A unique photography and exhibition workshop is coming up this month in Jeddah led by internationally acclaimed photographer and producer Richard Wilding.
Who should participate?
A unique photography and exhibition workshop is coming up this month in Jeddah led by internationally acclaimed photographer and producer Richard Wilding.
Who should participate?
Pixels is a 1 day workshop about the basics of photography being held on Friday, 20th of June, 2014 in Jeddah.
For further details and registration, call Waqas Bashir on 0561832843. Only 15 seats available.
Visit this upcoming photo exhibit and view the beauty of Jeddah from 1-6 February 2014, featuring Pinoy photographers. The exhibition opens at 7pm in the Al-Furusiyah Exhibition Hall in the Jeddah Park Hyatt Hotel.
IEF Center in collaboration with Nomad invites you to a
Date: Saturday, November 16, 2013
Place: Balad, Jeddah
Time: 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Cost: 300 SR per person
If you wish to register at IEF Center, please confirm by payment at center.
This event is open to men, women and children.
Looking forward to seeing you there.
Rahul Gandotra’s short film, The Road Home was short-listed for the Academy Awards in 2012. The Road Home is a short film about a boy named Pico who runs away from Woodstock, a boarding school in the Himalayas, with a return ticket to Britain in hand. Pico may look like he belongs in the Himalayas or that he’s from an Indian descent but his British nationality is something that others around him find hard to accept. Pico tries to get to New Delhi and encounters people who softly push him into realizing that others don’t see him the way he sees himself. After finishing his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan, Rahul attended the London Film School for Masters in Film Directing. For his Masters thesis he traveled to the Himalayas to shoot for The Road Home. He released the short film for free, and intends to make a full-length feature using the same plot. The trailer and additional information can be viewed on The Road Home Official Site. The underlying issues in the movie are pertinent in understanding today’s globalized society, and particularly poignant for the expat community. The short film leaves you with a deeper understanding of certain emotional issues surrounding globalization and the lingering feeling of displacement it leaves in many people. We at Jeddah Blog were very excited when Rahul Gandotra agreed to be interviewed, and our brilliant and resourceful writer Zareen Muzaffar set out to capture this exclusive story. You will all be surprised also, by a certain connection Rahul has with Saudi Arabia. Read on to discover more about Rahul Gandotra, his short movie, his life and experiences. How did you enter filmmaking and what was the journey like? I was pursuing professional sports at university when I got injured. To pass my time I picked up a camera which later graduated into a video camera and I started taking photography and film-making courses. At the same time I was about to graduate from university and started applying for management consultant jobs. My professor who had seen my work during the course told me I should seriously think of getting into the field. I think my fear of going into film-making had to do with the fact that I was disappointed with a lot of the films out there. So you could say the interest was there, but I kept delaying the decision till the very end. I started making short movies on my own. Sure, I was making mistakes but I was learning on my own. Honestly, I just slipped into this film-making profession and it has been a long path. The Road Home was part of my master thesis project. What led you to make this short film. How did this concept and idea come to you? While I was in Prague for a year, one of my teachers really encouraged me to make a movie about my life. I became interested in the idea, especially as I had built some connections, and had even written a script whose theme revolved around the search for home and identity. The topic was very close to me. The idea kept on flipping in my head till I decided to make an autobiographical account of my time spent at Woodstock. Search for home and a search for identity became the main underlying theme of my short.
