Destination Meets Barakah

Director Mahmoud Sabbagh, actor Hisham Fageeh and actress Fatima Al Banawi tell us about “Barakah Yoqabil Barakah.”

“Barakah Yoqabil Barakah,” (or Barakah Meets Barakah, in English), takes place in Jeddah and revolves around Barakah and Bibi falling for each other and wanting to publicly meet in a rather conservative society.

The film stems from the idea of space. Sabbagh explains, “I wanted to make a movie about public space over the past 20 years and how limited it has become now. But because it is a dry subject, I had to incorporate the “boy meets girl” story; it shows the struggles of meeting in public. I wanted to tackle issues with humor to voice the concerns and frustrations without tarnishing the society.” shot-1

Although the movie is about a relationship and exhumes a lot of humor, Sabbagh is still not on board with calling it a romantic comedy. “I don’t like calling the movie a ‘romantic comedy,’ but I am used to it being described as that now. When I did the movie, it didn’t occur to me that I was playing with this genre, I just wanted to create an organic, grounded and original script,” he elaborates.M84A8563

Speaking of the script, Al Banawi describes what first attracted her to it. “I liked that the script goes beyond an apologetic and victimizing narrative, which I often experience watching international and local films about Saudi Arabia, the Arab World, and/or Muslims in general. Instead, Barakah’s script is funny for us local Jeddawis, and equally so for the international audience. I was captured by the script’s attempt to depict the individual characters rather than the usual categorizations of race, religion, class or color.”201614526_1_-_h_2016

About the possibility of the movie garnering reservations, she replies, “The love story depicted in the film is not foreign to people’s eyes; the film only narrates, often with little alteration, what people might have already experienced or heard of in their communities and their own private worlds. If anything, we shouldn’t be afraid of love, we should be afraid of hate.”M84A8556

She reveals her excitement during the movie’s first screening. “The realization hit me when we were asked to come forward to the stage for the Q&A segment. I was eager to hear audience’s questions and to listen with an open heart to the comments of film critics.” Screen-Shot-2016-08-28-at-8.58.27-AM

As for Hisham Fageeh, he was surprised at seeing himself on the big screen. “The first time I saw the film in Berlin, I couldn’t believe that there I was, almost 3 meters high. My veins were about to explode,” he laughingly recalls.barakah-meets-barakah

Fageeh also explained how everything the movie required was done so immaculately. “The subtitles had to be really sharp to translate things idiomatically and linguistically. Also, each character has his or her own style of subtitles, so the older characters have their special way of speaking and hence subtitling. We even worked on having the laugh timing as the same in order not to miss a beat. So they’d be reading the punch line as the character utters it.”

“Barakah Yoqabil Barakah” will be released across the Middle East this month, so stay tuned.

Twitter: BYoqabilB


Family Night Activities to do in Jeddah

Here are some activities and their providers for more enjoyment at family gatherings.

Fun Night

Launched in 2013 by Abdulelah Alzughaibi, Fun Night provides a full cinema set up, both indoors and outdoors as in houses, cabins, back yards or rooftops. It also supplies karaoke gear, board games and even snacks.

Snapchat: fun.9
Instagram: fun.night
Mob: +966-569670602



Hosting a movie night is no problem with Takyah, the brainchild of Deema Abdullah.

Two packages are available:

  1. Takyatna: Includes the projector with its screen plus high definition sound system.

  2. Takyatna Plus: In addition to the items mentioned above, it includes the

green grass, Takyah’s signature leather seats, popcorn machine, a wagon filled with local board and card games plus snacks and drinks.

Snapchat: Takyah.jed
Instagram: Takyah.jed
Mob: +966-502169775

Ekkah Games


They are an entertainment and training service with a library of over 70 unique games. Born on the hands of Mashhoor Baeshen and Moudi Alghashyan, Ekkah is currently at Sara Ladies Cafe on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 5:30 – 9:30 p.m. Saturdays are open for families. They also do game catering to events and provide their services to corporate training courses.

