Explore KSA, Explore Your City, Historic Saudi

Miss Saudi Arabia 2017

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Mazayen Al-Ibl is slated for a March debut


A beauty pageant is coming to town! A camel beauty pageant, that is.

The dates for the Mazayen al-ibl Heritage Festival and Camel Beauty Contest have been set for the month-long period of March 19th – April 15th.

The festival aims to bridge the generational gap through introducing younger generations to the culturally rich Saudi heritage.

This acts in accordance with the goals of Vision 2030, and within the umbrella of initiatives spun by the local King Abdulaziz Foundation for Research and Archives (KAFRA).umrgaiba

An anticipated 2 million people and 300,000 camels will be in attendance!

Organizers hope that the festival will gain momentum worldwide, in an interesting show of cultural celebration and exchange.

Originally started by the Qahtani tribe and held in Guwei’iya, within the outskirts of Riyadh, the festival is a celebration of the intimate and symbolic link between the customs of Bedouin tribes and camels. The competition also celebrates the distinct features of pure-bred camels, to be judged by a committee of Bedouins, using a rubric inclusive of hump and neck length, and whether or not the ears stand back and the nose droops down.

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Comic Review, Explore Your City, Things To Do

Saudi Comic Con Impresses Jeddah – Day 1

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The event, a first of its kind in the Kingdom, left visitors buzzing with excitement.


Today saw the first day of the very first Saudi Comic Con, a much-anticipated event that enticed its online audience with grandiose promises.

So, of course, we had to check it out for ourselves!

And, should you decide to do that too, here’s a free piece of advice: prepare to get overwhelmed (in every possible positive meaning of the word).

This Comic Con truly does deliver on the promise of being unique. People in full Rick and Morty cosplay mingle seamlessly with those clad in traditional thobes. On the left, just after Tokyo Games booth introducing VR video game trials and another one highlighting Na3am’s efforts to revolutionize the video gaming industry, is a BMW car that morphs into a transformer-style robot (Letrons Robot) every hour. This is, naturally, followed by a duel between Loki and Thor, culminating in a push to view the entire grounds with a stroll through the Art Walk and Star Wars Gallery, and punctuating the experience with a feast courtesy of the plentiful food trucks.

There’s no room for boredom.

The panel discussions fail to disappoint: a stellar lineup saw one stage entertaining a workshop on plot development, a panel of producers and directors, and a two-hour-long chat with world-renown actors Charles Dance and Julian Glover. A short chat with the two revealed their own excitement at the event “I have been to many comic cons all around the world this one is particularly notable for the enthusiasm of the public. Because it’s your first. Charlie and I were both saying that’s it’s a great honor to be in the first and we hope we will come to more. And I think this has already proved that it’s worthwhile doing.” Julian Glover (the voice of “Aragog from Harry Potter” and “Grand Maester Pycelle”)”

And, after spending all seven hours of the first day of the convention poking around what it has to offer, we can confidently say that it delivered!

We can only wait for what the remaining two days have to offer.

Buy your tickets at here.

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Business, Business Talks, Interview

A few words with the Think Tank

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A few words with Think Tank: Jeddah’s play on a tradition of seriousness.


Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Think Tank’s CEO/chief enthusiast, who also goes by Maha, for a small chat in their distinctively creative workspace.

You might remember them from a 2014 feature in the Destination Jeddah magazine, where their office was dubbed among the most innovative in the city. And while the bright sprawl of open space and obstacle courses definitely piqued my interest, I was there to learn about the brains and passion that had built it from the ground up.

So, what is Think Tank?

In the traditional sense, think thanks are tied to consultation with respect to economic policy, national security, business strategy, and other matters of significant breadth.

But what Jeddah’s Think Tank puts forward is a culture of vibrant optimism to add to that rigor, in a pure business context. fgfg

At its core, Think Tank is what Maha calls an ‘ideation company’. The team formulates ideas that propel individualistic concepts, via studying the market and generating a business plan from scratch. They also extend similar services to existing businesses that lack branding and differentiation: pretty much anything in need of a facelift.

And much like their creative space, Think Tank emphasizes showing, rather than telling.

What have they accomplished?

Maha emphasizes: “every project is an achievement”.

When moving through timelines and past projects, inclusive of far-flung achievements (i.e. servicing a concierge service in Paris) and homegrown multinational accomplishments with Rocco Forte, one thing remains clear. Think Tank’s success lies in their continuous endeavors to push boundaries and convince entire corporations to turn their back on the usual.  

In a time of skepticism and unrest, Think Tank manages to put a positive face forward in the name of Saudi creativity and promise. The solid sense of family prevalent across the office repeatedly reminds me: Think Tank is a platform, not a representation of an individual.

