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  • karemah alfaddaghiSeptember 13, 2013 - 6:56 pm

    I would like to find out who is running the Recycling efforts at Jahash wahid.
    Can you help me.
    Best regards,

    Karemah Alfaddaghi

  • EthelSeptember 14, 2013 - 1:14 pm

    I just wanted to let you know how grateful I am about your blog. I am about to leave to work in Riyadh in a couple of weeks. Naturally my family (mostly my parents) have their reservations about my safety i.e. their youngest daughter + alone + in a muslim country + Saudi Arabia = negativity, unfounded fears (thanks to the media). I’ve been trying for months to give them REAL information about Saudi Arabia, but they still were very scared for my safety. Thankfully I found your blog (through Internations) and I spent an afternoon going through your blog with my mum. Now both my parents have a bit more peace of mind.

    I’ve done my homework and thought long and hard about going over there, so I know what I’m in for when I arrive there. So I’m fine. I just didn’t want to leave with my parents fearing for me. I’m so glad I found your blog before I left and had the time to read through it with my parents.

    I really enjoy reading your posts and I hope that one day I might run into you in Riyadh.



    • LaylaSeptember 17, 2013 - 12:53 am

      Thank you so much Ethel for taking the time to write your comment it made me really happy and I found new motivation :)
      Say hello to your parents! it’s completely normal for them to have this fear, Saudi Arabia is truly like a ‘wild card’, there’s not much reliable info out there. Like you said, you will be FINE! Keep positive and take everything as a unique experience, one that only a few get to experience..I am really happy to hear that they feel better now. Tell them my parents were exactly the same, but then changed their mind after they saw I was having the time of my life here, meeting new people and exploring the country :)
      Do you mind me asking where you’re going to work?

      Take care and safe travels!


  • Umm SaalehSeptember 16, 2013 - 12:36 am

    Asalamualaykum, interesting website, i like the Riyadh info very beneficial thank you..
    Anyway, you’ve mentioned you have two little ones..Do you know where I can find good board books for my 14 month old in Riyadh?
    Also, I think if you did a post on ” What to do in the case of an emergency/accident/death in Riyadh” i.e. what number to call, ambulance, where are the a&es? which hospitals are the best for emergencies, kind of like first response info etc…alot of expats will benefit…We live in fear!ReplyCancel

    • LaylaSeptember 17, 2013 - 12:47 am

      wa aleikum salaam Umm Saaleh thank you for the comment! Yes I do have a 2 yr old and the little Peanut is almost one year! Board books..hmmm..You probably checked Jarir or Obeikan already? How about Toys R us, maybe Hamleys has someting? I’m sorry I don’t really know many other than those, perhaps a reader could help out? I bring most of my children’s books in from Finland, so I don’t have much experience in buying them in Riyadh :(

      Thanks for your suggestion for the post, I will definitely do one in the near future! Please don’t live in fear :)ReplyCancel

  • John OliverNovember 18, 2013 - 8:47 am

    Thank you so much for your blog which I really enjoyed. I am British and have been here for ten weeks now and much to my surprise I am loving it! I have to be honest when I was in LOndon I though Saudi would be an awful place to live but that just isnt the case. Can i ask about the desert walks? How can I sign up to them? I also wonder about getting myself on the e mail lists of an Embassy function. i havent done that yet either? Any guidance greatly appreciated.



    • LaylaNovember 26, 2013 - 2:35 pm

      Thank you John! Can you please drop me an email for the details, thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Cathrine NyquistJanuary 14, 2014 - 6:52 pm


    We have been in contact with Observer/France24 and got your information from them.

    We are two ladies in the process of establishing a releasing/rehab project for captive lions, and we are currently busy working on a brief film where we want to use different images to portray the cruelty of canned hunting and horrific circumstances in different zoos. We came across the article you published about the zoo of horrors in Riyadh in 15/06/2012, and we want to know if it is ok for us to use some images from your material for our introduction film. The picture will be used to raise awareness against the canned hunting industry, the horrific trading and trafficking of lions worldwide, in addition to the life threatening conditions they face in many international zoos.

