Blue Abaya » Journey Through the Magic Kingdom

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The National Museum, which is part of the King Abdul Aziz Historical center in Riyadh, is one of the largest in the Middle East and undoubtedly the most famous and most visited museum in Saudi Arabia. An impressive collection of artifacts, scriptures and antiquities are inside this two story building covering 28,000 square feet.  The […]

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  • […] Visit King Abdulaziz Historical Center & surroundings Visit the National Museum, Murabba Palace, the historical buildings, Public Library, King Abdulaziz mosque and Memorial Hall and browse the surrounding beautiful parks complete with fountains and picnic areas. Nearby also the water tower with a viewing platform and a small amusement park located next to it. Check out Blue Abaya’s Guide to the National Museum here. […]ReplyCancel

Al-Balad, which literally translates to “The City”, is the historical area of Saudi-Arabia’s second largest city Jeddah. Founded in the 7th century, Balad historically served as the city center of Jeddah until the big oil boom when most families started moving out the area. Al Balad Historical District, which was just recently added into the UNESCO […]

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  • OPNOAugust 17, 2014 - 7:02 am

    I LOVE the architecture there! I one day HAVE TO GO….ReplyCancel

    • LaylaAugust 18, 2014 - 11:55 am

      Yes, it’s so unique! I hope you get to go there soon!ReplyCancel

  • GracieAugust 19, 2014 - 12:06 am

    Excellent photographes once again ms Layla! You are a spokesperson for the Saudi Kingdom.
    People like me would never find out about these place if not visiting your site.

    Thank you and keep sharing!ReplyCancel

It’s been quiet around here lately! Blue Abaya has been MIA while enjoying a nice relaxing break midst the Finnish summer. Every year we visit my home country Finland, where my family speeds most of the time at a so called ‘summerhouse’, typical for Finns to retreat to during the very short-lived Finnish summer. Normally […]

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  • […] Filed in: destination | Finland | photography | Top Ten | tourism | travel29 comments This past week I’ve spent vacationing in Finland with my family. It’s holiday season up North and we went to Lapland to enjoy the christmas holiday break. Lapland is truly a wonderful and magical place. I wanted to share with you 10 amazing things from our Lapland trip. You’ll notice most of the images don’t have much sunshine in them and the images are blue. This is due to the fact that the sun doesn’t rise very high above the horizon during winter months. In the northernmost parts of Lapland, inside the Arctic circle, they experience 2 months of darkness. In other words there’s no sunrise at all during that entire period of time! But it makes the place even more magical to me. During the Finnish summer on the other hand, the situation turns upside down and the sun doesn’t for for a whole two months, which is the origin of the ‘Midnight Sun’. For photos of the beauty of Finnish summer, go here. […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Filed in: destination | Finland | photography | Top Ten | tourism | travel29 comments This winter we were lucky to be able to spend quality time with family, vacationing in Northern Finland . It’s holiday season up North and we went to Lapland to enjoy the christmas holiday break. Lapland is truly a wonderful and magical place. I wanted to share with you 10 amazing things from our Lapland trip. You’ll notice most of the images don’t have much sunshine in them and the images are blue. This is due to the fact that the sun doesn’t rise very high above the horizon during winter months. In the northernmost parts of Lapland, inside the Arctic circle, they experience 2 months of darkness. In other words there’s no sunrise at all during that entire period of time! But it makes the place even more magical to me. During the Finnish summer on the other hand, the situation turns upside down and the sun doesn’t for for a whole two months, which is the origin of the ‘Midnight Sun’. For photos of the beauty of Finnish summer, go here. […]ReplyCancel

There are several posts on Blue Abaya under the category Ramadan and I thought it’s a good idea to gather them all together in one place. The first post of Ramadan is back from 2010 when the blog began and it’s called ‘Magic Month in the Kingdom‘. A good read for those not familiar with […]

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  • My WebsiteJuly 21, 2014 - 2:35 am

    I am just shifting web hosting service businesses and wish to transfer my WordPress blogs Blogs and forums around. Does anybody are aware of an easy way to accomplish this? .ReplyCancel

My dearest daughter and son, While you’re both fast asleep in your beds napping, I’m thinking about the two of you, here in a hospital bed waiting for spinal surgery. All kinds of thoughts are running through my head. You both are always my first concern and I can’t help thinking of what were to […]

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  • Ciara HigginsJune 16, 2014 - 1:30 pm


  • Jodi Braithwaite StrongJune 16, 2014 - 1:44 pm

    Beautifully said. I trust your surgery will be successful and you’ll have many more years in which to pass on these values.ReplyCancel