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Moving forward:

With a mantra like “we’re dreamers with our two feet on the ground”, Think Tank makes for a solid example of a team pioneering way through the status quo.

As evidenced by continuous shattering of glass ceilings and pushing of personal limits, in feats ranging from convincing contractors to carry out the unprecedented to setting up pediatric centers with chalkboard exteriors, Think Tank shows no signs of slowing down.

A local tribe of workers enabling each other was the vision, and it was carried out to a T. Maha sent herself back home after a lengthy period of time in London, because she recognized that she couldn’t possibly be the only one with a similar vision.

Far more than a dressed up business planner, Think Tank represents a creative hub that embraces, and a stellar example of the importance of making your own opportunities.

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Business

So, You’re on the Hunt for an Internship

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It seems like everyone’s chasing one.


Internships offer valuable experience without a binding contract. This could be because they help ease you into the often unprecedented reality of the workplace, or the fact that they offer those who take on the challenge a way to essentially shop around in different industries.

  1. Keep an open mind!

As a rule of thumb, though background knowledge and skill sets are major pluses in your favour, you aren’t expected to know too much when you come in as an intern. Just don’t pick a field you have no knowledge of!

For example, if you know nothing about banking and finance, maybe you shouldn’t attempt an internship at a bank. On the flip side, if you’ve demonstrated skill in photography and editing software, then interning for an advertising/branding company or a magazine’s design team would be a good idea.

  1. Narrow it down

Once you’ve figured out what field you want to test out, go ahead and research relevant companies. Although some may not advertise it, many will accept the extra set of hands that an intern offers. intership2

In Jeddah’s creative industry alone, I’ve found that 77 Media, The Loft, The Agency, Milk Design and Destination KSA all offer internships. A little bit more digging and asking around amounts to a plethora of information you wouldn’t have otherwise found. And, in the interest of spreading risk, I would recommend applying to more than one internship, just in case you may not be offered a spot in one of the companies.

  1. To start it off:

Unless there is an outlined application process, you should send an email to the company expressing your interest and putting forward a little bit of what you have to offer. You will usually be given a template to fill out with your information, which you should do with maximum accuracy.

  1. The thick of it:

A resumé is a one-page (single-sided) document that summarizes your academic and work accomplishments, and is arguably the most important part of your application.

Know the general idea: your resume is split into sections: education background, work experience, volunteer work, and skills: this is where you can list the languages you speak, your communication skills, or how good you are at using excel. They can be ordered as you like, just keep it structured!

 

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Activities, Community, Food

Food Trucks: Jeddah’s Surprising New Activity of Choice!

Caravan Burger Truck

Everyone likes to joke that there’s nothing to be done in Jeddah apart from eating. You head to the mall only to end up anchored in the food court, or you visit your friend’s house and punctuate the night with a Feast of Overfeeding courtesy of the fabled Middle-Eastern hospitality. The third and final option is really just going straight to a sit-down restaurant or café.


So, the jokes may have some truth to them, but what we’ve been overlooking this whole time is the potential of making it a fun activity. And food trucks have come to the rescue!

Food trucks are…

You’ve definitely seen them in movies and abroad – whether your exposure was via Dubai’s Salt, or a random Halal truck in New York, the idea of eating food made out of a  mobile kitchen stuffed into a mode of transport (well, that’s what they are) was strange at best. But one bite of the food you got was enough to turn you around completely. And the new is definitely noteworthy in our own Jeddah. Here are some of the ones that stood out to us:

If you’ve got a sweet tooth: The Cube

Waffles, pancakes and shakes galore! Fresh desserts and a bevy of drink options abound aboard this compact kitchen, which also offers catering for parties and orders.

Find them: usually next to Aya Mall
Talk to them: +966-560800092
Instagram: thecube_sa
Twitter: @thecube_sa

The burger aficionado is spoiled for choice

Everybody loves a good burger! And that’s probably why Jeddah is home to two great burger trucks: Caravan Burger and Street Chef. Fresh and smoky flavors meet in both kitchens, with Street Chef offering a rotational menu and Caravan Burger sticking to what they know is good.

Find them: this one’s different – you need to check their accounts!
Talk to them: Caravan Burger: +966-568069000
Street Chef’s Whatsapp: +966-569203011
Instagram
: caravan_burger and streetchefsa
Twitter: caravan_burger and streetchefsa

And for the one that roots for the underdog: Relish

relish_ksaLet’s be honest: people don’t really think about hot dogs. They’re usually lumped in with burgers or are relegated to kid-food status. And Relish is here to change that! Their juicy hot dogs can be customized with multiple topping options and are served fresh from a quaint cart.

