Saudi Panorama

Here is my first Picture’s Panorama in Saudi. It should gives you an overview of my life here in the first two months. Beginning from next month, I will post a monthly panorama. My goal from these panorama is to give you a 360 view on people’s lives and expose you to a different people, different thoughts and different realities in a short sentences or in a collection of pictures. During my time in USA, I was able to meet people from all different faiths, races, sexes and countries. Here in Saudi, all people are Saudi. They are all Muslims. Men don’t encounter or talk with women freely and openly. However, I will try to my best to meet different people and share their stories and thoughts here.

  • I ,in a discussion with my brother about my life in USA, my impression of life here in Saudi, and my plan for the future.


  • I normally upload many Arabic poems in my IPhone so I can read them and try to memorize while I am waiting or walking.

  • In the first week, I went to renew my governmental ID and I was shocked with this mess. You have to wait on long line to get an application first, then on another line to get your application reviewed, then in another line to take a picture, then you are good to go. This process normally takes 4 hours or even more.


  • I took this picture while I was in the car. My city is known for being the city of farms. However, in this picture, some of the dates palms have been cut down.

  • Here is the picture of my nephew while he was trying to drink his tea ๐Ÿ™‚ he is the funnest kid in my family ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I went to mosque in Ramadan. Mosques are the place to promote a spirituality and understanding. Unfortunately, some mosques became a place for promoting hate and political propaganda.

  • You know me, I can’t survive without a coffee! Finally I found a Seattle’s Best Coffee in a Dammam Mall.

  • My brother, Mustafa, in a Thoab store to make his thab for Al-Eid.

  • A picture of a random street in Alhassa while I was in a car.

  • I went to Jarir Bookstore to buy some books. I am trying to increase my reading rate as possibly as I can. Please let me know if you have any book that you think I should put in my reading list.

  • In a juice’s shop. Everything here is natural 100%

  • In Ramdan, I was invited by many of my friends ย for Iftar (breakfast). A lot of food to eat, and I have small stomach for it, but I am gaining more weights which is really good ๐Ÿ™‚

  • In Alrashid’s mall, it is the only mall that allows single men to enter along with women. A lot of flirting and love stories happens there!

  • My nephews dancing together. I love kids and I never got bored of playing with them.

  • Rice and meat are the main meal of the day in Saudi.

  • My nephew, Hadi. He was a child when I came to USA in 2005 and look at how fast he grew up.

  • In Aljawazat, to renew my passport. It is a complete chaos. It made me question whether or not we live in 21st century.

  • Reading a magazine about sport’s fanaticism

  • In Alhassa’s train station, waiting for my train to Riyadh. Men and women are separated in the waiting area. The sign says (waiting for men)

  • I met some of my old friends with whom I have studied in Portland.

  • My father has a small farm and all my family during a special occasion like Al-Eid gets together in the farm. Here is the picture of my nephews (Ahmed and Hussain) in the farm.

  • In Al-Eid, people wear the best clothes they have, to go, meet and hug each other. The Eid gives you a feeling of brotherhood and love.

  • Here is my favorite breakfast meal, Alosho. I have been dreaming about eating this for five years and finally the dream became true ๐Ÿ™‚

  • A car accident with a gas track. The firemen who always comes late, were trying to save lives. I normally don’t like taking picture of car accidents but I took this picture very quickly for the sake of this post.

  • In the first week of Al-Eid, I read this headline in the Alyom newspaper. It says ย ” In the first days of Al-Eid, a husband congratulate his wife for Al-Eid with (You are divorced!)” !!!

  • I went to cemetery to visit the grave of my cousin. He died in a car accident when I was in USA. The view of the cemetery is kind of sad and scary. Some people comes to cemetery from time to time to remind themselves of the fact that one day, they will be here alone forever, with no family, no money, no fame!

  • Here is the Saudi side of me. I wore the Qatra with the Thoab in the Eid. I am very bad in wearing the Qatra, I can’t hold it on my head for a long time!

13 thoughts on “Saudi Panorama”

  1. Wow, I LOVED this post! It’s so interesting to live your life through these pictures and descriptions! Do you find it difficult to adjust to being segregated again and being around mostly (only) Saudis and Muslims after having been in the US for five years?