    If you are so kind to let us use your material, please send us the original version so we can have as good quality as possible. And please also confirm in this email that you give us permission to use your material.

    In advance, thank you very much.

    If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask us.

    Hope to hear from you soon with a positive answer!

    Best regards,

  • NoorJanuary 23, 2014 - 7:13 pm

    Hi !

    I just wanted to thank you for your website, I love it … I’m a french student in arabic language, I lived in different arab countries but I’ve been dreaming of visiting/living in the Kingdom for a long time now, and I hope that one day I might be able to (though I’m a convert for now I can’t, because I don’t have a mahram).
    Meanwhile your blog helps me a lot to learn and discover things about this country (other than the usual bad stuff your hear in the media), so thank you again !
    Best regards,ReplyCancel

    • LaylaJanuary 23, 2014 - 7:28 pm

      Hi Noor!
      Thank you for the comment and welcome to Blue Abaya :)
      I’m glad to hear it has been useful to you!

      Inshallah you can visit the “Magic Kingdom’ one day!ReplyCancel

  • Hida AbdullahFebruary 15, 2014 - 9:51 pm

    Salaams! First off, i love your site. Thank you. Second, I had a question on a personal level. Are you married to a Saudi? If so, how did you get permission to be there, married, and did you wait a long time?

    I am very much in love with a man from there and he wants to marry me, however I was hoping to get information on what to expect with the process.

    Thank you

  • Antoinette SeilerApril 2, 2014 - 8:47 pm

    Hello Layla :-)
    I know you have heard this line a thousand times before…”I am moving to the KSA soon” & have been doing as much research as possible to get an idea of the “Real Life ” on the ground for expats. Of all the ramblings I just wanted to say I found your site & musings the most informative & realistic.And by far the most tongue-in-cheek humourous!

    I am under no illussions now about what I am coming to, yet at the same time filled with a sense of positivity to see, experience & sample as much as I can with what there is on offer. I am even looking forward to the move with excited trepidation, though I know it is going to be a challenge of note.

    I just wanted you to know that all your ramblings are very appreciated & that a simple picture of your great dane touched my heart (we have had 6 over the years) as did a simple little patch of wildflowers in the desert.And allthough you have highlighted the hard truth realism, it’s the human factor that embodies your spirit of positivity, that shines through and triumphs any of the adversity……

    Thank you for shining your little light!

    I look forward to meeting you one day, when I get there, and saying my Thank You in person.

    Kind regards
    Antoinette Seiler
    South AfricaReplyCancel

    • LaylaApril 3, 2014 - 12:48 am

      Dear Antoinette, thank you for this amazing message. You have no idea how much this moved me, in fact I started crying! Thank you for taking the time to write this positive and encouraging message, it absolutely made my day! or the whole month!!!
      I too hope to meet you in person one day.

      All the best on your journey in the Magic Kingdom.
      Take care and safe travels, and once again thank you :)

      Warmest Regards,

  • Zara SharifMay 2, 2014 - 11:58 pm

    Hi ,
    I’m moving to Riyadh soon with my husband and 18 month old daughter. My daughter has never been abroad (we are coming from the UK) and I was wondering if you know about vaccinations for travelling to Saudi Arabia. Since we living there do we need any?ReplyCancel

  • Reda SaidMay 19, 2014 - 7:30 am

    Hi , I looking for camp Summer in Riyadh care of children boys & Girl

  • AbdulJune 25, 2014 - 4:53 pm

    Hi Layla,

    I just moved to Riyadh and I found your site helpful, funny and beautiful.I am Saudi by the way :) .

    Thank you so much.