How long did it take to film this movie? I didn’t have the proper film budget but it took 2 years for the whole process and six to seven months to write the script. Once the script was finalized we got into some intense pre-production. We spent about two months in India shooting for the film. While you were making this movie, did you have a particular audience in mind? Who were you reaching out to? In a way it was in defense of my ‘self’ and my experiences as a traveler. There was always this constant question of who I am. It gets frustrating with time because how you feel is different from what people see you as. When I went to India to shoot the movie, I was introduced to this book Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds by David C. Pollock and Van Ruth E. Reken. The book is basically about the children who have been raised in multiple cultures during their foundational and developmental years, such that they don’t really fit into any one culture. That book described me really well. I realized these are the type of people I am making the film for and that this film is for anyone who questions where they are from, at any time of their life. Any one who has had an outsider experience or has left their country can relate to this movie. You have traveled extensively and lived in different countries. Tell us about your experiences as an expatriate (particularly while you were in the Middle East). I was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, grew up in eight countries across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and America. I lived in Riyadh between the age of 6 and 9. So my memories are from a child’s perspective. It was a lot of fun, I went to an American school, and lived in a compound. I spent some time living in Yanbu as well. The time I spent in Saudi Arabia was very enjoyable and I am sure my parents’ experiences were different than mine. So, where do you feel ‘at home’? Nowhere [laughs] Would it be safe to say home is everywhere? No [laughs again] What do you think is the impact of globalization on one’s authentic self? Does it survive? I would say in my case, it is a very extreme version because I have moved around quite a lot. I think it’s a double-edged sword. At one end, I had a very unique upbringing, for example I didn’t have to read about Ramadan, I lived through it while I was in Saudi Arabia. The sound of call to prayer is very soothing to me, so for me, all these are good memories. It may be something completely different to another person, so it depends on one’s personality too. You get to see the world in the flesh rather than reading about it. On the flip side, I moved around so much I feel I’ve lost the sense of community. I’ve lost count of the number of times I had to throw away things and then had to buy them again. Building your community and home again gets tiring. People think its a vacation, but its not. They associate travel with vacation but it’s not the same thing. You are not coming back to your surroundings, you are building it all again. There are some unintended consequences of moving around too much; you forget how long it takes for people to put their trust in you or how long it takes to build your community. Can you tell us about your next project? I have written a full-length feature version of The Road Home and that will be my directorial debut. Working with Andreas Eigenmann, I have turned Pico’s story into a coming-of-age adventure road movie. The feature script is faster-paced than the short. Lastly, since The Road Home was an autobiographical account, what would you tell Pico, or how would you address the internal conflict he goes through in the movie? That’s a tough question. When I was a nine year old, I wasn’t so eloquent or knowledgeable. I didn’t have the third culture book to tell me whats happening. There is a certain level of restraint, and its too much to ask of a nine year old. I read that a lot of third-culture kids handle culture in 3 ways: There are chameleons, the ones who blend into the society and basically avoid sharing their rich history; there’s the wallflower, those who avoid people and don’t interact much and then there’s the screamer. They are the ones who say “I am going to tell you who I am no matter what you think I am”, and obviously Pico and myself is the screamer. I wouldn’t stand anyone telling me who I was, and the number of hours of discussions I’ve had in life are too many to count. Ironically, if I hadn’t been through all these experiences, I probably wouldn’t have made the film. It has been something that has been a large part of my life. Special thanks to Rahul Gandotra for sharing his thoughts and views with us. To see more, you can go through this sampler pack including commentaries, interviews, photos, wallpaper, internet resources, and a link to the film for free.
Paul Hudspith, British Airways cabin crew member, has been making videos of his travels every week since 2004. Paul always travels with his (very cool) Brompton foldable bicycle, cycling even under the sweltering sun of Saudi Arabia. The Mad Traveller’s videos can be found on his YouTube channel bromptonglobetrotter.
While Paul had already been to Riyadh earlier in 2011, he most recently made a video on his visit to Jeddah where he talks about the scorching weather, the beautiful architecture, the open-air art museum around the Corniche and his visit to Balad. We were very lucky to catch hold of Paul and speak to him about his travels, his videos and his visit to Jeddah.
Paul, you work for British Airways. Is this what inspires your love of travelling?
I’ve worked as a cabin crew with BA for nine years now and yes, the job does inspire me a lot but it’s mainly exposure to nature programmes as a young child that really gave me a huge appetite to explore the wider world around me. The job is really more of an excellent tool to enable many of my dreams to become a reality.
Of all the Mad Traveller videos you’ve made around the world, which is your favourite?
I’ve been making videos ever since my first trip as crew – which was to Warsaw, Poland on an extremely cold winters’ day in January 2004. Since that first not-so-confident presentation, I’ve developed my shows to the programme format you’ve seen.
Choosing a favourite is always tricky but I would say my top three are: Hong Kong, San Francisco and Tokyo. India is also a fascinating place.
You mentioned some myths and preconceptions about Jeddah in your video. What surprised you the most?