  • Karen CrociJune 16, 2014 - 2:50 pm

    And now, my dear, you are in surgery. David and I are praying that God give you, A, your children, and your family Peace. None of us can control the outcome, but we can keep you in our loving thoughts. As one who has been through neck surgery, I have been in your shoes. Now you are in mine. And, just as I did, you will wake up, with so much less pain that when you went in, see the face of the one you love, and you will begin your recovery. Mark my words, my dearest friend and sister, Peace and God are with you now.ReplyCancel

  • Mustafa YarowJune 16, 2014 - 3:15 pm

    enough said , get well soon , believe
    me , you will be alright. i have big faith in allah.ReplyCancel

  • KommentoiJune 16, 2014 - 4:40 pm

    Saako kysyä, että mikä vaiva on kyseessä? Syöpä? Jumalan siunausta joka tapauksessa. Ikäviä tälläiset jutut. Rukoilen puolestasi. Toivottavasti elät vielä pitkän elämän.ReplyCancel

    • LaylaJune 22, 2014 - 3:52 am

      No ei onneksi syopa, leikattiin niskasta valilevy joka painunut pitkalle selkaytimeen ja halvausriskin takia se jouduttiin kiireesti leikkamaan. Kaikki meni onneksi hyvin!ReplyCancel

  • RawyahJune 16, 2014 - 4:58 pm

    This was a very touching letter Layla. I hope you will get well soon and that your children will always be your pride and joy.ReplyCancel

    • LaylaJune 22, 2014 - 3:50 am

      Thank you Rawyah, I’m home now and alhamdulillah all went well.ReplyCancel

  • Sadia Monem KarimJune 16, 2014 - 5:16 pm

    Get well soon. Insha AllahReplyCancel

  • Sanna VenhoJune 16, 2014 - 6:13 pm

    Here comes the waterfalls. see ya soon.ReplyCancel

  • Rose Marie HefflinJune 17, 2014 - 11:29 am

    I was in tears when I read it. I’ll keep you in my prayers…….<3

  • TaraJune 17, 2014 - 11:41 am

    Amazing and beautiful your children are the luckiest kids in the world to have you as mother! They should proud of you and I can safely say your husband must be too.ReplyCancel

    • LaylaJune 22, 2014 - 3:47 am

      Awww thanks Tara, i hope my kids think so too :) ReplyCancel

  • BilkisJune 17, 2014 - 4:56 pm

    Hi Layla, this post brought tears to my eyes.As a mother, i’ve been in that situation where i wondered what’ll become of my kids if something happened to me. Alhamdulillah, i’m still alive and i pray that your surgery is successful so that you can continue to be the awesome mom you’ve been to your kids.
    Wish you soonest recovery and looking forward to an update post from you.
    Bilkis recently posted…FINDS: Court Shoes!ReplyCancel

    • LaylaJune 22, 2014 - 3:45 am

      Hi there Bilkis, thank you for the prayers, surgery went well alhamdulillah now at home recovering, still in lots of pain but getting better day by day.ReplyCancel

  • AgnieszkaJune 17, 2014 - 8:07 pm

    Hello Layla,
    I hope surgery went well and you are feeling better. Me also as a typical mother first would worry about kids not myself.
    I love your blog. We are coming soon to Riyadh for work so I wanted to thank you for writing so beautiful and informative. Your blog became my encyclopedia arabica :-)).
    All the best, get well and I may se you soon somwhere at the party in DQ -:).

    • LaylaJune 22, 2014 - 3:43 am

      Hi Agnieszka! Thank you for the kind words, I’m happy to hear the blog has been of so much use to you!
      Are you going to be living in the DQ as well? Maybe we can meet up sometime :) ReplyCancel

      • AgnieszkaJune 22, 2014 - 8:33 pm

        I’m glad that you are better. Yes we will be coming in August and we will be living in DQ. I would love to meet. I do not know anyone there yet.

  • RhynJune 18, 2014 - 8:04 am

    Hope your surgery went well, Layla.
    And your children read what you wrote.
    I can’t help but become emotional while reading your letter, though I dont have any kids but I feel your emotional turmoil. I wish you recuperate well and continue caring for your family as well as writing fluidly your thought.ReplyCancel

    • LaylaJune 22, 2014 - 3:41 am

      Thanks Rhyn, doing better already and surgery went well. Inshallah they will get to read this letter when they are older.ReplyCancel

  • whyJune 18, 2014 - 2:28 pm

    why do you live in Saudi, where your children will face all these restrictions, especially your daughter? it’s your responsibility to bring them out of there. It’s your fault if your daughter gets abused by her saudi relatives.ReplyCancel