    I was amazed at all that food! And that juice bar looks like a great place to get something refreshing. I was curious about people wearing their best for the Eid and then seeing guys in those white thobes. They all seem similar, don’t they? I guess I think of wearing your best clothes as dressing up, but I guess this is Saudi’s version of a suit and tie? You look great in your qatra by the way. ๐Ÿ™‚

    And I really love the pictures of your nieces and nephews though I think it’s a nephew drinking the tea, right? (I’m pretty sure I read “niece” and “he” together, but it looks more like a “nephew” than a “she.” ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

    I love hearing about books you are reading. Do let us know if you read some interesting ones. You already know which one I just finished from Twitter. ๐Ÿ˜€

    So that man granted his wife a divorce for Eid? Or did he surprise her with it? That seems rather tasteless and mean if it’s the latter. Especially for a religious holiday…hmmm.

    Anyway, loved this post. I’ve missed your panorama posts and hope you will do more of these from time to time. Always good hearing from you!

  2. nice post .. you asked for recommended reading ..
    the one i read in ramadan was “the true believer..some thoughts on mass movements” translated by Dr. Gazi Alquseebi ุงู„ู…ุคู…ู† ุงู„ุตุงุฏู‚: ู†ุธุฑุฉ ุญูˆู„ ุงู„ุญุฑูƒุงุช ุงู„ุฌู…ุงู‡ูŠุฑูŠุฉ
    ุชุฑุฌู…ุฉ ุบุงุฒูŠ ุงู„ู‚ุตูŠุจูŠ

  3. after three months, you made the waiting worthwhile. i liked this post very much.

    it is like ‘life in saudi from a saudi’…sounds exclusive! will be waiting for your next panorama.

    btw, eid mubarak murtadha!

  4. Welcome back to the EP! I didn’t know you were from this area, but recognize many of the locations in this great post. I hope your transition back to all things Saudi is smooth and joy-filled. I hope also you continue to share your thoughtful words and insights with the rest of us. Be well and take care – SGIME

    And belated Eid Mubarek!

  5. A wonderful post that bears revisiting many times!

    Some of what you write reminds me of being in Morocco when a Moroccan friend visited there after 7 years away. He went on about the changes, which were true (some I had seen in 2-3 years), but didn’t realize that he also saw his country and city with new eyes.

    It is a very illuminating though sometimes uncomfortable process.

    I look forward to more posts from the EP! ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. Oh, This is interesting posts and loved it to know about KSA life. Do you have any difficulties to adjust your life between KSA and USA? Having reverse culture shock ?
    I think that wearing a thowb is uncomfortable to walk around isn’t it? I imagine it is like a Kimono which can’t walk freely because of the tighten by Obi (Like a belt) ..
    Anyway, you seems enjoying life back to Saudi. and looking forward to see your next post. Salaam.

  7. “It made me question whether or not we live in 21st century.”

    I think you do, but they (the beauracracy) does not.

  8. Murtadha! So nice to see you posting again! I guess you’ve been busy making up for the 5 years you were away. Loved your post.

  9. I liked this.. If I were to read about ksa via google it’s all very generalized.. It’s really how people interact that makes countries so different & u can see that more personal view in posts like this.
    & the food!!! I was thinking; you should write a book. Maybe you should start with a recipe book;) that alosho kind of looks like cream of wheat with refried beans? Gosh, and the separation.. I can’t imagine. That’d be cool for a few days a month, but thats about it. I don’t know who I’d be if I hadn’t grown up playing with a bunch of boys. It’s weird. Our home countries have such different ways, but both ways have their ups and downs. I could go on & on.. But I’ve got stuff to do! Anyhoo, I’m glad u got to experience a good stay in Portland!

  10. This is a wonderful post! I love the pictures and the text to each one of them. I have been living in KSA since March and I enjoy getting to know this country as much as I can.

    Regards, Emma

  11. It’s my first time reading your blog and I really like it !
    Apparently, you are from Dammam ?
    Thank you so much for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

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