Saturday, July 18, 2015

Tower of Raghaba - The Sequel

Be Vigilant, for nothing one achieves lasts forever.
~ Tahar Ben Jelloun

Back in February, 2011, I brought you a small story about the tower of Raghaba...     

Raghaba is a very small village, roughly an hours drive North West of Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia. The most defining bit of architecture of Raghaba, in my eyes, was a graceful tower, reaching for the sky, with a stairway spiraling upwards inside narrowing severely at the top. Unfortunately, rains this year have brought the tower tumbling down, and the village has lost a great piece of it's history. 

I don't have any clue as to how old this tower was, but it was stunning in it's simplicity of design. One could climb up inside the tower, and light would enter through small openings that were spaced all the way up along the staircase. At the time I was there, I was only able to climb partway to the top. I had vowed that I would return to conquer the tower, but I never had the opportunity to return for that climb, and now, sadly that opportunity will never be mine. 

Grab life's gifts when they are offered, my friends. For when we wait, we may very well lose our chance. Nothing lasts forever...

Monday, March 9, 2015

ISTANBUL.....The mere name is evocative of mazes of bazaars, exotic spices, palaces, minarets, and the call to prayer. What I wasn't prepared for was the intensity of color, the absolute vibrancy of life in the streets! 

The sights and sounds of Istanbul are staggeringly beautiful! For years I have wanted to see this gorgeous city, and it was well worth the wait! Istanbul doesn't disappoint!
I had the opportunity to stay in the older part of the city, just a stones throw from Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace. Impressive architecture everywhere you look. 

Galata Tower in the distance is a medieval stone tower in the Galata/Karakoy quarter of Istanbul, just off the Bosphorus. 

 The Blue Mosque....  It is hauntingly beautiful when the call to prayer begins from the multitude of mosques. each voice echoing and reverberating throughout the entire area. 


Color surrounds and astounds.... pottery, carpets, towels, clothes, and lights! Everywhere lights!  

Texture...  Absolutely sumptuous! I would love to fill my entire house with these pillows! 

Antique Carpet Market... Yes, I ended up with a couple, and yes, I  probably over paid.... but they are so lovely!

Lights! I simply love all of the chandeliers throughout the city. Beautiful and functional!

Tradition and superstition... Trinkets and jewelry to ward off evil eye. Really taken more in fun.....

Vibrant... Scarves and pashminas are not only colorful and beautiful, but in the cold winter months are a true necessity when walking in the cold wind. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Eating is one of the great joys of life. I am not alone in this line of thought. Italian fashion designer, Elsa Schiaparelli, said "Eating is not merely a material pleasure. Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life and contributes immensely to goodwill and happy companionship. It is of great importance to the morale"
I couldn't have said it better myself!

One of my favorite restaurants in Riyadh is Al-Feshawi. It serves a wide variety of Egyptian dishes that are hearty and delicious, and guaranteed to satisfy.

 For a fresh start to your meal, try the Jarjir (arugula) salad. Topped with a slightly tangy dressing, along with mild white cheese, this salad, alongside a dish of mixed pickles, wakes up your taste buds and gets you ready for your meal.

 Creamy, buttery lentil soup, stuffed grape and cabbage leaves, and minced kabab are standard orders for my family. All full of natural flavor, and very delicious. The stuffed grape leaves are not the usual cold, lemony type, but rather they are ordered hot, and they are overstuffed with rice. Very filling.

A personal favorite of mine, rice topped with almonds, raisins, and bits of chicken liver. Perhaps not to everyone's taste, but the rice is cooked to perfection, and the balance of sweet raisins, salty liver, and crunchy almonds leaves me happy every time!

The kabab is my daughter's favorite, and I will say, it is one of the best places for kabab in Riyadh. It is meatier, less fatty than many other places, and it is seasoned just right. 

 The cabbage leaves are soft and filled to bursting with tender rice, tomato sauce, and seasonings. So satisfying!

Look at that fruit salad! Who needs dessert when you can have bits of fresh apple, orange, pineapple, melon in season, all swimming in a very light syrup! The perfect end to a perfect meal.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

What I found in Khobar one morning.....

The Bizarre....

The Macabre...

The Incongruous...

The Sensual...

And the Festive...

If you went walking in your area, what would YOU expect to find???

Friday, September 23, 2011

Beautiful Decay

The old area of any city is automatically my favorite place to go sightseeing. It gives me a window to the past, an idea of what was, and is (in the case of preservation), important to it's people.

The abundance of beautiful woodwork and design shows the expert workmanship of the past.

But while beauty was important to the people of Jeddah, as is seen by the artistry and the craftsmanship of the balconies and facades, it was not the only objective.

The open spaces and the lattice work is a case of form meeting function.

In a time when no modern air conditioning was available, this very beautiful balcony would allow this building's occupants to open doors and windows in order to enjoy a soft sea breeze, while protecting their privacy.

Although we can see the ravages of time on some of these buildings, their beauty remains, eternal.

The next time you see a work of art, whether arcitectural or otherwise, take a close look and see what is behind the design.

There may just be more than meets the eye.   : )

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Color My World...

I adore COLOR! I thrive on color! Color makes me happy and fuels my imagination! Living in Saudi Arabia, it is sometimes easy to think in terms of shades of beige and taupe. Houses, Sand, Stone, etc. So I have gone on an expedition to find the random bits of color in Riyadh.

The first thing I came across of interest was this bench outside someones home. What a nice idea! A resting spot in the shade of a wall for those days when some person, or very likely some cat, just needs to take a moment to catch their breath.....
And looking at the wall behind the bench, you can really appreciate what a bright spark of color that turquoise and mustard makes on that street!

A few minutes later, this row of rooms in the process of being torn down caught my eye. Pink, red, yellow, lavender, cream, and turquoise. You can't get much more colorful than that in an empty lot!

This is the window of an Indian restaurant in town. I absolutely love the window, and the building, but it looks like it would host an art studio or exhibit much more fittingly than it does the restaurant.

These intense blue tiles are another hit of color in this deeply hued brick building. They are very small (I'm guessing 2"X2" tiles) but very effective in livening up what otherwise might be a very forgetable spot.

Last are these blue on blue Arabesque tiles at the foot of some steps. Fantastic! I am now convinced that Riyadh is not as devoid of color as I once thought..... I just have to look in the right places.