    • LaylaJune 22, 2014 - 3:40 am

      It’s not as simple as you may think, and I’m not going to get into that in detail anyways..However I find it really unfair and harsh to say ‘it’s your fault if your daughter gets abused by her saudi relatives”. I’m doing my best, and her Saudi relatives are not abusive by any means!ReplyCancel

      • Michelle atkinsonJune 28, 2014 - 3:01 pm

        Ignore Layla, people thrive on getting attention any way they can xReplyCancel

  • Helen Christine BloomquistJune 18, 2014 - 3:27 pm

    Prayers are with you for a full recovery, from Texas. My father’s family left homes in Norway and Sweden to start new lives in America. Always keep connected with “roots”. Not long ago, two of here were contacted by a cousin in Sweden. I was filled with joy to learn that my grandfather’s oldest brother (different mothers) had remained in Sweden and our new found cousin lives less than 10 Km from where my grandfather was born. I am also thankful that the education systems in that area insist that students be proficient in multiple languages. I wish that the U.S. would do the same. May you and your children have many years together, and may all your dreams be fruitful!ReplyCancel

  • Shadia MohsinJune 18, 2014 - 8:34 pm

    So well said. You have taught me something today. Thank you…. I feel inspired from this letter xReplyCancel

  • Umm GamarJune 19, 2014 - 3:21 pm

    These are the words I would tell my daughter. I hope you are fully recovered n continue to care n raise your children into wonderful human beings Inshallah!ReplyCancel

    • LaylaJune 22, 2014 - 3:38 am

      Umm Gamar, thank you and all the best to you and your daughter :) ReplyCancel

  • Charline BrownJune 20, 2014 - 11:42 pm

    I hope you recover quickly. This beautiful letter to your children is exactly what I wish for my granddaughters that are half Saudi and half USA. I so enjoy your website and have felt comfort in many of the posts as I worry about my family and friends half a world away – in Saudi Arabia.

    I have included you and yours in my prayers and will be anxiously awaiting your posts on Facebook.

    With prayers of healing,
    Charline Clithero-Hadley Brown (Kim Mominah’s Mother)ReplyCancel

    • LaylaJune 22, 2014 - 3:37 am

      Hi Charline,
      thank you so much for writing to me, I’m recovering at home, hubby is taking care of me and the kids :)
      All the best to you and you whole family!ReplyCancel

  • AamaniJune 21, 2014 - 5:36 am

    Hi Layla, get well soon.ReplyCancel

  • Hj RadenJune 21, 2014 - 5:01 pm

    Dear Layla, may Allah make you well and healthy again. I can begin to understand what you are going through having lived in Riyadh for the past 10 months.

    Perhaps the solution would be for your children to have dual citizenship?

    Just my two cents.

    Best regards.ReplyCancel

    • LaylaJune 22, 2014 - 3:35 am

      hi there, they do have dual citizenship but that won’t would not mean my daughter could still leave at free will, inside saudi she is a saudi citizen, needs guardian for everything :/ReplyCancel

  • minkaJune 22, 2014 - 10:17 am

    Wow. I am truly sorry to read this. God speed with the surgery and whatever condition caused it to be necessary. Heal, so your daughter’s freedom won’t be forever taken away. Alive, you can act to protect her.

    I spent some years growing up in the middle east and it left me proud to be a woman of the north. Never, never, never for me – the life of a middle eastern woman. I saw that my freedom was my most precious possession from the example of the oppression of women in the village. Never, never, never for me. Never. And of all the western women who followed their hearts into the middle east you have always seemed the one who maintained a free spirit. You made it seem possible. But what I read in this letter is that unless circumstance break perfectly, it is impossible. You lost freedom by choice but that may have dark consequences for the one you should most protect, your daughter. You are right to be afraid.

    Good luck, I wish you all the healing I can muster.ReplyCancel

  • NabilahzahraaJune 27, 2014 - 4:23 pm

    Assalamualikum Layla , please don’t worry , Allah is with you . In Shaa Allah you will have safe and speedy recovery .ReplyCancel

  • KateJuly 2, 2014 - 6:39 am

    This is a tender letter, and beautiful. I also think you’re VERY brave.
    Because, realistically, the worst isn’t you dying. The worst is your husband dying while you and the children are in Saudi. This is the main reason why my husband and I moved once we decided to have children. We spend our time between the US and Europe, and his family visits us or we meet in Dubai. Everything else is too risky for me (I’m from the US originally). People call us paranoid, but my husband’s sister made an … unfortunate marriage, and that really hit my husband hard. He doesn’t ever want that for our daughters.
    I lived in Saudi for 3 years, and I LOVED it. People are always surprised by that. But, one of the reasons I could enjoy it so much is that I knew it wouldn’t be forever. Plus, I was risking only my own situation – not my children. Had my husband died in a freak accident, I could have potentially made it to a US embassy. But, with children, obviously only I would make it out (unthinkable). And my husband’s family is incredible. They’re not ogres. I would actually love it if they came to live with us! They’re awesome. But, even so, I’d be way too paranoid to risk my children’s future living in Saudi. And I hate saying that because I did have a wonderful experience living there. But, there’s no other way for me to say it – the laws suck, and until they change them, we’re not going back.ReplyCancel

