

Nestled at the very heart of Kuala Lumpur, next to the iconic Petronas Twin Towers and the refreshing greenery of the Kuala Lumpur City Centre Park located right in the middle of the concrete jungle, the 5-star Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur is, not surprisingly, a popular choice for Saudi tourists. The vibrant Little India and historic Chinatown are both a short ride away, and Suria KLCC Mall is just a few steps from the hotel, making shopping a truly pleasant experience – nobody likes worrying about the trip back after a shopping spree while on holiday!mo_3-copy

The rooms are not only a reflection of elegance, comfort, and style inspired by traditional Malaysian motifs, they also offer a spectacular view of the city. We enjoyed a spot of mind-body-soul rejuvenation at the infinity swimming pool overlooking the city skyline, which is also on the same floor of the hotel’s premium gym and indoor sports facilities, along with two outdoor tennis courts.

We also enjoyed access to the Club Floor, which houses the MO Club, an exclusive private club that is also Kuala Lumpur’s largest club lounge. Members of the MO Club and special hotel guests can enjoy breathtaking views of the city while having breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and cocktail hour, all at the Club Floor’s exclusive and lavish area.

The highlight of our stay of course had to do with food. Apart from the wide array of delicious Malaysian fare side-by-side cuisines from around the world that the hotel serves for breakfast, we were invited to fine-dine at the Mandarin Grill. The beautifully designed restaurant is headed by Chef de Cuisine Luigi Stinga, who has recently joined MO Kuala Lumpur from his stint at MO Milan’s 2-Michelin-starred restaurant Seta. Chef Luigi served us premium, authentic Italian cuisine with a modern approach, the restaurant’s signature offerings that make hotel guests and Malaysian locals keep coming back for more.

If you’re thinking of your next holiday destination, we think you should consider Malaysia, and if you do, Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur is the perfect host.

Email: mokul-reservations@mohg.com
Tel: +60-323808888
Web: mandarinoriental.com/kuala-lumpur/petronas-towers/luxury-hotel
Instagram: mo_kualalumpur

Read More...

Online Magazine, Story, Style & Shopping

Room Full Of Pockets

shutterstock_575121973-copy

Minimizing your belongings.


Many people have joined the community that owns less. It’s a way of life, stripping us down to what is essential, what adds value to our day-to-day, and how we can live a simple but rich life. The emphasis is on keeping only what you need, and not to go too cheap, although cost-efficiency is also important.


Some ideas on how to pursue a minimalist home life:

Make sure your furniture is multi-purpose.
The most important thing to keep in mind when browsing for furniture is: purpose. Furniture that are intentionally carved for functionality, practicality and efficiency.

Declutter.
If you haven’t used, seen or thought about it for the past 6 months, you don’t need it or want it enough. Minimalism is not just about keeping your furniture limited, it’s also about only keeping only what adds value to your life.

Strategize.
Strategically placing furniture and other items next to each other in a way that’s easy to navigate around your home results in tidiness and a generally more pleasant environment.

Recycle or reuse.
Check places like Mawakeb Al Ajer or Souk Al Haraj to bargain hunt for used or slightly used furniture, and even items with minor factory defects sold at low prices.

Have it built!
If you’re feeling creative and inspired, or have an idea to create a multi-purpose furniture item, have it built through local companies that do custom work.

Visit places like IKEA or HOMEBOX for furniture built with minimalism in mind. Here are some of our favorites:

IKEA’s SUNNERSTA
A compact kitchen inspired by travelers and people on a budget, it is built with small hooks to hang mugs, attachable cups for silverware and a simple, and a sink with a space underneath for storing dishwashing liquids and essentials.

IKEA STUVA/FRITIDS
A loft bed and a study table with drawers underneath.

HOMEBOX COUCH
A couch that doubles as a bed like is not entirely a must but it’s always nice to have multi-purpose furniture.

Read More...

Business, Business Talks, Interview, Travel Tips, Travel Trends

The Traveler’s Way

7t1a8560-copy

Make a living while living life.


For many, traveling is a luxury, a reward for maintaining our spot on the grid of daily life. We dream of the freedom that comes with being a wanderer, exploring the vast, breathing air from a different part of the world, and experiencing a variety of cultures. It remains a daydream for some of us, but for these people, it is as real as it gets.