  • SaraJuly 3, 2014 - 4:46 pm

    Hi layla. I wanted to know how did you do nikkah in saudi court after being married already. I am in saudi on visit visa and wanted to do nikkah in court pls tell me.ReplyCancel

  • JayJuly 4, 2014 - 1:45 pm

    Great site, thank you Layla.

    I wonder when part 3 of Sinta’s story will be published? I imagine that it must be quite difficult to write it.ReplyCancel

    • LaylaJuly 7, 2014 - 1:19 pm

      Hi Jay and thank you for the comment,
      apologies for the delay int eh third prt. My plan was to try and finish on my vacation here in Finland. i thought I’d have free time on my hands, boy was I wrong ;) but you’re right, it’s also a psychological thing maybe, I don’t want her story to end.ReplyCancel

  • Christina KleynhansJuly 10, 2014 - 1:17 pm

    Good day! Thanks for the information. Immigration and culture shocks are inevitable, however one benefits from the info on this site.

    I am working towards national colours in masters’ athletics (discus, shot put and hammerthrow) and would like to know whether facilities are accessible and available to women. I have two years to work towards my goal. When I will return to my home I will be able to compete for national colours as I would not have lapsed for two years.

    I’m looking forward to hearing from you soon!

    I also want to know whether the gyms in the compounds are free to use or not.
    I am looking forward to your reply!


  • Christa KleynhansJuly 10, 2014 - 4:28 pm


    I would like to know whether there are athletics fields where women will be allowed to practice Discus, Shot put and hammer throw? I am going to live in Riyadh, work in Al Faris school and live in a western compound that is still being built apparently. I don’t exactly know whether these schools participate in athletics or not. I haven’t been able to spot something relating to any of my queries on the websites.

    Would one have to pay fees to be part of te gym in the compounds?

    I look forward to your response!

    • LaylaJuly 10, 2014 - 5:53 pm

      Athletics fields, in terms of what I’m assuming you’re referring to, those large running tracks with grass field in middle for sports..I don’t know of any. Some of the larger compounds like Salwa have big sports fields and everything open for women and men, for free. Other than that no such athletic fields exist to my knowledge. Compounds should offer you all recreation facilities for free, you are paying an arm and leg to live in there..Which compound is it?
      The boys schools have sports and some of the private schools for girls have sports..american and british school, kingdom school, are the best in terms of sports facilities for both boys and girls.ReplyCancel

  • MarkJuly 18, 2014 - 10:57 am


    I am a British doctor relocating to Riyadh. I had lot of apprehensions about this place and work but your blog has given some peace of mind. Very informative… Thanks.

    I am just a bit worried about how I am going to spend my weekends and also about medical error. Not sure how they deal with it sensibly?


  • HollySeptember 26, 2014 - 8:19 am


    My son is an expat working in Arabia and, like others, I was apprehensive about his safety. I stumbled on your website and it made a huge difference in easing my mind. Thank you.

    I am now looking forward to traveling to Riyadh to visit him. I would love to be there during Janadriyah. Do you happen to know what the dates for it will be for 2015? The festival website link isn’t very helpful since it is all in Arabic.

    Thanks, HollyReplyCancel

    • LaylaSeptember 26, 2014 - 5:11 pm

      Dear Holly,
      Thank you for your message! I’m sure it’s always a cause of worries for us mothers when kids are on the other side of the world, let alone in a country like Saudi Arabia, form which many do not know much else than what they’ve heard on the news..which unfortunately, is mostly just a negative, twisted, load of rubbish! I’m so glad that my blog has eased your mind!
      How wonderful that you’re interested in visiting! it will be an experience for you that you’ll never forget :) For the Janadriya dates, it’s a bit hard to say this early on..even if the site were giving out the dates, it’s been changed many times either to more early or we have to stay tuned and see. During my time here it’s been organized anywhere between from late Feb- to almost May! The only thing that’s certain is location and duration is 3 weeks :) I wish your son a pleasant and enriching experience in the Kingdom!ReplyCancel

