AZYÄ Takes Saudi Arabia
Travel is good for soul. It satisfies so many appetites and curiosities. Our thirst to learn about different customs, traditions and celebrations. Our desire to meet and mingle with the locals. The thrill of walking and navigating new lands and languages. And let’s not forget the food - street food, home cooked meals, internationally recognised restaurants.
Our recent trip to Saudi Arabia is our first travel blog of many (we hope). Seeing it's winter at the moment in the Middle East, we did expect cool winds; however, what we didn't anticipate was how kind and generous the Saudi people are. They won’t call you a taxi when you ask. They will personally drive you to your destination. If you are seen waiting, you are offered dates and beverages to keep you hydrated in the elements.
Sand everywhere. Long stretches of road with nothing but sand dunes on either side. Something out of a movie. One morning we accidently left our apartment window open and when we returned that evening, our apartment was covered with a thin blanket of these glorious grains. The naturally formed sand ripples in the Arabian Desert were nothing short of spectacular. So inspired by nature's beauty, we added the colour ‘sand’ to our mood board.
The beautiful brown-beige backdrop perfectly set off the bright colours at the cultural festival we attended. The Arabian music was familiar yet foreign. Watching the local children preform and the men play traditional instruments was so uplifting. Everyone was so warm and hospitable – so much that it reminded us of our communities back home. We spotted a rich appreciation for fashion, although the men and women were mostly covered in traditional outer-layers, it seems designer bags and shoes is the standard.
Time just seemed to go much slower in Saudi. People were not rushing to and from places. They stopped to say hello and have a friendly chat or to offer help if we looked lost or to just appreciate the weather. This served as a gentle reminder to be present and mindful, without judgement or bias, but rather acceptance and appreciation for the moment, engaging all of our senses to help soak up the now.
A wonderful experience we will remember and hold close to our hearts. Thank you to the Arabian people for being so welcoming and a special thanks to our host Essam.