The myths and preconceptions I mentioned referred to Saudi Arabia in general and I would say that the biggest surprise so far has been how amazingly peaceful the cities are. There’s an eerie sense of calm everywhere you go. The allowing of men to wear shorts also came as a surprise.
Your favourite part of Jeddah?
My favourite spot in the city was the coast (Corniche) – beautiful clear waters and an easy ride along the shore line, and some very quirky public displays of art!
How long did it take you to film the video?
The video took around 6 hours to produce and included the time it took to cycle from Jeddah airport to the hotel. The second half was then filmed in the evening.
How did you come to choose Jeddah as one of your destinations?
It wasn’t solely my idea to come to Jeddah – I was rostered to operate the flight as crew. I’m randomly rostered to fly to an average of any 4 global cities served by BA from London per month which could be anywhere in North or South America, Asia, Africa or the Middle East.
And finally, here is the final Mad Traveller video, This Week in Jeddah:
For our latest blog post, Zareen Muzaffar managed to chase down Lama Al Khereiji as she participated in the Brides Bazaar at Dar Al Hekma College held on the 5th and 6th of March 2013, and chatted with her about her love of baking.
Anyone who has been to Jeddah knows this city has an amazing variety of food to offer. International franchises and local delicacies offer a unique combination to food lovers. And who doesn’t like desserts? Making home-made desserts and baked goods is a fast growing business for home makers as well as professional connoisseurs. Lama Al Khereiji is a young and passionate chef who creates unique baked goods for her clients.
“I discovered my passion for baking and dessert decoration when I was very young,” explains Lama. “I watched cooking channels and went through numerous printed recipes to begin with. Then I completed several courses to enhance my skills, and now I have more than 14 types of delicious desserts with unique presentations”.
For children, there is a wide variety of desserts to choose from: cupcakes, cake pops, and birthday cakes customized according to your preference of characters. For adults, there are some intricately designed cakes good for birthdays or any other special occasion.
She operates her business from Khalidiya district in Jeddah and one of her famous offerings include Nutella cookies, an all-time favorite for children and adults alike. Some of the popular items include Galaxy, Oreo and carrot cupcakes, Malteasers Mudcake, and pistachio cake. She also offers the famous local favourite Basbousa bites.
Lama markets her desserts on Instagram and holds online competitions occasionally.
If you want to place an order or to inquire more about Lama’s desserts, she can be reached at 0506040909.
A regular week in Jeddah can be quite routine, yet hectic at the same time. Weekends are an opportunity to get out of the bustling city, breathe in some fresh air and recharge one’s batteries. Jeddah Blog writer Naima Bashir recently visited Thuwal with her family, a village some 80 kilometers North of Jeddah along the Red Sea. Thuwal is known for its fishing, and is home to KAUST, the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. Naima was kind enough to share her experience and even sent us photographs of their trip.
We had been trying to take out time from the busy life for a family trip to a beach for a long time, where there would be less rush, the water would be clean, and not to forget we could get enough space for the car parking.
So this Thursday we managed to arrange a trip to Thuwal beach. It is about an hour’s drive, 80 km north from Jeddah. It is not difficult to find as you can easily follow directions on the highway. When you reach the bridge before the Madina exit, on the bridge you’ll see the signboard saying Thuwal and pointing towards the left.
We reached there around 2 pm which was perfect as the weather was not yet hot, and people had only just started arriving. The place was exactly what I was looking for. Gorgeous sea water, a clean place to sit, and enough space for parking. You can even find huts there if you prefer some privacy.
My kids loved paying in the sand. They got the chance to make beautiful sand castles and water streams leading from the sea.
They spent a lot of time in the blue water. The water near the shore is not deep. It is quite shallow, so you don’t have to worry about your children venturing out into the deep water. There are children’s play areas too.
Washrooms are available, although due to the lack of signage you’ll have to hazard a guess on whether it is a ladies or gents washroom. This was the only thing I did not like. It is hard to find a public place with clean washrooms.
The location was ideal for a barbecue; you can plan a visit with all of your family friends and enjoy a delicious barbecue under the clear blue sky, along with the wonderful weather.