  • Fiona FoxSeptember 29, 2014 - 8:42 am

    Thanks for excellent blog – i clicked on Organic Farm in the Off the Beaten Track section but it does not go through to any information. This sounds v interesting, can you let me know more/mend the link?
    Thanks again

    • LaylaSeptember 30, 2014 - 10:24 am

      Thank you Fiona!
      Aahh.. the Diriyah organic farm! What happened with this amazing little gem is that the American Community of Riyadh was the one who used to orgainze tours there. But, not sure if you heard, sadly they closed down, the whole community! No clue why! Very sad, they had some amazing tours and activities. I would be very curious to know why such a dumb decision was made!
      So, as of now I can only provide you with the images, some of which are on the Images of Saudi galleries..sorry :(ReplyCancel

  • Eyoon AlnaserNovember 16, 2014 - 10:29 pm

    Hi .. i like your Blue Abayaa and wish to cooperate with you to a cheave the way to explore Saudi Arabia by the best way with excellent itinerary and less cost .. wish you and all readers good luck ..
    tour organizer

  • Guide To The Edge Of The WorldDecember 7, 2014 - 6:38 am

    […] co-ordinates. **Please do not use any of the material on this post without permission, read the copyright information and contact details here ** One of the most popular desert treks from Riyadh is the amazing Edge of the World. Definitely […]ReplyCancel

  • LeilaJanuary 15, 2015 - 5:03 am

    I was wondering if you do any pieces on local businesses or start ups? We are a small business (Dorichet) specialising in made to order crochet products primarily focusing on children’s clothes and accessories. You can find us on instagram and facebook
    We want to increase our profile. If it is something you could promote then we would like to send you some products in return for a review. If this is not suitable for your site but know of others that would be more receptive, please let us know.
    Many thanks

  • Gia CaceresApril 12, 2015 - 7:13 pm

    Hi, I like your blog and fb page! do you know if there are IT jobs for woman in saudi?Jeddah? I am curious to know, I am developer. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • GiaApril 12, 2015 - 10:17 pm

    Hi! I like your blog and Facebook page, this question does not have anything to do with your blog, but I am curious to know if there are IT jobs in KSA, Jeddah, for woman. I am developer, and I am curious to know for my future :).


    • LaylaApril 13, 2015 - 2:25 pm

      Hi! There is a Career fair for women in Jeddah where you could check, and then online you can search for jobs at Glowork and WSB (Women’s Skills Bureau) for starters! If you don’t have one yet, a LinkedIn profile is a must for job searching in the region, one of the top tools recruiters use! so set up a great profile over there would be your best bet in finding something in this male dominated field :)ReplyCancel

  • Sonam MahadevAugust 25, 2015 - 8:45 am

    Hi Layla,

    Hope you’re well.

    I want to get in touch with you. Can you kindly let me know what would be the best way?

    Look forward to hearing back from you.

    Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Mdnoman AliOctober 10, 2015 - 7:54 am
  • Orieta GonçalvesMarch 23, 2016 - 6:40 pm

    Shame on you why you hate dogs and forbid good people to havê at home? Dog,thes are much better than you,maldition desgrace,sickness and suffering over the life of the person who demand this,is an evilReplyCancel

  • DebAugust 19, 2016 - 11:11 am

    Hello. I moved to Riyadh about two weeks ago as an English teacher. I am very keen to explore and really appreciate all the articles I have read. I am finding life here an easy adjustment, after having taught in Japan and Thailand as well as living for other work in a remote area of South Africa. As a somewhat mature solo female, I am finding weekends a bit challenging for getting out of the city without paying a fortune in taxis. Do you have any suggestions for how to do this? Also within Riyadh mall alternatives for the weekend. I like to go to a coffee shop and read or play on my laptop. Do you have recommendations for a single woman? I live near Tala Mall. Thanks so much, I am so glad I came across your blog – super helpful!!!

