Tag Archive: Jeddah

When it rains, it pours.

Riyadh Rain - Logo by Ahmed Al Haddad

Designed by: Ahmed Al Haddad (@cdes). Shows the two famous skyscrapers in Riyadh drowning.

My post on the Jeddah floods of November 2009 is long overdue and it has always been on my list of posts to be written. But an opportunity came knocking when a similar rain hit Riyadh earlier today and caused similar damages, if not as strong as Jeddah, to the infrastructure of the city.

The Jeddah floods helped in unveiling a lot of infrastructural defects and bad town planning by the Jeddah municipality over a period of decades. It arose a lot of questions by the citizens which led to the king calling for an official investigation. It led to the arrest of many officials at the Jeddah Mayoralty and un-covered the not-so-hidden cases of corruption and bribery by them. What really saddens me is that, even though the investigation hasn’t reached anywhere yet, the end result of their actions led to the death of 120+ people (unofficially: 500+) and damage to even the latest road and bridge projects across the city.

I really hope that the devastation in Riyadh is not that serious and pray for the well-being of everyone there. The presence of a number of geeks in Riyadh didn’t go wasted either as a new website was launched within hours of the rain : RiyadhRain.com

The website gathers all the tweets from all the users of Twitter in and around Riyadh that puts the tag #RiyadhRain. It also has a collection of videos uploaded on YouTube by hundreds of users that also shows how the humanitarian efforts are being carried out by the citizens, which is worth another post that I hope to be writing very soon.


Call of Adhaan – Modern Wonder 2

One of the things that I really miss while living in this cold/windy/frigid/ ehm… /nice/magnificent country is hearing the adhan (the call to prayer) summoned from the mosques five times a day. Listening to the various (upto 20) muezzins (callers of the adhan) with different tones but all at the same time is truly a blessed 2-3mts experience that you will have.

Especially having lived in a country like Saudi Arabia where there is a mosque every 2-3 blocks, I and many others used (and some still are) to complain about how everything comes to a complete stand-still during prayer times. Everything from the small baqala (grocery shop) to the largest of the largest supermarket chains (UPDATE: Bigger supermarkets are open during prayer time, but the counters are closed); the smallest start-up company to the biggest banks; and err… an online newspaper as well. There are even times when the traffic is at an all-time low during prayers. More about this can be read here.

And now I can really put the pieces together and get an idea of the complete picture. Getting those time-offs just so that you can pray on time is really something everyone should cherish. An excerpt from “Susie of Arabia”:

Another thing that struck me on this drive was the sheer number of mosques we passed along the way. I know that in Jeddah, there seems to be mosques every few blocks in every direction. But out in the middle of nowhere, it felt that even in extremely remote and sparsely populated areas, mosques stood every couple of miles or so. Some were very minimalist, with a floor, walls, a roof, and of course a minaret, and just bare openings without actual doors or windows affixed. Even very small villages seemed to have numerous mosques within their boundaries. When Muslims are traveling, they can delay saying their prayers until they arrive at their destination, but with mosques conveniently located every few miles, delaying prayer times is not really necessary.

What really made me write this post was this video that I stumbled upon. A British journalist for the BBC, Kate Humble, was in Jeddah(as part of the documentary, The Frankincense Trail) with the film crew where she was taken on top of a building in Balad (downtown Jeddah) during maghrib(sunset prayer). She was so over whelmed by the dozens of adhans that she breaks into tears.

I would like to end this post with this beautiful adhan from a mosque in Malaysia:

PS: For those of you who are wondering what the title of the post is all about, I was trying to make it sound similar to the latest game “Call of Duty – Modern Warfare 2” that hit the stores a few days back.

FormulaOne to derive a new formula?

That sound of revving Red Bull Renault F1 engine that I experienced in Tahlia Street in Jeddah in March, 2008 still rings a bell in my mind.

The adrenaline that rushed inside me on that day, still flows within me and I have always thought about going to a race within the next 2 years.

And while I was out for my morning run today, I witnessed another one of my FormulaOne desires come true. The BrawnGP FormulaOne Car that won 6 out of 7 races this year was on display in Liverpool One (Formula One in Liverpool One, 😀 ). They were busy polishing it to the finest before the swarm of people flock-in to catch a glimpse of the car. I was lucky enough to capture a photo of that “electronic gadget”:



Earlier today, I woke up to the news that Formula One might be splitting up from next year over cost-cutting issues. It seems that the “big teams” like Ferrari, McLaren, BrawnGP, Toyota, Renault, BMW Sauber, Red Bull and Torro Rosso, yes, thats pretty much all the teams that we have this year except the smaller ones like Force India. It seems that the association of the eight teams, FOTA, mentioned above are planning to set up a rival championship for the 2010 season.

All this because these teams did not agree to the budget cap set up by the governing body, FIA. Its probably the only adrenaline-filling sport and to see such a sport shattered into pieces is equally disappointing.