  • PetraJuly 2, 2014 - 4:24 pm

    Pikaista paranemista, kirje lapsillesi nostatti kyyneleet silmiin, todella koskettava kirjoitus. Toivottavasti paaset pian perheesi luo sairaalasta! Tiedan osittain tunteesi vaikka Turkissa tyttareni elamaa ei samalla lailla saadella kuin siella, olin itse kaksi vuotta sitten leikkauksessa ja ajatukset kiersivat leikkauspöydalla lahinna niiden ajatusten ymparilla etta mita jos en heraakaan ja miten tyttö sitten parjaa?ReplyCancel

  • T.July 7, 2014 - 10:01 pm

    I hope you speak Finnish with your children.ReplyCancel

  • JeanJuly 17, 2014 - 5:12 am

    It’s a lovely letter for your children to hold and to keep forever.

    My comment: Then immigrate one day from Saudi Arabia.
    I say this as a daughter of a picture bride. My mother came to Canada after my parents “selected” one another via a few letters and photo exchange in the 1950′s.

    Immigrating allows one to redefine for the next generation. Not perfect, but better if laws for women are highly restrictive.ReplyCancel

  • LarissaAugust 9, 2014 - 11:38 pm

    This was beautiful. I found myself in this text and have thought about most of what you have mentioned.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousAugust 24, 2014 - 7:51 pm

    Dear Aiti (and every mother in her situation)

    I hope your worries be assured..Saudi society wouldn’t condemn your kids, they are Saudis by law (Jus sanguinis)! Like Western region cities as Jeddah for example, hell even in Riyadh, kids with foreign moms are not treated differently and really from the bottom of my heart I hope society will never change their views on that for your kids sake- I think it’s quite the opposite they’d be praised for if the mother were from Western country (US.,Europe.. etc), maybe they’d be a bully target if the mother were from Asian countries.. I know SOCIAL HYPOCRISY)- I just hope they will do the same to us with Saudi mom and foreign dad! that’s whole level of sexism!!! I’m not Saudi by law and probably never will be.. I’m treated like a foreigner you once were before coming to this country even though I was born and raised here.. I’ve never been to my other home, or outside the country more than the summer..!! This would be problematic if your daughter decided to marry non-Saudi because her kids won’t benefit from her being one.. citizenship is only granted through the dad, not the mother.. if she did marry non-Saudi, society will probably tell her the same thing my mother been told “marry him, stay here but you’re on your own or go to his country”..!! I hope you’ll never worry about her falling in love with non-Saudi for that matter though I know your (or his) country will accept her with open arms..

    Praying for your surgery to go smoothly and for speed recovery :) ReplyCancel

    • LaylaAugust 25, 2014 - 11:32 am

      Thank you for the heartfelt letter, anonymous :)
      I can’t imagine how hard that situation you described must be for the mother, the foreign husband and the kids. I pray things change and the people who make these twisted laws see the true Islam and also start following it.

      All the best to you,


  • WomanInLoveWithSaudiManAugust 27, 2014 - 8:09 pm

    Hi Layla! I’ve been reading your blog since a long time ago but i stoped. I didn’t know about your surgery and all the changes in your life. I hope things get better and i trust everything will be all right!
    I write this for you and this go to the women who are in the same situation as me or in yours.
    I meet a saudi man since 2012 , we used to talk every day, every time, he asked me for marriage this year and i really love him, i feel he loves me too the same way.
    I don’t live in Saudi Arabia neither he does. We live in different countries now, he is studying and i am studying too.
    He told me if we got married i should live in Saudi Arabia, also become a muslim. I don’t know his family, he doesn’t know mine, also he doesn’t know my country and i haven’t gone to Saudi Arabia yet.
    He has to ask a permission so we can get married. I am so afraid of the changes my life will go through after we get married.
    I would like to know Layla how was your life after getting married, also i would like some women who had pass through the same situation share with me her experience and knowledge, it is really important for me. I really love this man and he really loves me too, but i don’t know anything about couple life in Saudi Arabia and how my life would be as a foreing.
    Thank you very much for any help you can give me.
    The best wishes for you Layla and your family, also for the readers of this blog.ReplyCancel

