We spent last weekend in Riyadh attending Janadriyah Festival. Janadriyah celebrates Saudi history, customs, crafts, music, and culture in general. We estimate that there were at least 80,000 people in attendance, and of that we saw only four other westerners. It was amazing! The Saudi people we met (every single one of them) could not have been more welcoming, hospitable, informative, and kind. It was an extremely humbling and educational experience to be in a situation in which we were not in the majority. We felt privileged to have the opportunity to attend the festival.
While we were eating our picnic dinner, Harper walked over to a group of completely covered women and plopped herself in one of their laps! They gave her lots of sweets and took lots of pictures of her. It made us wonder if a man in a thobe and his covered wife were to attend a 4th of July festival in the States, whether they would receive such a kind and hospitable welcome. We are discovering that travel is an amazing education because it allows you to see your own cultural heritage in a new light. By better understanding others we see how much we have in common and how interconnected we are. I think the world would be a better place if people traveled more.
I had some of the roasted lamb in "Kabsa" a meal with roasted meat served over rice and often eaten communally with one's hands.
A man demonstrating traditional weaving techniques.
Traditional Saudi sandals. These are very popular and you see people wearing them everywhere. I have a couple of pairs myself.
Islamic prayer beads.
Our sweet little ambassador.