Saudi Arabia: Gratitude for the Spam Filter



I don’t know exactly how a spam filter really works but I am very appreciative of what it does.  American Bedu blog easily receives in excess of 500 spam comments per day.  Thankfully the spam filter works well.

If I had not set the blog up so that first time commenter’s went into moderation, this blog would be a mess full of spam.

Somehow I envision the internet as these long waterways with many channels going off into differing directions.  Within these waterways are the spam which are like aggressive little sperm swimming by the thousands if not millions into the different channels such as blogs.

American Bedu wishes to give readers a small sampling of what they are thankfully missing:

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I’m certain you also notice a certain theme to the typical spam.  However, what you do not see and will not see is that most of these comments are generally associated with a URL of an inappropriate web site.  In addition, most of these comments seem to be written in response to the ‘Dear Bedu,’ Debate Page or other posts which are non-related to the spam comment.

Ahhhh, the joys of maintaining a blog!

Saudi Arabia: Fluffy the Comedian Visits Saudi Arabia

I’ve had a series of serious posts on sensitive issues so I decided it was time for something light and entertaining.

This 24 minute video is worth watching in its duration and guaranteed to put a smile on your face!


Saudi Arabia: Will Women Really be able to Ride Bikes?

bike riding


It’s making all the local (and some international) headlines that the Ministry for the Protection of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (aka Muttawa or Religious Police) may lift the existing ban which prohibits women from riding motorcycles or bikes.  However, don’t hold your breath for there are a lot of caveats with the lifting of the ban.  Women could only ride a bike or motorcycle for “recreational purposes” and only in restricted recreational areas.  They must not ride the transport where they could cross the path of young men who would try to harass them.

So while the headlines may sound like a milestone in actually this is what has been in existence for quite some time; any female who rides a bike or motorcycle only does so in a restricted area.

Let’s think about it…how could a woman ride a bike or motorcycle in any kind of a public area wearing a long abaya?  That would be foolhardy.  It is sad that a ban could not be lifted that truly benefits a woman and allows her a form of conveyance (without the fear of harassment by a man) that she could utilize for transportation rather than pay for a driver or depend on a male family member.

What do you think?  Is this a milestone or a big to do about nothing?

Saudi Arabia: Mark Your Calendar’s for Janadriyah

janadriyah 2013


It’s almost Janadriyah time!  The Janadriyah festival is the annual highlight for both Saudis and expatriates in the Kingdom.  It is the annual cultural festival which showcases the traditions and customs of each Province within the Kingdom.  It is the best event that is produced and held in the Kingdom and provides the best image of Saudi Arabia.

The Janadriyah festival begins on 04 April and will last for 17 days.  There will be separate hours and/or days for men, women and families so be sure to check out the schedule.

Each year the Janadriyah festival will have special events oftentimes featuring different countries with which Saudi Arabia has special relationships.  This year the Janadriyah festival will feature a 2,000 square meter China Pavilion.  In addition to Saudi Arabia, visitors will also receive a taste of China.  The China Pavilion will feature traditional Chinese handicrafts, artifacts, clothes and textiles, along with modern products using state-of-art methods and devices of display.

camel race


Another hallmark of the Janadriyah Festival will be the annual camel race.  This race will have participants from throughout the GCC, Sudan and of course, Saudi Arabia and showcase the different camels.

The first four days starting Tuesday, April 4 through Sunday, April 7 will be for single men and the remaining 12 days will be for families, from 4 p.m. to 12 midnight. Students have been allotted three hours starting 9 a.m. during April 6 to 10.

The Janadriyah festival is one event anyone in the Kingdom or who is able to travel to the Kingdom will not want to miss.  It’s too bad Saudi Arabia does not allow tourism visas for the Janadriyah festival showcases the best of the Kingdom and could bring in thousands of visitors to the Kingdom just for this specific event.

Saudi Arabia: Saudi’s First Flash Mob!


Other than the fact it is only men participating, this flash mob could have taken place in just about anywhere in the world.  It featured music, dancing and individuals having a great time.  What makes this flash mob unique, is that it took place in conservative Saudi Arabia where dancing and music are usually prohibited in public places.  Yet in this flash mob, you do not see a single member from the Ministry of the Protection of Virtual and Prevention of Vice (Muttawa) on site.  Instead, it is people who are all enjoying themselves and having a good time.  Yes; when panning to the crowd the women are wearing abayas but in most cases have not covered their face.  There are young men wearing shorts and many others in typical Western dress as seen in New York, London or Paris.  This event was part of a promotion for a company based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.  While it may not be what some would view as a “traditional” flash mob, it is a flash mob Saudi style which was undoubtedly a success!

Saudi Arabia: Panorama Mall – A Place to Avoid?


I am beginning to think that Panorama Mall is a place to avoid.  It is among one of the oldest malls in Riyadh and that is emphasized by attitudes and incidents.