    • LaylaAugust 30, 2014 - 3:11 am

      Hi there, thank you for your message.I know someone who can help you with your issue better than I can..May I forward your email to them?ReplyCancel

It was a sweltering + 44C in Riyadh Saudi Arabia today. Meanwhile back in my home country Finland, they are experiencing temperatures around+ 10C ,which is actually quite normal for this time of year. Despite it being only 10 degrees above zero, I bet you there will be Finns driving around in their convertibles with […]

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  • Karen CrociMay 31, 2014 - 6:09 pm

    If I’m passing out, it’s not because of the cold or heat….it’s because I’m laughing so hard! Thank you for making my day!ReplyCancel

  • Ahmad Rashidy IslamJune 1, 2014 - 1:17 pm

    السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
    بسم الله ما شاء اللهReplyCancel

  • JeanJune 2, 2014 - 12:06 am

    Finns sunbathing at 15 degrees C. …Well, Calgary, Alberta is further south of Finland. But we are over 100-200 km. north of Vancouver and Toronto. Our growing season is from June to Sept….short compared to Toronto and Vancouver.

    We are also, 1,000 metres above sea level, more than Vancouver (if you don’t count the mountains which are 40 km. outside of Vancouver).

    Our air is dry, something like the Middle East, where we use humidifiers so our wood furniture doesn’t dry out and stop nose bleeds.

    Calgarians start sunbathing around 20 degrees C. A lot of women wear tank tops and skimpy tops at this temp…I cannot. I lived in Ontario for over 4 decades, where summers are often humidex at 100% and temp. 30 degrees C.

    I am not certain I could live in the heat of Middle East, plus cover up myself. And I am conservative compared to many other Canadians..I don’t even wear tank tops.
    Jean recently posted…What Shapes Me: Walkable, Cycleable NeighbourhoodsReplyCancel

  • umm gamarJune 2, 2014 - 12:13 pm

    You have a crazy sense of humor! Had a great laugh :-) ReplyCancel

    • LaylaJune 4, 2014 - 5:42 pm

      thank UmmGamar! Glad it made you laugh!ReplyCancel

  • SmitaJune 9, 2014 - 10:59 am

    Hi Layla,

    love your blog though I rarely comment!
    What happened to your each summerly visit to Finland ?
    Aren’t you travelling this year ? I so look forward to those posts as hav espent significant time in Sweden in past :)

    Smita (from India)ReplyCancel

    • LaylaJune 9, 2014 - 11:42 am

      Thank you so much Smita! We are going to be traveling there soon :) ReplyCancel

  • SmitaJune 13, 2014 - 9:53 am

    I am very happy to hear that :)
    have loads of fun in these vacations… the weather will be blessed in Scandinavian countries at this time .ReplyCancel

  • MimiJune 13, 2014 - 6:50 pm

    Hi Layla, thank you for your blog, I really enjoy reading it! I’m also Finnish and living in the Middle-East, and actually just got back home from Finnish holiday. It really was just like you said, the day we, me and my fiancé, arrived, it was +13 (and the warmest it got during the entire 2-weeks holiday was +22) and people were wearing shorts and t-shirts! Even I couldn’t, I guess I’m already so used to more war temperatures.

    My poor fiancé was wearing winter jacket:) I told him to bring it, even tough he didn’t believe me when I told him before the trip, that it would be a lot more colder than where we live, even in the summer. I can’t tell you howe happy he was for listening to me on this one:)ReplyCancel

  • MImiJune 13, 2014 - 6:52 pm

    Sorry, on my previous comment I Of course meant “warm” temperatures…ReplyCancel

  • AllisonJune 26, 2014 - 1:53 pm

    Hello Layla! I am an American expat (living in Jubail). I was looking for other expat bloggers living in Saudi and came across your blog. I’ve had fun reading through several of your posts and look forward to reading more in the future! I particularly liked this post as I lived in Finland briefly several years ago and so I can relate to the temperature extremes. Thanks for the laugh. :-)

    Allison recently posted…Lost in Translation 2ReplyCancel

  • Gone Fishing in Finland » Blue AbayaAugust 9, 2014 - 11:00 pm

    […] We’ve been lucky this summer, the weather has been super amazing all over Finland. The temperature has been closer to +30 than the average +18C of a typical Finnish summer. Finns are known to be hardy and we don’t get bothered by cold weather during the summer, in fact it’s not uncommon at all to see people enjoying swimming and sauna in just +10. Check out here what Finnish cows do when temperatures hit +5c! […]ReplyCancel

  • Syed ImtiazAugust 14, 2014 - 8:19 am


  • Syed ImtiazAugust 14, 2014 - 11:25 am

    I am pakistani working in Riyadh.I have studied in Greek Cyprus for four years way back in late 80s.I like posts in your website.ReplyCancel

