The Lion Tombs of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is a surprising country. You never know what archeological treasures you are going to find when wondering around in the desert. Take for example these tombs.  They are located about 1 kilometer from the archeological site of Dedan and they date back to 5th century BCE. They are called the Lion Tombs not…

Mada’in Saleh Tombs

If you get the chance to visit Saudi Arabia, you need to visit the Mada’in Saleh tombs. The tombs are similar to the ones found in Petra, but unlike Petra, they currently don’t get a lot of visitors, which means there isn’t much security (actually no security that I could see).  And at the moment,…

Hejaz: Not your average race

Runners are a strange breed. It doesn’t matter where I live, it seems we unintentionally are drawn to each other. It starts with a sleepy nod in the early morning as you pass a fellow runner in silence during your pre-dawn training. It then extends to “likes” on Instagram and local Facebook running groups as…

Partaking in History at Saudi ComicCon

  Did someone say ComicCon? They did…and I was there. This past weekend marked the first ever ComicCon event in Saudi Arabia and it was pretty amazing. It took place in Jeddah and the guests included Charles Dance and Julian Glover from “Game of Thrones”, Giancarlo Esposito from “Breaking Bad” and one of the world’s…

The Strange World of Old Jeddah

  Walking in Old Jeddah (also known as Al-Balad) is like going back in time, but strangely that time really isn’t all that long ago. While parts of it were built in the 7th Century as a route for the pilgrims on their way to Mecca, other parts were built just a 100 years ago….

Art scene in Saudi Arabia

People always seem to be surprised that art (and really good art) exists in Saudi Arabia.  There may be certain restrictions due to Muslim religion, but art can still bloom within restrictions.  And often what comes out are powerful and memorizing images that speak to you. This was the case of the Maïmouna Guerresi’s  Solo Exhibition…

Saying Farewell to Saudi Arabia

At KAUST wearing my favorite yellow abaya When I moved to Saudi Arabia in 2014 to work at KAUST, I had no idea what to expect…and I had no idea I would like it so much. I met such wonderful people and learned so much about the culture, their humor, their creativity and their challenges….

Inspired by a great mind who studies brain energy

Tea, stuffed toy mice and stimulating conversation around the desk of Prof. Pierre Magistretti When I was six years old, someone told me that we only use 10 percent of our brains.  After that I was determined to use 15 percent of mine just to beat that statistic.  Whether I’ve actually achieved that or not…

Walking through history in Al-Balad in Jeddah

Sometimes I can’t believe that I live in this amazing place. There is so much history to Jeddah and when you ask the people who grew up here they just shrug and think I’m crazy for thinking it’s so cool. Just like we don’t look twice at the black squirrels that live in Toronto, these…

And then there was this crater…

At 4 a.m. on a Saturday morning, most people are sleeping.  But not my friends.This Sunday in August, we are up and already on the road in an effort to beat the heat of the Arabian Desert. It was still dark out and already 38 degrees Celsius, but we had a quest. We were going to…

Did someone say Whale Sharks?

Each spring between March and May, the staff, faculty and students of KAUST frolic around the professors of the Red Sea Research Center for the chance to go on a Whale Shark diving expedition. Sadly, I was not one of them – or rather I “tried” to be one them, but by the time I…

VIDEO MOMENT: Camels!!!!

Yes, I’m a tourist. I can’t resist getting out my camera when I see a camel just wandering the desert.

Abayas: A Whole New Fashion Item to Explore

When coming to Saudi Arabia and starting at KAUST, I was concerned about the abaya and making sure I bought one the right one. So I did some research- which mainly involved trying to see what women were wearing on the local news sites. From what I could gather, they were wearing plain black robes…

Picnic under the moon

Midnight in some countries is witching hour, but not in Saudi. Here midnight is beach time – and I find it just as magical. I don’t know how they do it as I’m ready for bed at midnight, but if you drive along the corniche in Jeddah at that time, you will find the shores…

Fun and Food at Janadriyah

Saudi Arabia is so far been one amazing experience after another, and last weekend’s Janadriyah Festival was not the exception.  I have absolutely no regrets moving here. The people have been very welcoming and the country is one that needs to be lived in to truly appreciate the beauty it has to offer. Me holding…

Learning How to Shop Saudi-style

The malls in Saudi Arabia are incredible – and gigantic.  I’ve only been to the ones in Jeddah, but I’ve been told the ones in Riydah are just as fantastic.   They are multi-leveled and have interesting things in them like a full-scale amusement park, a snow village where it actually snows fake snow, tropical lagoons,…

A warm welcome from old town Jeddah

Wednesday was my first day at work and already I got to visit Jeddah, which is the nearest city to KAUST and the second biggest one in the country with 4.1 million people.   Jeddah is currently having its first cultural festival in the city’s old Balad area and I went to check it out with…

Where the Heck Are You and What is KAUST?

The canal and the student dorms. Okay, I’ve been getting lots of questions from all of you so I thought I would answer a few of them. I’ve already answered the “Do you have to be covered all the time” question and the  “Can you still text me at KAUST” question in previous blogs.  So…

Texting and Email: Communicating from Saudi Arabia

People forget that Saudi Arabia is considered a newly industrialized country. It’s modern and very tech savvy. So yes, internet works fine and it’s fast. APPS TO USE TO TEXT (FOR FREE) Texting also works – but I would have to pay extra for overseas texts….I think. I might be wrong on this, but because…

To Wear or Not to Wear the Robe and Veil

Me in my Abaya (and really bad hair) Before moving to Saudi Arabia, I skyped, emailed and phoned numerous women who had lived at KAUST or were still living there. I wanted to know what it was like to be a woman living in the area – and if I would have to wear the…

Simple Pleasures of British Airways

I’m now into hour 2 of my 9 hour red-eye flight from Phoenix to London and I am loving British Airways. Except for the unexpected $95 free for having a second suitcase (only 1 bag is allowed), the service has been fab. First of all there is free wine with dinner. Yay! Then free dinner….

Moving overseas is not Easy-Peasy

My pilot’s name is George Michael. Not THE George Michael, but still I find this amusing. Finally I am on my way to Saudi and the preparations have been crazy – from the intense medical exam, to the rush of selling everything I own, to the emotional heart break of saying goodbye to my friends,…