Sourced photo Madinah Region: Taken while exploring ruins of Ottoman train railway

Sourced photo
Madinah Region: Taken while exploring ruins of Ottoman train railway

Moath Alofi

Moath is currently the Head of Cultural Programs at the Madinah Development Authority, a position he was offered after years of traveling and exploring the city. While most of us define traveling as a break from our daily routine, he has made it his job. “I’m always on the road, exploring different places in Saudi Arabia. My work requires me to travel.”

Sourced photo Madinah Region: Taken while climbing one of Hejaz’s high summits

Sourced photo
Madinah Region: Taken while climbing one of Hejaz’s high summits

Moath makes a living out of his artwork and exploration of uncharted areas in the region of Madinah. “It is a bit hard, but there are ways of earning money. I take photographs and make films that I sell. Sometimes I take a group of people to a destination and get paid for it,” he
explains. But more importantly for him, “There is a thrill in being behind the wheel, on  the road and reaching destinations, an excitement and a treat for the eyes.”

Moath roams the deserts near Madinah city, exploring and patiently working on his next discovery.

Instagram: moathalofi

Vardzia, Georgia: Taken while hiking caves in Vardzia Sourced photo

Vardzia, Georgia: Taken while hiking caves in Vardzia
Sourced photo

Sara Al Zahrani

Budget-traveler and programmer Sara decided to quit her full-time job two years ago and make a living while staying in different countries. “I wanted to travel everywhere like Dania Khatib (Al-Qafilah). The concept of vacations never existed for me.” Working as a freelancer and adjusting to a new, less stable income was scary for her, but her desire to travel remained.

“Realizing that I was free to work remotely gave me the idea to travel while working. I just needed a ticket and a visa, so I sorted those out, packed my bags, and traveled.” Sara took on part-time jobs in different countries to cover some of her expenses, including working as an Arabic teacher for children with learning disabilities, a part-time hostel manager, and an employee at a café where she learned how to bake. She earned cash and accommodation in exchange for her work. As a Saudi woman, the most frequent question she’s asked is whether it’s safe for her to travel. “Is anything really safe? We take risks every day, whatever we do, so we might as well take a risk in living our lives.”

Webplaytravelcode.com

Al-Baha: Taken while hiking Aqabah humigah trail Sourced photo

Al-Baha: Taken while hiking Aqabah humigah trail
Sourced photo

Njood Fahad

A great example of a person not waiting for retirement age to decide for her, Njood was a doctor before she decided to pursue the unconventional lifestyle of a traveler.“Leaving my comfort zone, the false sense of security my stable job provided for me in exchange for who I’ll become as a full-time traveler was probably one of the biggest challenges I had to struggle with,” she shares. Now, she is often asked to coordinate, plan, and arrange trips for companies, and when she isn’t doing that, she organizes her own travels where people can sign up to join her.

She is also commissioned to hold talks and workshops in universities about the lifestyle, consulting students on the proper ways of traveling. “I really think it’s a way of life – the thought of meeting people, learning about different cultures and customs keeps me in traveling mode all the time. Living out of a suitcase, moving, the continuous learning process is what I love the most about it.”

Instagram: saudi_wanderlust

dsc04119-copyNada Al Nahdi

Minimalism is the common denominator of most frequent travelers – the idea that we all actually could get by with just the basic necessities. Nada used to be interested in certain luxuries and extravagances but now opts for a simple living after spending most of her time traveling. She goes on all-expense paid trips in exchange for promoting businesses, both as a hobby and as a job. When asked about her traveling style, Nada says she prefers couch surfing, as it gives her the opportunity to connect with people on a deeper level. “Traveling helps me understand and develop myself. All the different situations that I find myself in while I’m out there broadened my perspective and helped me realize some of my capabilities, strengths that I never knew I had.”

Currently, Nada runs Qairawan, a traveling community that aims to encourage more people to travel in Saudi Arabia. “We’re all going to get older, time runs out in a blink of an eye and eventually, we won’t have the energy for the things we want to do. So if you want to, just go for it.”