    • LaylaAugust 14, 2014 - 12:51 pm

      thank you Syed and welcome to Blue Abaya blog, hope to see more of your comments in the future!ReplyCancel

Some of the Blue Abaya readers probably remember “Images of Saudi” which is a photo journal-type photography blog I kept for a few years from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Images of Saudi is actually still online, but for a year now it’s been set for private invite-only viewing. Reasons behind this were several but […]

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  • Endang PusphaMay 26, 2014 - 6:38 pm

    I m happy the images are back. I really love your photos. They are so….beautiful. Never though that KSA is so rich of cultute as well as nature and landscape.
    Thx Laylah for bringing it back…ReplyCancel

  • Nick BrookbankMay 27, 2014 - 4:57 am

    Wonderful blog and website. It’s been so useful since we arrived in Kingdom.ReplyCancel

  • A&JMay 30, 2014 - 3:57 pm

    As-salamû’ alayik,
    Nice I love it.
    Thank you
    A&J recently posted…Les bons plans du web sont chez Promo4muslimReplyCancel

    • MariMay 31, 2014 - 4:09 pm

      as an avid reader of the images saudi blog this is a great news for me! the galleries are all pictures I never seen before and look beautiful. thank you!ReplyCancel

    • LaylaMay 31, 2014 - 5:37 pm

      wa aleikum salaam A&J

      thank you for stopping by :) ReplyCancel

  • Layla Blue AbayaMay 31, 2014 - 2:37 pm

    thank you Nick!ReplyCancel

  • AamaniJune 12, 2014 - 4:39 am

    It is always a treat to my eyes to see the pictures clicked by you :) Very beautiful pictures. You should consider writing a post on your photography journey. I am sure many followers of this blog will agree with that idea.ReplyCancel

  • Sanat B JohnJuly 1, 2014 - 12:58 am

    Inspiring work , Realizing there is more things beyond camel ,desert and palm tree , ReplyCancel

  • Lynn-Joy JordaanAugust 25, 2014 - 12:02 am

    Was gifted your web name by a precious friend about to join the expat life. As a RN in South Africa with a few RN friends in Saudi I am amazed to see how beautiful it actually is through your hard work. Blessed thank you so much. Lynn-joy xxReplyCancel

    • LaylaAugust 25, 2014 - 11:29 am

      Thank you Lynn-Joy, I am glad to hear that because showing the beautiful side of Saudi Arabia is definitely my goal :) ReplyCancel

Misyar marriages have been discussed a lot in the Kingdom’s news lately, causing debate whether or not these marriages are acceptable/legal. The  Saudi Ministry of Social Affairs has recently announced that it will welcome misyar marriage applications for those who want to get married to female orphans under the custody of the ministry. On the other […]

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  • Frederik HaentjensMay 5, 2014 - 4:46 am

    extra-marital affair, infidelity, adultery or prostitution happen with the consent of at least two individuals (otherwise it’s rape). You can have a moral issue with these type of relationships, but don’t blame it because it’s partially legalised. In addition these relationships are not a pure male invention :) women also seek extra-marital affair, infidelity of adultery, as much as men. Partially legalising is a way to control it. Example, what happens with a child conceived from extra-marital affair, infidelity, adultery or prostitution?ReplyCancel

  • Blue AbayaMay 5, 2014 - 7:55 am

    yeah, women also seek extra-marital affairs, but the difference is they can’t “marry” consequent husbands. So it’s a male invention 100%. Partially legalizing it was invented because it gives the cheating husbands a clear conscious, so that they can keep mistresses without being prosecuted.ReplyCancel

  • Blue AbayaMay 5, 2014 - 7:56 am

    Kimberly Hadley MominahReplyCancel

  • Shadia MohsinMay 5, 2014 - 12:28 pm

    So disgusting! Woman need to stand up.ReplyCancel

  • Umm GamarMay 5, 2014 - 4:40 pm

    Misyar marriage runs counter to the objectives and the spirit of marriage in Islam, as described in this verse from the Quran :”And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts).Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect” [al-Room 30:21]. But this is not achieved in this kind of marriage.

    What about the children who are born out of these kind of marriages? The absence of the father will negatively effect the children. Not to mention how the sons will view the value and position of their mother, a mere sex toy.