Instagram: ekkahgames

Saudi Trifecta

Screen-Shot-2016-08-18-at-4.50Gool Bas La Tgool is the perfect game for a family night. Created by Saudi Trifecta, the game forces players to describe a word or action without talking. Struggling to decipher a rough run is so much fun to watch. Available at Virgin, Jarir and Saco.

Instagram: sauditrifecta

Look Out For Nard Games

Logo-&-CharactersWala Kilma is the first product of Nard Games, to be out soon. Launched by Summer Shesha, Turki and Abdulrahman Gazzaz, Nard Games focuses on reinventing games for maximum fun. Wala Kilma is the classic guessing charade game with a twist as it contains Arabic and English words along with action cards that add bonuses to the players. It will be available at corporate events in the near future.

Instagram: nardgames

Rock. Paper. Scissors

IMG_1576Rock. Paper. Scissors was initiated by Rola and Rafah, a play therapist and an entrepreneur, respectively. It provides a wide assortment of games that engages all family members away from the digital world. Although a lot of their games are sold out now, they will be available in a couple of months, so check them out.

Instagram: rps_studio
Mob: +966-530530175


Domino Divers at it Again

They took their diving skills to the North Pole this time.

The Domino diving team, Hussam Shukri and Mariam Fardous, has successfully etched their name in history as being the first Saudis to dive at the North Pole.


Their trip across the Russian, Finnish and Norwegian borders to the highest point at the North Pole took more than 17 hours. The diving took at this high point, needless to say it was in the freezing cold weather. They set up camp and stayed there for almost 5 days.

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

This accomplishment has enabled them to sign up for the Guinness World Record as the first Arab divers at the location. They are currently awaiting the results.

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

They had a similar experience last year diving in the Arctic Circle in preparation for their North Pole expedition. They faced a few more challenges this time around though, starting from the colder temperature of -40 degrees. The freezing wind also broke off the plane’s runway a couple of times as the divers descended. Keeping the diving hatch open was also difficult because the sliding ice kept closing it off.

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

Diving in the presence of wild animals, such as polar bears, was also risky and required high vigilance. Even drinking water proved to be hard. Not to mention the trip’s expenses that reached up to 400 thousand riyals.

The Domino Divers have made Saudi proud once more with their newest adventure. They will continue embarking on brave endeavors to prove that hard work and determination will always pay off.


Now You See Me 2: What We Thought (No spoilers, promise)

This time we put on our magician’s hat and watch the sequel to 2013’s blockbuster Now You See Me.

The movie has everything you would expect, sleight of hand, grand cinematic gestures that double as magic tricks, witty Ping-Pong dialogues and of course lots of unrealistic stuff.



Jesse Eisenberg


Mark Ruffalo


Woody Harrelson


Dave Franco


Daniel Radcliffe

daniel radcliffe

Lizzy Caplan


Morgan Freeman


Michael Caine


The team of illusionists gets back together to continue their crusade of fairness and justice. They theatrically humiliate anyone who steals, lies or cheats the masses. However, things don’t go according to plan and they end up being under the mercy of newcomer, Radcliffe, who is a complete science brainiac.

Critics and audiences were divided when it came to this movie though, as audiences loved it, but professional movie-watchers… not so much.

What we liked

The cast: They are just as endearing as they were in the first movie. To Woody Harrelson in particular, we applaud. (
Vault card trick scene: Since we promised no spoilers, you’ll just have to watch this one yourself.

What we didn’t like

The pace: In comparison to how fast the characters speak on the movie, we expected the events to rush a bit more.
Coincidences: Yes, we liked the plot, but c’mon, too many coincidences happening. Should we blame that on magic?

Numbers that matter:
Rotten Tomatoes: Tomatometer: 34% / Audience score: 61%
Destination: 7.5

Just in case you were in awe of card tricks, here’s Dave Franco, aka Jack Wilder, showing off his card skills.


Madame Tussauds

Even today the world remains in awe of Madame Tussauds waxworks. The only one to have ever done justice to the sheer beauty of mankind is Madame Tussauds and her authentic statues that have been a delight to everyone’s eye.