Instagram: nadaalnahdi

Perhaps it’s the lack of financial security, the exposure to discomfort, and even irrational fears that hold the rest of us back, but these travelers find opportunities in all of them. When asked if being a nomad scares them, they reply: “Being in one place most of the time, doesn’t that scare you?” It makes one sit back and reflect in search for an answer to a very profound question.

Read More...

Offbeat, Online Magazine

Riding in the Kingdom

img_3883-edited

Gear up. Riding season is here.


The deep rumble coming from exhaust pipes, the thump of the engines, wrapped in leather or shoulder-padded jackets, patched vests, gloves, helmets and protective boots, the motorcycle riders are definitely going to be parading the streets of Jeddah more often than the past months, turning heads and allowing their machines to establish a lifestyle that is considered a minority.

Today, motorcycles aren’t just less expensive and a more convenient means of transportation. It has evolved into a symbol of freedom, an expression of individuality and another way of making trips more exciting.

It might come as a surprise to some, especially those who aren’t aware of the sub-culture, but Saudi Arabia actually has its own community of Motorcycle Enthusiasts.img_3704

Depending on your style preference, like sport bikes, cruisers, all-terrain adventure bikes or motocross, it’s easy to find like-minded groups that welcome you into their tight-knit, family-oriented circle.

According to Sarry Shabban, one of Saudi’s veteran riders, there are plenty of upcoming events and activities since the community has been growing in recent times. Shabban has ridden all over Saudi Arabia’s roads, constantly travelling cross-country on his motorcycle. In his own words, “I ride because it’s my way of meditating, whenever I’m wearing my gear, feeling the wind against my face and twisting the throttle on the open roads, it’s like complete tranquility. I highly recommend everyone to give it a try.”img_3617

Local dealerships offer training courses for first-time riders to further enhance riding skills and minimize the possibilities of accidents. They also have the means to guide you into participating at a more complex and advanced Riding Course such as the MotoGym Khana and the TopGun.

Community events and social gatherings are organized every now and then for all bikers of different backgrounds to get together. Earlier this year, the 1st Jeddah Bike Week was launched in King Abdullah Economic City where motorcyclists were given the chance to perform their stunts and showcase their skills, and families were able to enjoy games, garage sales and bike shows._arl0886

The Kingdom offers wide roads in between deserts, curvy back roads of mountains and a lot of dry land waiting to be experienced by two-wheelers. Being on a bike is a different experience, like bikers always say: If I have to explain it to you, you just won’t understand.

So if you’re tired of spending your days caged in your vehicle, cooped up in the office or simply bored of the daily hustle and bustle, do yourself a favor and get away on a motorcycle for a mini-vacation. You might find yourself looking forward to the weekend for adventurous rides across the country or in your city._arl0611

TOP 5 RECOMMENDED TRIPS

for Café-hopping on a Motorcycle (Inside Jeddah)

  1. Mcdonald’s, North Obhour
  2. Mobile Kiosk, South Obhour
  3. Starbucks Atallah Center, Corniche
  4. Starbucks Sary Gate, Sary St.
  5. Well Done Burgers, Prince Sultan St.

_arl0493TOP 5 RECOMMENDED TRIPS

to take on a Motorcycle (Outside Jeddah)

  1. Abha
  2. Taif
  3. Barzah Village
  4. Al-Ula City
  5. Al-Qattan

_arl0459TOP 5 TIPS

for Beginner Riders

  1. Wear proper Gear (Helmets, Jackets, Boots and Gloves)
  2. Don’t go cheap on Gear (Especially Helmets!)
  3. Stay calm & vigilant on the roads
  4. Never become over- confident on the road
  5. Always pack water and sun block!

If you wish to get into Motorcycling but don’t know how to ride yet, contact your preferred Motorcycle dealership for assistance or Saudi Arabia’s certified Motorcycle Riding Instructor, Karim Clyde

Mob: +966 50 240 7963

_arl0455Motorcycle Clubs and Groups in Jeddah:

  • Harley Owners Group (Jeddah Chapter)
  • United Bikers
  • Al-Hejazi Bikers
  • Jeddah Knights
  • Diesel Bikers
  • Sedara MC
  • Top One
  • Arab Eagle Riders
  • Mountain Riders
  • Route 88
  • Malaya
  • Madinah Bikers
  • Sanayek
  • MX Jeddah Group

Read More...