Find them: check their accounts!
Talk to them: Whatsapp: +966-564640011
Instagram: relish.sa
Twitter: relish_ksa

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Community, News, Uncategorized

Bidding Plastic Bags Farewell

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Jeddah’s municipality to follow through on a new ban.


The Jeddah municipality has issued a ban on plastic bag usage in the handling of hot food items in restaurants and bakeries, due to take full effect on the 28th of February. This arrives in perceived extension of a similar ban that has been in effect in the Eastern Province, along with a similar issue taken up by the Omra branch municipality, during the fall of 2016.

The Why

The Consumer Protection Association has concluded, with sufficient scientific research, the proximity of heat to plastic items as harmful to consumers. Therefore, they have taken the necessary steps to ensure the implementation of the aforementioned laws with the aim of protecting consumers from dangerous toxins.

Environmental enthusiasts: rejoice!

The significance of consumer health is strategically paired with the positive environmental repercussions that this law promises. Saudi Arabia’s annual plastic bag use correlates to a number that is 20 times the global average: 40 kg. Which is a lot of toxic ruz bukhari.

Photo Credit: 7a66ab.net

Photo Credit: 7a66ab.net

Through cracking down on the amount of plastic waste generated per annum, Saudi stands on the right side of history in a time of heightened environmental awareness.

Although not a particularly fascinating subject, environmental vigilance in a country that produces plastic waste that matches the weight of 2 million cars should be a priority. Plastic is not a biodegradable material, which translates into the aforementioned weight occupying landfills and sneaking into oceans and other ecosystems (where it proceeds to harm wildlife) for hundreds of years.

The transition into paper and eco-friendly containers represents a small change that could cause a huge difference.

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Activities, Art, Events & Happenings, Exhibitions, Exhibitions, Food

And Along Came Polyester

Photo Credit: The Saudi Art Council

ATHR Gallery’s contribution within the continuing umbrella of the 21, 39 arts programme, an exhibition titled And Along Came Polyester, brought forward the more conceptual pillars of contemporary art.


Curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, the immersive experience leads visitors exploring the work of the five female artists, all of which hail from the Gulf. Individualistic and wide-branching experiences are manifested within the five rooms dedicated to their works, with perhaps the most commanding being that of Kuwait’s Monira Al Qadiri. Al Qadiri’s pieces build upon the juxtaposition between the two primary sources of Gulf wealth across different timelines, further highlighting the irony of the objects sharing the same color scheme at opposite ends of the dichroic color spectrum. The steely pieces offer a striking comparison to the warm hug of the deeply purple paint in an experience truly unique to the exhibit. ATHR further collaborated with Krabload in curating a delicious food festival on the gallery terrace, a localized appetizer that paired well with the powerful artwork a mere flight of stairs below. Yet this remains a scante taste of the entire event: an abstract production merging between the traditional and the contemporary that 21, 39 has successfully engineered across their exhibitions, and a must for those with a taste for the arts.

Where?

ATHR gallery, located on the 5th floor of the Office Towers in Serafi Mega Mall.

When?

The exhibition runs from the 2nd of February – 4th of April

How can I get tickets?

None required, just walk right into the gallery!

About 21, 39:

A non-profit initiative put together by the Saudi Art Council, 21, 39 aims to generate a welcoming platform that allows for the promotion and advancement in the arts within Jeddah. The project is a unique venture, especially in the more traditionally-inclined Saudi Arabia, that allows for the proliferation of an unparalleled view regarding the conventions of contemporary art in an Arab skeleton. Programs running under the umbrella 21, 39 initiative are inclusive of exhibitions and gallery openings, discussion forums, and workshops.

 

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Food, Foodie Corner

Specialty Cafés Brewing in Jeddah

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As a self-professed caffeine fiend and local foodie, I find that there exists no sight more delicious than that of a fresh artisan café materializing on the streets of Jeddah. So it prides me to say that the coffee game in our seaside town has been booming lately. Take it from someone weaned on cappuccino foam and dense Arabic coffee, these new cafés are worth a visit (or two or three or four…)


Medd

The artisanal café offers a bevy of choices nestled in a glass-paneled slice of coffee heaven located by the sea. Light bites and decadent desserts are aplenty, much like the wide variety of espresso drinks and milks (like the delicious quinoa milk, much to the delight of both the health and lactose-conscious). Not to mention: all coffee beans used are deliciously fair trade.

Brew 92

While Medd specializes in espresso-based drinks, Brew 92 takes a more vested interest in a wide array of specialty brews of pour-over coffee, varying not only in beans but brewing methods as well. Expect novelty presentation, breakfast fare, and a fresh perspective on the wonders of pour-over coffee. Their cold brew is incredibly popular amongst their crowd.