Baker Street is not only the home of Sherlock Holmes; but back in the 1830s it also witnessed Madame Tussauds open her very first wax museum, which included victims, murderers and other criminals of the then war. Some of her famous original work has survived till day at the historic exhibit of the museum, which is now located at Marylebone Road.

Poster for the Tussaud wax figure's exhibition, London 1835. Photo Credit:

Poster for the Tussaud wax figure’s exhibition, London 1835.
Photo Credit:

If you’re not satisfied with visiting just one museum in London, a world tour would definitely do the trick since they’re spread all over the world from Beijing, Berlin to Las Vegas and Sydney, and they’re soon to open their very first branch in India in 2017.

Marie Tussaud Photo Credit:

Marie Tussaud
Photo Credit:

Lets go over some intriguing facts about Madame Tussauds –

  • The London branch of Madame Tussauds has more than 400 figures that equates to 2,400 lbs of wax, which just means a lot of wax.

  • The hair of all the statues is regularly washed and conditioned, talk about hair spa on a daily basis for immobile celebrities.

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

  • It takes about a month to complete the hair of the statues, with each strand individually fitted.

  • The London museum has gracefully survived a fire, an earthquake and a bombing at the time of World War II, cheers to all the famous people that survived natural disasters and attacks.

  • The largest work is of The Hulk that is about 18ft in height and the smallest one is that of Tinkerbell, which is 5 and a half inches tall.

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

  • If a celebrity or royal passes away, their statues are made with estimates using their photographs.

While some of these facts are unimaginable and sound creepy, they do sum up the anticipation of visiting Madame Tussauds and watching the wonders unveil.


Fright Night Stay-in: The Conjuring 2

For all you horror movie buffs out there, The Conjuring 2 is made for you.

There has been a lot of buzz around it, not only because it is a sequel of a successful first movie, but also because of its scary antics. Oh, one more thing, it’s based on a true story. We took it upon ourselves to watch the scary packed film and report back to you.

No spoilers here, we promise, but the story revolves around a single mother living in England with her 4 children. She notices bizarre and violent behaviors from daughter Janet and that is when Lorraine and Ed Warren come to investigate. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson play the couple.

What we liked most:

  • Story: It is very entertaining indeed. It kept us on edge even after it ended.
  • Background music: As you would expect, very chilling and accommodating to the mood.
  • The creepy toy: When you see the movie, you’ll understand why its there. Considering the role of a doll in the first movie, and the spin off Annabelle, toys are important pawns in creeping out audiences.

What we didn’t like all that much:

  • Pace: It’s a little slow, a faster pace would have been more thrilling.
  • Vera’s facial expressions: No doubt she is a good actress, but at times her face was just blank. Maybe her features went numb from the horror?

Rating on Destination Jeddah: 7.5
Rating on IMDB: 7.8/10
Ration on Rotten Tomatoes: 80%

The trailer itself is spine tingling.

If you want to read more about it and are not worried of ruining parts of the movie, check this link out.

Also, if you are into mischievous pranks and people screaming, watch this.


The Scrumptious Factor

Jeddah’s food reviewers spill the beans on what makes their mouth water.


Foodies-Final-222I work full time in a Saudi digital and social media marketing agency in Jeddah, I’m also a professional photographer with an eye for food photography and styling. My passion for cooking arose while studying in Manchester and continued ever since.

How did the idea for Foodies come to life?
It started on a Whatsapp group in 2012 with less than 10 people. I had just come back from the UK after studying there and learning how to cook and I needed a circle to share this with. The idea was to chat and discuss recipes, new restaurant openings and make recommendations on where to eat. The Snapchat account came out in March because we wanted to share our experience with the public.

How do you choose your team?
I chat and follow each candidate before I recruit him or her. Some approach me, while I approach others. They must have a passion for food, either by cooking, tasting, writing or blogging, or be food business owners (home or retail).

What are the most important traits in food reviewers?
A reviewer has to be credible. To gain people’s trust, he has to know food, understand taste, presentation, cuisines and what makes a dish worth it.