    This is a sad news indeed, how low can Saudi go.ReplyCancel

  • Umm GamarMay 5, 2014 - 6:23 pm

    Layla, I did some further reading on this misyar topic and found this site

    Although I disagree with the author on the validity of misyar marriage, I do agree with a few of his points in the last few paragraphs. However, again I am vehemently against men using women merely for their sexual desires. Allah has created men and women as partners in this world and the word partner I used in every sense of the word. Look into the early history of Islam, look into the lives of the Prophet and his sahabah, most importantly look into the Quran before claiming misyar marriage is a valid Islamic practice. I am afraid for those poor orphans. From one miserable event to another, not unlike Lemony Snicket orphans only without the nice ending.ReplyCancel

    • LaylaMay 8, 2014 - 1:03 am

      Thanks for the comments and link Umm Gamar!ReplyCancel

  • Illyria MxoMay 8, 2014 - 2:07 pm

    Only in a Middle Eastern theocracy…ReplyCancel

  • chic urban dameMay 12, 2014 - 4:21 am

    Assalamu Alaikum. I have been reading your blog for quite some time. I really love it. Alhamdulilah I have made my own blog. Check me out.ReplyCancel

    • LaylaMay 12, 2014 - 11:17 am

      wa aleikum salaam! ok sure will do, thanks for following!ReplyCancel

  • EstelleMay 12, 2014 - 10:22 pm

    Asalamu alaikum wa ramatullahi wa barakatuh,

    I could barely end my reading because it hurts so much to read this atrocity.

    I have no word but to say that my blood was boiling and Allah knows that I am from the peaceful kind of people !

    There is no such things in Islam and I believe men engaged into this practice should be judged for adultery – so do the people who help this disgusting thing.

    Notice that I don’t ask for the women to be judged … because they appeared as victims to my eyes.

    Why ? I read recently a post from – that may give you an additional side view to that article, in’sha’Allah.

    “Question : You are so set on the fact that men are terrible. That they’ll never understand, when it comes to the female sector of things. Why do you always make such an over generalization. Should you not encourage men to better themselves and give hope that they can understand? Are you saying you’re terrible? Are you (God forbid) saying that the Prophet (saw) could never understand his wife, or women in general? Where are your facts, sunnahs, hadiths, and/or Quranic quotes on this generalization?

    Answer: Where are my facts?

    The statistics over sexual assault, the threat of violence that looms over our sisters heads, this is unacceptable as a Muslim man, unacceptable.

    Our sisters fear being alone in an elevator with someone they don’t know. They are afraid to walk to their cars alone. They place keys between their fingers when they walk.

    Why? Because of some imaginary monsters?

    No, it is because of men.

    The Qur’an says: “Men shall take full care of women with the bounties which God has bestowed more abundantly on the former than on the latter,” [4:34]

    So what have we done? We have simply succeeded in failing our sisters. We have failed. Miserably.

    Do you know what it is like to sit there and try to help a sister who has been assaulted? The idea that the rapist comes from some dark alley, when in reality he is a friend, a cousin, someone she knows and must see again and again and again, do you know what that’s like?

    Do I think all men are terrible? Of course not. I’d like to think I’m not terrible, but Allahu Alem, only God knows, and I know for sure my brothers are incredible men.

    My mother was asked after my brother fought for a person he did not know, to defend them, why she told her sons to protect those who needed our help no matter what.

    She responded: “I raised lions, not boys.”

    The Prophet was a Mercy from God. He knew his wives, he understood them.

    I’m asking the question: do we, the men of today, understand our sisters?

    I don’t think so. That’s why we’re in this mess, that’s why our sisters feel violated, why they feel unsafe, why they feel so hurt.

    There are countless Hadiths and Ayat that point us to protect our sisters, and my question is: have we?

    I answer: no, we have not.”ReplyCancel

  • jwhiteMay 23, 2014 - 2:55 am

    These poor orphan girls! What they need most, upon attaining womanhood, is a loving, kind husband to establish a home with. They need to establish their own family, someone to be a partner to, to have children of their own, to have a happy home of their own. Just because they’ve been without mother or father only means that they long to have a wonderful home of their own, not that they are up for prey for abusers. They do NOT need a creep to use them, abuse them, rape them, to impregnate them. Shame on anyone who would force them into this life style. What is being ‘offered’ to orphan boys–or are there any?ReplyCancel

What are the top restaurants in the Eastern Province? Recently we conducted a poll among the members of the EP Foodies Facebook group to find the very best restaurants in Dammam, Al Khobar and Jubail area. The EP Foodies are an international group of food lovers and avid restaurant-goers residing in the the EP of […]

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  • A.kareem AlalamiMay 10, 2014 - 9:42 pm

    I actually strongly disagree with most restaurants on this list as they are generic ones . some of the greatest are hidden gems that you need to be living in khobar or EP for awhile to get to. I suggest your change it to ” 10 decent choices in EP”