Warm & Frosty

A cozy environment and a penchant for choices in deliciously roasted beans make the Warm & Frosty experience, popularized by its specialty cold brew. Try the affogato, a dense shot of espresso featuring a scoop of ice cream: an Italian summer staple that stays true to the café’s name.

Cup & Couch

Bridging upon the trend of ampersands & coffee, this tiny family-run café offers a variety of beans and roasts; but they truly take the cake when it comes to creativity. Their menu features a “see my face” option, which allows the barista to customize a drink based on their perception of you. An unprecedented crowd favorite, however, is the coconut latte smoothie!

BREWING SOON: Qatarat

qataratWell, technically, this café isn’t open for business just yet. However, a quick scroll through their Instagram page reveals intense promise. Stay on the lookout for their opening on the @qataratcafe Instagram! I know I am.

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Arts & Music, Exhibitions, Galleries

The first of the fourth: Al-Mall

Photo Credit: The Saudi Art Council

21, 39’s events kicked off on the 1st of February with the opening night of the first exhibit in the 4th installment of Jeddah’s very own art week.


Aptly named the Al-Mall exhibit, it is housed in one of the four locations pinned as Jeddah’s pillars by the event’s planners. The show boasts an impressive makeshift gallery that capitalizes on the theme of safar (Arabic for travel), notably manifested in the artworks presented via concepts of motion and interaction. On display are multiple noteworthy pieces curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath of Art Reoriented, and crafted by Arab artists that seamlessly blur the lines between tradition and modernity in a display of self-reflection within Arab youth. The particular marriage between old, new, clean, and chaotic, proves exclusive to the region. And as a pioneering force in the establishment of contemporary art within the framework of a society that clings to the traditional, the exhibit proves itself worthy of a visit from those itching for an introduction to the unique Saudi art scene, as well as the more seasoned art buffs.

Where?

True to its name, the exhibit takes place in Gold Moor Mall’s Gate 2, in Al-Zahra District

When?

The exhibition runs from the 1st of February – 6th of May

How can I get tickets?

None required, just walk right into the gallery!

About 21, 39:

A non-profit initiative put together by the Saudi Art Council, 21, 39 aims to generate a welcoming platform that allows for the promotion and advancement in the arts within Jeddah. The project is a unique venture, especially in the more traditionally-inclined Saudi Arabia, that allows for the proliferation of an unparalleled view regarding the conventions of contemporary art in an Arab skeleton. Programs running under the umbrella 21, 39 initiative are inclusive of exhibitions and gallery openings, discussion forums, and workshops.

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Arts & Music, Exhibitions

Last Week in Art in Jeddah

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The first of February saw the opening night of the very first art exhibit under the umbrella of 21, 39 initiatives for launching the Jeddah Art Week. Cocooned in a makeshift art gallery in Gold Moor mall, the exhibit, operating within the comprehensive theme of safar, Arabic for ‘travel’, saw massive crowds and artwork of an even larger scale.


Last Week in Art

The first of February saw the opening night of the very first art exhibit under the umbrella of 21, 39 initiatives for launching the Jeddah Art Week. Cocooned in a makeshift art gallery in Gold Moor mall, the exhibit, operating within the comprehensive theme of safar, Arabic for ‘travel’, saw massive crowds and artwork of an even larger scale.F8BEC70E-CB4D-4394-884C-648C85FB7B74

The Rise of Contemporary

It was pretty significant to note the exhibit’s focus on the cornerstones of modern, simplistic art. Amongst the pieces displayed was a truly striking work by Zahra AlGhamdi, crafted on-site with earthly mediums such as cotton, sand, and water. The three-dimensional wall-borne work resembled a scrappy, vertical map of Al-Balad, Jeddah’s very own old-town.

Interestingly: the artwork embodied a love for contemporary art that was surprising in a culture famed for worshipping colour and tradition. Also: an interesting way to gauge the generational interest in contemporary art! (i.e. My uncle was not a fan.)96E24524-DAEF-43C8-976A-1655AF15CFB0

Safar as a Theme

Though the theme may come as a slight surprise due to the artwork’s creative manifestation of local culture, safar makes perfect sense when it comes to the exhibitions themselves. The curated work repeatedly capitalizes on the concepts of motion and connection, and, perhaps most significantly, the entire experience requires movement between five venues across Jeddah; spanning from the modernity of a shopping mall and KAEC (King Abdullah Economic City), to Jeddah’s historic quarter and a 1970’s royal palace.IMG_5823

Old and New

Beyond the juxtaposition of venues, the artwork presented in the exhibitions managed to fuse tradition and modernity seamlessly. Two pieces stood out to me: a collection of oil extraction devices coloured to resemble the sheen that pearls are famous for (referencing the old source of Gulf wealth vs. the current source), and a massive sculpture work simplifying and deconstructing Arabesque patterns.

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