What were your best and worst food experiences here in Jeddah?
One of my bad experiences was a local burger shop. I tried it the first time and it was really bad. As a second chance, I tried it again after a few months, but it still failed to impress me. Another was a Middle Eastern restaurant famous for its mixed grills; it was so bad that I ran to throw up in its bathroom.

As for great experiences, a local cafe and bakery on Batarjee Street satisfies my taste buds with their sweets and bakery items. Another is a famous Lebanese franchise on Tahlia, their kitchen is as impressive as their amazing food and ambiance.


HANI NOUR (Member)Foodies-Final-3

I work in advertising, but food has been my passion since day one. I’ve always loved communicating and sharing my restaurant experiences, and have always been known to be the go to guy when it comes to outside dining.

How did you join the Foodies group?
Darwish and I had a lot of mutual friends but we never got the chance to meet. One of our mutual friends once talked about The Foodies on Facebook and I commented by requesting to join. Darwish saw my comment and immediately started his initiation tests.

Any favorite dishes?
Anything my mom cooks.

What do you think completes a dish?
Good company. Everything tastes better when you have good friends around you.

What is the most surprising dish you have ordered?
Fried Crocodile from The Meat Company in Bahrain.


SAWSAN AL BAHAITY (Member)Foodies-Final-1

I am a young Saudi with a varied background from advertising and marketing, to music and singing. I am currently an entrepreneur in the food business.

How did you join the Foodies group?
I got to know about them from Ahmed Darwish, whom I’ve known through family. There had to be certain criteria to be eligible to join, this included owning a food business or being a chef, but generally being zealous about food and directly dealing with it.

Were you always interested in food and different cuisines or has that been a recent development?
I have been interested in food ever since I can remember. When we were kids, my siblings and I used to watch our mother bake cakes. We watched her put the ingredients of her chocolate cake and eagerly waited to lick the remaining batter. She cooked everything herself; we rarely ordered food from outside and that got me attached to food.

What do you think completes a dish?
Truffle oil.

What is the most surprising dish you have ordered?
Eggs benedict with truffle oil.



I was born in Taif and have spent the past 10 years traveling and sampling cuisines all over the world. I work as a consultant for an F&B consulting company based out of Washington DC, USA and my primary job is taste profiles and mystery reviews.

What is it like pursuing food and restaurant critique professionally since you write at Saudi Gazette?
I am a different type of critic, as I don’t talk to owners or managers directly before I go, but I welcome their comments afterwards. This way I am served the same food as any other customer without any perks. So far, almost every restaurant I’ve reviewed has contacted me and the owners were more than willing to change the highlighted issues.

Were you always interested in food and different cuisines or has that been a recent development?
Yes, food has been my passion for the longest time and I enjoy all cuisines from Southeast Asia, Europe, Latin America, South Asian and Middle East. In fact I have separate restaurant preferences for main dishes, sides and desserts. I am an all out foodie.

What do you think completes a dish?
Three things, taste, taste and taste. It doesn’t matter if it’s a hole in the wall cafeteria or a fancy 5 star restaurant, if the food is good, customers will visit.

What is the most surprising dish you have ordered?
In Jeddah: Crispy Crazy Maki at Ohayo; it combines crab, avocado, cucumber, crispies and a crazy mix topping guaranteed to make even non Sushi lovers fall in love with the fantastic creation.

In Riyadh, it will have to be the mango sorbet in Nozomi. Internationally, if I had to pick one it would be Kare Kare, which is a traditional Filipino stew complimented with a thick savory peanut sauce and served with ox tail meat.

Instagram: hamza_eats


I had been working in corporate finance for 12 years, but then I decided to open my own restaurant, The Green Kitchen, and enter the world of food professionally. I have been interested in different cuisines since an early age. This has developed over years and became a passion.

Are you thinking of pursuing food critiquing professionally?
Yes. I’ve read a lot about food critique and will definitely pursue it professionally.