I’d been to Panorama Mall several times while I lived in Riyadh as it was not too far from my house.  However, my husband and I went there more to just walk around.  I don’t recall having ever bought anything from that mall.  We did enjoy watching the children having a good time with its amusement center which was one of the nicer features of the mall.

However, after hearing how a dear friend of mine and her husband were physically hassled when leaving the mall helped me make up my mind that this was not a mall I’d recommended to others.

That opinion has now been further reaffirmed by the latest incident which has occurred at Panorama Mall.  I mentioned that its saving grace was the amusement center for children?  The amusement center was so well-known it was not unusual for some schools to make a special trip there.



Sadly, 12 children from the Manaret school for  boys were taken to the hospital in late February after one of the rides inside the amusement center at Panorama mall malfunctioned.  The incident happened so quickly that all bystanders were taken by surprise and in shock.  To further compound matters, the staff were not trained on how to respond to such an incident either.

The ride malfunctioned and the young boys were thrown from their seats.  Two of the boys were seriously injured.

Young Muhammad was one of the boys from Manaret school and present when the accident occurred.  “It was field trip to Panorama mall.  My friends went in to the ride that vertically goes up and down and something was loose from inside so from up the ride came crashing down. I know this because they are my class fellows and ,i was also in that trip.”

Panorama Mall has closed down the ride and an investigation into the incident is still pending.  However, this begs the question, are the rides within Panorama Mall and other amusement facilities in the Kingdom safe?  What kind of inspections and maintenance work are done?  How well qualified are the staff operating these rides and what training, if any, do they receive in basic or advanced first aid?

No Snow in Saudi Arabia? There is Now, and Skiing Too

American Bedu Guest Post by Lily Lowton:

Middle Eastern nations are not renowned for their love of snow sports, given that there is very little snow fall in these hot, dusty countries. Saying that, sometimes things the unexpected does happen, and only a couple of months ago the mountain regions of northwest Saudi Arabia was treated to some very rare snowfall to the delight of locals living there. The usual lack of snow here does not mean the people have no desire to try exhilarating activities like skiing, snowboarding, or tobogganing. For the people of Saudi Arabia, hitting the slopes means heading off to colder climates on ski holidays, but this is all set to change. Inspired by the success of Ski Dubai’s’ 22,500 square meter indoor ski resort, complete with real snow, ski-lifts, and even jumps, Saudi Arabia are now ready to bring snow sports home. Skiing, snowboarding, and tobogganing will be found all under one roof at a new indoor snow village that could trump all the other indoor ski slopes out there in the desert.

Al Qasr

A Snow Village in a Super Mall

The brand new Al Qasr Mall opened little more than 6 months ago, located within one of Saudi Arabia’s international hubs, the city of Riyadh. It is here that the new snow village will be built, thanks to a deal between the huge construction firm Dar Al Arkan and the Al Othaim Investment and Teal Estate Development Company. Now this isn’t the first attempt at bringing snow to Riyadh, as there is already a ‘Snow World’ in the city, on King Abdulla Street opposite the Al Ameer Salman Center. It is possible to ski here, but there is no ski-lift on the slope and it is depressingly short. The new snow village planned will be “the first indoor snow village of its type,” according to a statement issued by its developers. It has also been revealed that a 10,693 square meter area of the Al Qasr mall has been set aside for the new snow village, but little else is known about the development.

Real Saudi Ski Resorts

While an indoor ski resort in Saudi Arabia is a realistic idea, a more unbelievable and exciting suggestion would be actual outdoor ski resorts, but believe it or not it could happen. Saudi entrepreneurs have seen the demand for snow sports facilities in the country, and have actually attempted to build ski resorts in mountainous areas of southwest Saudi Arabia, next to the border with Yemen. The plan is to use snow making machines to provide the snow, but as it stands there are still no ski resorts in Saudi Arabia… yet.

The Next Best Thing?

While you may be forgiven in thinking that there simply cannot be that much demand for skiing and snowboarding in Saudi Arabia, think again. Sure, the lack of consistent snow stops most people in their tracks, but some innovative, and perhaps crazy, people have thought outside the box when it comes to getting the thrills enjoyed while skiing. One Austrian ski instructor missed the snow so much while in Saudi Arabia he decided to have a go at what he must have thought to be the next best thing… heading into the desert and see if he could find a slope of sand to slide down. The video below captures his commendable attempt.

As you can see, this does not quite cut it, and something a little more extreme was thought up by some daredevil locals. A car and some sandal with wheels attached were all these guys needed to replicate skiing Saudi style.

An Expats Delight

With plenty of expats living and working in Saudi Arabia, missing the snow could become a thing of the past once the new indoor slope is finished. Being able to slip into those ski boots after work and spend an hour improving your carving skills a few weeks before heading off to the Alps will surely be welcomed. You never know, it is always possible that Saudi Arabia will begin to breed its own snow sports superstars of the future, but perhaps that is going a little too far. One thing that does seem sure though, is that skiing in the desert is now here to stay.


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