Living in Jeddah you desperately look for a place where you can find peace and where the kids can have fun. Thuwal beach is an ideal place for a family fun day, away from the city rush. If you haven’t visited already, make sure it’s on your must-do list.
Have you experienced a great weekend in or near Jeddah? Write to us and let us know.
Jeddah Blog reader Muhammad Abdul Nasir, has visited the newly-renovated Corniche which has been updated at a cost of SR 185 million, and has captured the following scenes for us. Have you taken a trip to the seaside lately? What do you think of the improvements? Leave a comment and let us know.
– Courtesty M.A.N. Photography
Experience Balad like never before!
Your True Nature is organizing their third historic tour of Balad on the 13th of January, 2012. This is a professional tour service for expats and it includes a 4 hour tour, presentation, food and visit to a museum. The cost per person is SR 275.
The tour is open to families and you will probably want to take your cameras along to take photographs of the beautiful old buildings and streets of Balad. “This is our third successful tour of Balad and it is vital for our cultural awareness to learn about the heritage and culture of the land we are living in”, says Alicia of Your True Nature. She goes on to add, “Jeddah, and this region in particular, goes back to the beginning of time. It is significant to the history of mankind. However, with little emphasis on heritage, we miss out on a lot. Recent discoveries tell us that this region houses Mount Sinai. So Balad is just a starting point of activating an interest in the rich history of this land.”
If you would like to attend this unique tour, send your confirmations to firstname.lastname@example.org including your name, contact number and total number of participants.
A video link of their last tour can be viewed here.
A great opportunity presents itself to all those budding photographers in Jeddah. A mobile app startup company called StringFly is launching a National Heritage project in major cities around the world. Although starting as an app company, they are now in the early stages of building a user website, part of which will be a world map people can discover real time content on.
They are seeking qualified images of architectural landmarks from cities all over the world, and this is where you come in. They are looking for local photographers who care about the architecture and heritage of their cities to work with them.
How it works
If this is something you may be interested in, then go ahead and register and download the app here. Once the app is downloaded, you will then be able to use your username and password to login to your web account at StringFly and upload a few sample images depicting the types of buildings listed above. You can also use images taken previously from a conventional camera.
They will be choosing, based on quality criteria, from among the photographers who participate in the first phase and will offer many among them the opportunity to participate in the second phase where you will be asked to take and upload images using the StringFly app, for which they will pay cash rewards in exchange for all requested qualifying images.
Light and Shade Photography is inviting entrants to its ‘Light and Shade Kids on Eid Competition” on Facebook. The theme of the competition is ‘Eid’, and the photograph submitted must be of a child upto 10 years old.
To enter the competition, you need to submit each photo in a separate post on their Facebook page along with a caption, the name and age of the child, and the place taken. The last date for submission is the 30th of August 2012. Light and Shade will then open the competition to the public. The picture with the maximum ‘likes’ on Facebook will win.
Good luck to all participants!
A feeling of elation, a rush of excitement. Discovering a hidden treasure evokes such feelings as these, and this is exactly what I feel every time I walk into a little hidden gem of a shop called Hamed Carpets.
The wondrous store is jam-packed with exotic souvenirs and handicrafts from Saudi Arabia and all over the world, and for those who have already experienced the disappointment in finding keepsakes for loved ones from Jeddah, this treasure trove is the perfect place to hunt.
From antique locks to intricate trinket boxes, beautifully carved antique furniture and handmade rugs to glittering baubles, Hamed Carpets has all one could wish for, and more. There is even a gorgeous traditional wooden swing begging to be bought and lovingly displayed in one’s home.
So, next time you would like to aesthetically treat yourself, or purchase some pre-vacation souvenirs, or simply browse away while time flies past, head to Hamed Carpets tucked away on the top floor of the City Plaza (also known as the Dome Plaza) on Prince Sultan Street, and indulge to your heart’s content.
Several of our readers took a stroll through Balad guided by some young Hejazi volunteers. It was a perfect Thursday afternoon, and the colourful group with people from different corners of the world snaked through the old heart of the city with their cameras. The visit ended with a climb up to the rooftop of Bait Nasseef, where the group settled down to rest their limbs and to exchange informal introductions. Some pictures of this last stop.
– Asif Mahmud