What is your favorite cuisine and favorite place that serves it around here?
My favorite cuisine is Japanese. I haven’t experienced the perfect Japanese restaurant here yet but the best among local restaurants so far is Benihana.

What do you think completes a dish?
Nice presentation is always the best way to complete a dish. I enjoy the appearance of a dish as much as its taste.

What is the most surprising dish you have ordered?
The most surprising dish I’ve ever ordered was the Extremely Fresh Lobster Sashimi at a Japanese restaurant in Dubai. The lobster was still alive while the dish was served.

Instagram: mhrating
Snapchat: mhenaidy

LOAI ARIFLuai-Final-2

I believe food is an adventure. My family had a great experience with restaurants for a long time, so it’s in my genes. Now I have become a marketer, cook, food blogger and vlogger as well as a partner in a Chinese restaurant. My Samurai looks, especially the hair, have earned me the name Samurai blogger.

Where you always interested in food and different cuisines or is this a recent development?
Ever since a young age, my grandma would always ask for my opinion in the dishes she made. Out of all her grandkids, she would choose me because she knew I had a gift when it came to food. As years went by, and I headed to university, my friends would always count on me to cook.

Would you think of pursuing food reviewing professionally?
I am trying to achieve my general goal of upgrading the standard of the food world in Jeddah. My personal aim is to be a reference and consultant in the field of gastronomy; I am trying to achieve that through training courses and professional food coverage via social media. I think my modeling experience has helped me reach a wider audience especially on Snapchat.

In your opinion what completes a dish?
Presentation is very important, that and olive oil too.

What is the most surprising dish you have ever ordered?
In Mykonos, I once ordered ravioli stuffed with crab dip in yellow creamy sauce, it was perfect. This question will make me cry.

Instagram: loayarif
Snapchat: loay.arif


Break-Fest Top Picks in Jeddah

We went on a breakfast food venture around town to recommend the best dishes.


Fatet HummusKalila-Fattet-Hummus

Why We Love It: Kalila excels at anything with hummus.

Nutella and Strawberry PancakesKalila-Nutella-Pancakes

Why We Love It: Just in case you want to have dessert for breakfast.

Instagram: kalila_cafe
Location: The Courtyard City, Rawdah St., Khalidia Dist.


Halloumi BagelBagel-Bar--Halloumi-Bagel

Why We Love It: The chewy grilled halloumi cheese and basil pesto mix is top notch.

Irish CoffeeBAgel-Bar-Irish-Cofee1

Why We Love It: It fills your morning void with much needed caffeine.

Instagram: thebagelbar.ksa
Location: Abdullah Al Arasi, U Shaped Center, Rawdah Dist.


Breakfast PlatterCookshop-BreakFast-Platter

Why We Love It: It encompasses all the basic components of breakfast.

Sucuklu Yumurta (Eggs with Sausages):Cookshop-Sucuklu-Yumurta

Why We Love It: This dish emits a variety of spices and flavors.

Instagram: cookshopsa
Location: Aster Center, Tahlia St.


Cheese Mana’eeshCP-Manakeish

Why We Love It: Bite into them and feel the cheese’s texture and soft pastry waltz across your palette.


Why We Love It: They are prepared right in front of you and have an assortment of toppings.

Instagram: cpjeddah
Location: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Al Hamra’a


Croque MadamePaul-Croque-Madame2

Why We Love It: It basically has everything you would want, consisting of melted cheese, béchamel while stuffed with turkey or salami, with layers of toast squeezed in with a fried egg on top.


Why We Love It: The dessert looks like a work of art.

Instagram: pauljeddah
Location: Tahlia St.


Eggs and Labnah PieShobak-EggawLabneh

Why We Love It: A rich combination of flavors with the smooth labnah and cooked eggs.

Salmon PieShobak-Salmon

Why We Love It: Just in case you were not in the mood for typical breakfast food.

Instagram: shobakpie
Location: Aster Center, Tahlia St.


Turmeric Coffeebafarat-Gahwa

Why We Love It: Because of that kick the turmeric gives off.