    • LaylaMay 12, 2014 - 11:18 am

      thanks for the comment, please tell us about these hidden gems! Also it would be great to have you on board the FB Foodies groups to share your experiences and knowledge :) have a great day!ReplyCancel

  • Maha ZbeebMay 19, 2014 - 8:23 pm

    Ciros Pomodoro ReplyCancel

  • Sohail A. ChouhanMay 28, 2014 - 10:38 pm

    I have to agree with previous comment. Most of these restaurants have decent food you can buy any large city in Saudi Arabia. Now in my opinion the US chains like Stake House & Chili’s are not up to par when it comes to flavor or menu items. The dining hall or sitting area is always decent and you can expect good customer service if Phillipino workers are around. But when it comes to flavor no way always dissapointed. There are many hidden gems in Khobar, Hofuf, & Jubail but I sure do not want to advertise them here.ReplyCancel

  • Mövenpick Hotel Al KhobarJune 5, 2014 - 9:03 am

    We’re so delighted to see our signature restaurant, Maharaja by Vineet, featured on your blog. Thank you for the great review and we look forward to welcoming you again in our hotel. Best wishes to EP Foodies and your blog! ReplyCancel

I haven’t posted for a while. The blog has gone into a state of slumber. Not so much because I suffer from writers block , lack of motivation or topics to write about. I’m not exactly spending my days twiddling my thumbs around here, just simply too busy being a mom to two very active […]

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  • Umm GamarApril 23, 2014 - 5:53 am

    Such a heartfelt post. I sincerely wish Saudi Arabia would grow some balls and let its women attain their God given potential and dreams! Ahhhh!

    Ideologies separate us. Dreams and anguish bring us together.

    Eugene IonescoReplyCancel

    • DaniaApril 24, 2014 - 12:09 pm

      That is the nicest thing I have read for a while!
      you go girl, follow those dreams and glad you got out of the forced marriege.

      Thank you Layla for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Louise Schullery CoxApril 23, 2014 - 8:05 am

    I am so pleased you shared this correspondence. Layla, you are a bridge to women in the world and help us in the West remember we are so much more alike than different. I would love for you to share a ‘new and good’ each time as well.

    While there are many things each society is working on, change often comes slowly. And, at the same time, there are delightful things as well. While Saudi was very difficult for me in many ways there were always positive things as well. You have covered so many on your site. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Sunny J.April 23, 2014 - 2:05 pm

    MashaaAllah. I’m also glad you’re back to Blogging, Layla. Please dont ever stop. You and Susie’s are some of the very few I look to for inspiration while living in Saudi Arabia. Your words are a gift <3ReplyCancel

  • MunthasirApril 23, 2014 - 3:46 pm

    After taste of rebellion is always ‘sweet’.

    God given potential to individual is meant to acheive, so that you can use them in the service of ALLAH. How can we start appreciating the hardships & acheivement of individual in their pursuit of excellence, if the very genesis of their acts is in disobedience of ALLAH’s Commands ?

    Ofcourse, My question seems to infer that individual’s pursuit of excellence often commences with disobedience to ALLAH. But if somebody has acheived excellence in their lives within the boundaries set by ALLAH, then it is good thing for them.

    I am afraid more of the sense of rebellion than the pursuit of excellence itself.ReplyCancel

  • KendraApril 23, 2014 - 10:42 pm

    Hey, Layla. I’m also glad you’ve finally posted. I’ve been checking your blog everyday since March 8th, so it was a nice surprise to finally read your thoughts. They are a treasure.

    I know you’re busy, but I’m also still waiting to hear about your friend from the Philippines who is obligated to be a caretaker for her sponsor family’s mother. I think and worry about her… I hope she’s able to leave soon, and get back to living life with her own family back home. She deserves to be happy.


  • KristineApril 24, 2014 - 10:47 pm

    Thank you for sharing! You never know how your words or actions can make such a big difference in another’s life. And bravo to J for her courage and determination. She expresses herself so eloquently, I’m sure she will make her dreams come true. :-) ReplyCancel

  • HeidiApril 28, 2014 - 12:31 am

    I am so pleased to see you have written again in your blog! I am even more pleased with the good news you posted! As I’ve said before, you are a true inspiration! You don’t only inspire people in Saudi Arabia, you inspire people in other countries too! Me, for instance! Keep up with the good work! Lots of hugs from UKReplyCancel

  • LinaMay 12, 2014 - 5:56 am

    Please never stop writing! Reading your stories is the last thing I do before I go to bed. I feel I already know you. You are an inspiration to all of us by your positive attitude and your humour. God bless you and your family :). Xoxox from OttawaReplyCancel

    • LaylaMay 12, 2014 - 11:16 am

      Thank you Lina!! God bless you and your family as well, you have inspired me :) ReplyCancel