  • Lloyd SamsonOctober 13, 2016 - 12:17 pm

    Please write or call.

    Many Thanks


  • DanielaNovember 20, 2016 - 5:56 pm

    Dear Layla,
    I follow your blog since a few weeks. I couldn’t ready everything, so I decided to ask you :)
    How did you came to KSA? I know as a nurse but how you got that job?
    I wanna move to KSA but I have no idea how and what to do.
    Maybe we can get in contact too, even I think you are very busy cause so many people like your blog and your very unusual life :)
    Kind regards from AustriaReplyCancel

  • RoseMarch 4, 2017 - 10:45 pm

    Hi. We are planning to travel to the Edge of the World. I read in one of your post that you could arrage a trip for those interested. I just wanted to know how much would it cost?ReplyCancel

  • HeelaJanuary 3, 2018 - 11:47 am

    salam Dear admin ,
    I would like to bring your attention to an offensive comment posted by Katarina sataskova in one of your posts regarding a recruit of a driving female teacher in Facebook . i prefer not to answer her directly and leave the the matter on your hands as an owner of the group .
    kind regards ,HeelaReplyCancel

  • Paola van der SchuerenJanuary 7, 2018 - 10:26 am

    Good morning we are taking the boat to Al farasan islands from Jizan along with my husband we will be staying for 4 days till Wednesday. I forgot to ask you for some advices for a local guide. We are staying at the only local hotel and we don’t have a car.ReplyCancel

  • Bernard GemayelMarch 4, 2018 - 8:51 am

    Please give any contact number for your company to contact you .
    Best regards

    Bernard GemayelReplyCancel

  • AdelSeptember 15, 2018 - 11:26 am

    Dear Laura,

    I read your experience regarding obtaining your Saudi driver’s license. Very comprehensive information, thank you very much for taking the time to outline all the steps, that will help me a lot for my wife’s driver’s license.. I have one inquiry please. The driving test is on an automatic or manual car.

    Adel HammamReplyCancel

  • EhabDecember 4, 2018 - 11:52 am

    Dears at Blue Abaya,
    Hope this finds you well.

    We would love toReplyCancel

  • EstellaDecember 6, 2018 - 9:36 am

    Please provide us more details for recycling and waste management.

    Do you provide bins for institutions?

    For your response.

    Thank youReplyCancel

  • GregJanuary 18, 2019 - 5:54 pm

    It was nice seeing you in Madain Salih today. If you are ever in Riyadh it would a pleasure to give you a tour of Atturaif in Diriyah.ReplyCancel

  • ZiyadhJanuary 24, 2019 - 5:30 pm

    I can’t make my own absher account because I’m a dependent, and because of this I can’t check my traffic violation ID or do anything else. Is there any other way to know why I got a fine?ReplyCancel

  • SalehMarch 28, 2019 - 3:53 pm

    Thanks, very amazing website , I am so happy to work and help any body who want to visit the kingdom.ReplyCancel

  • Laurice Elaine VidalJune 22, 2019 - 7:53 pm

    Hi, I am collecting water bottle caps. Where should I send it?
    Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Raudy cabreraAugust 5, 2019 - 1:50 pm

    Hello, I adore your blog, it has allowed me to know more Saudi Arabia, in this Eid I want to go from Arabia to Jordan by road, do you know the route or someone who has crossed to Jordan by causeway? Would you give me some recommendation. regardsReplyCancel

  • SuyeonSeptember 29, 2019 - 11:01 am

    Hello! I am a student interesting in recycling. I want to know about the route and process of recycling. Moreover, I want to learn about the importance of recycling.ReplyCancel

  • nabil GmatiFebruary 11, 2020 - 1:20 pm

    How can we get an approval to visit Al Doriya. Thank you.
    very cordiallyReplyCancel

  • MichelleSeptember 26, 2020 - 1:18 pm

    Is wearing abaya mandatory in Riyadh??ReplyCancel

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