Date KunafaBafarat-Kunafa

Why We Love It: It is a wonderful complement to the wide selection of coffee available.

Instagram: bafaratarabia
Location: Khaldiya Dist.


Sidi Hamza Foul (Spicy Foul with White Cheese and Chili)Ayouby-Foul

Why We Love It: Mashing up bits of cheese with foul is a creative twist and the spices gives the perfect taste nudge.

Al Ayoubi KebdaAyouby-Kebda

Why We Love It: The tender liver mixed in with spices was simply perfect.

Instagram: alayoubi_restaurant
Location: Al Rabiha Center, North Obhur



A Rising Star Behind the Camera

Jumanah Shaheen, cinema production’s breakout star, gives us the deets.

The up and coming movie producer is blazing a trail in the world of film; already adding to her name the Oscar-nominated movie, Theeb as a visual effects production manager.

Ever since childhood, Shaheen had her mind set on working in film, mainly due to the movie nights she regularly spent with her sisters. She later attended the Academy of Art University in the US, consequently deciding which field to venture into.2

She says, “Attending the Academy of Art University, helped clarify exactly which part in production I wanted to be involved in, and the more I worked within the industry, the clearer it became to me that I enjoyed producing films and animations.”Theeb-Movie

Shaheen’s name rose to new heights after working on Theeb; the Jordanian-English movie about a Bedouin boy’s adventure through the desert during WW1. It was not only nominated for an Academy Award, but also won a bunch of awards, including Best Foreign Language Film at the BAFTAs.

She explains, “I got to work on Theeb through Studio X, which is a collaborative class at the Academy of Art University. It is a studio-based class, where students are able to work on real projects for experience.” She can also add working on Hassan Said’s film “It’s a Strange World” to her list of accomplishments.Portrait-with-Phil-Tippett

On her upcoming projects, Shaheen reveals, “I have currently finished training on the new Captain America film and finished working on two other shows” – unfortunately for us, she can’t give us the full details yet.

Needless to say Shaheen is a huge movie buff, her favorite films include the Harry Potter series, To Kill a Mocking Bird and Miyazaki movies like Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.



Hanan Kamal: Highlighting the Beauty of Graffiti

Pink In and her graffiti talent.

Hanan Kamal has followed her passion to even the top of buildings. She is a multi-talented person who uses graffiti as her medium for expression. She describes herself as “a dreamer” with “a different and epic imagination.”

On her beginnings, Kamal says, “I started drawing at nine years old… I found a way to spread my thoughts on paper until I improved and then paper wasn’t enough for me anymore. So I started using different materials to express my art, one of which was walls.” She designates graffiti as, “strong, loud and limitless”; to her it requires “infinite creativity.”

12939120_10208098856483710_592009212_nUnfortunately, graffiti has been deeply linked to males, as the most well-known names in this arena are of men. Kamal responds to that by naming some of the most talented graffiti female artists out there, “Mad C, Steffi Bow, Lady Jay, Faith 47, Maya Hayuk, Swoon, Hera, Miss Van, Myla, Cbloxx, Christina Angelina are all influential female graffiti artists. I even chose my graffiti name “Pink In” to support all females around the world and also to prove that we can do anything. For me, “Pink In” doesn’t only stand for the color but also for feminine power.”

DESIGNERS-Do-not-use-this-as-the-main-PhotoKamal also responds to some people’s views of graffiti being an eye soar and a mean of sabotage. She has chosen to be its voice and to cement its stature as a unique form of art, and not simply scribbles on walls. She relates, “Even though, most people still think that graffiti art ruins the environment and should be a crime, others are supporting us and believe it really looks good.” People can see Kamal’s art around Jeddah like at Al Rawdah Park, Flamingo Mall, Red Sea Mall and Obhur.

Screen-Shot-2016-04-11-at-1.13.58-PMHanan Kamal wishes to spread her art everywhere and give women their rightful place in the graffiti arena. “I want people to see the imagination of artists through their art work and I want to make the world a better and more colorful place.”

Instagram: pink8in