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# 74 Winter

winterWinter is coming … the words that every Saudi say when winter season is approaching, the reason Saudis notify each other that winter is coming, is because without knowing once you blink … winter will be already over. During winter, Saudis get excited and start leaving their homes to go out in nature like bunch of ants going out to get their food and brining it back to their casts. And usually you will witness Saudis fashion at its best during winter, you will see jackets, sweaters, and coats and traditional clothing with different style and colors.

Winter also plays a big part in the overall mood level, Saudis usually follow the saying “keep calm and carry on” in those times, since most of the year they are intense and frustrated; not sure why? Don’t be surprised when you see Saudi couples holding hands in public and getting romantic, its the magic of cool weather, and if there is also a little drizzly rain … Man, Saudis will turn into love birds in no time.

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# 73 Thursday

sweet-thursday.jpgEven after the weekend days were changed from Thursday and Friday, to Friday and Saturday… for Saudis Thursday will be still a special day and always will have its own good feeling to it. See, for Saudis when Thursday was the first day of the weekend, it was associated with going out spending some quality time with family and friends. In addition, Thursday is where married couples find intimacy and romance, since there is no work that day and both of our love birds are relaxed and in peace; I hope. After Thursday was changed and became the last working day, still Saudis are wired with the old system, therefore, Thursdays will still be a baby-making-day for so many. Saudis love Thursdays so much, they will stay up all night to make sure they spend every minute and fight their body not to go to sleep; eyes are bloodshot red, energy is at its lowest… but still awake for the sake of our beloved Thursday.

# 72 Events

Saudis like to attend events, and when I say events I mean exhibitions, conferences, bazaars, and so on. And sometimes I feel that some Saudis even if they don’t know what’s the event is all about… they still want to go as long as there going to be a lot of people in the event; Saudis are expert in being in public and as you know their favorite past time activity is people-watching, don’t get me wrong… not stalking but just simply people watching. One of the biggest events that Saudi Arabia is locally known for is the International Book Fair, and every year thousands of Saudis attend the event hoping to find the right book to read or the right person to meet, let us focus on the second reason…which is more realistic, the right person to meet. Saudis will walk into the book fair as if they rolled the red carpet ready to receive their Oscars, wearing their best outfit, going with full blown-out make-up, men are groomed like its their wedding night; it is just the whole nine yards.

book fair

And when it comes to bazaars, an event that predominantly attended by Saudi women, usually bazaars is about homemade stuff that women created to sell and show-off their artistic side that was hidden for ages… you will see knitting products that can be used for nothing to homemade desserts that can literally give you a heart attack on the spot.

# 71 Patchi

patchiPatchi chocolate (or Batchi chocolate with capital B; this how most Saudis like to pronounce it) is the perfect gift you can give when you are planning to attend any kind of occasion. For instance, if you are attending a holiday family gathering, a graduation party, or even if you are going to see your future in-laws… Patchi chocolate is the go-to gift. Honestly, I don’t know why Saudis like to buy Patchi chocolate as a gift; first it is not that cheap and second the taste is not that great, it’s a mediocre milk chocolate with fancy and shiny wrap around it. Back in the days, Patchi chocolate was the only place in Saudi Arabia where you can get fancy shmancy chocolate as a gift, until it became a tradition to get it for any event, what so ever.

If you walk to any Patchi store you will think that you just entered Buckingham Palace to visit the Queen; you will see people wearing three-piece suits with white gloves on… welcoming you with a soft smile and low voice… and once you choose the chocolate to buy, they will bring it laying on a pillow as if they are brining you the Queen’s crown to put it on, royal treatment .

# 70 Lebanese Food

When we talk about Kebabs, Hummus, Falafel, Shawarma; we refer to one of the most popular cuisines in Saudi Arabia or the safest bit to go to when Saudis feel hungry; you can never go wrong with grilled chicken on skewers. That is why you see Shawerma and Kebabs places all over the kingdom; it is basically safe and convenient. For the sake of this blog I will call it Lebanese food. We can argue all day long on the actual origin of those types of food, but who cares?

mix grill

The Lebanese food places here have different styles and sets, you will see the fancy five stars restaurants where they add olive oil and garnishing to their hummus so they upgrade their hummus from just a plane ground chickpeas to a 50 SAR plane ground chickpeas. Those places are suitable for newlyweds … you can see couples dipping pieces of pita bread into their plate of hummus and feeding each other (romance at its best) … and finish their meal with some giggles here and there and of course some warm Kanafa (middle eastern dessert). The other type of Lebanese food places is my favorite; usually they are located in neighborhoods that are not advisable to visit during nighttime. The queue is long and people are very close to each other as if you are setting up dominos pieces to fall against each other. Those places also serve meat on skewers, but the meat is usually mysterious meat; it’s a guessing game from here … bon appétit.

# 69 MBC

mbc_OGThe most watched TV channel in Saudi Arabia … and trust me it’s not by choice.

At first, MBC started broadcasting with one channel only before it was called MBC 1, now MBC has more channels than you can imagine; they cover categories such as, channels for kids, movies, sports, western TV shows, Bollywood movies, a channel dedicated to the Egyptian fans; called MBC Egypt and the list keeps getting bigger and bigger … don’t be surprised when you see MBC for pets, MBC for fat “couch potato” people that shows only food commercials all day, and you never know maybe one day you will see MBC 18+ it will be called MBC XXL (for my Hotbird satellite fans).

# 68 Vimto

VimtoSo big, so black, so thick, so sweet … I am describing the most popular beverage Saudis like to drink during the holy month of Ramadan when the time comes to break their fast. No one really knows why Saudis really enjoy Vimto only in Ramadan than any other month. See, Ramadan and Vimto bond goes way back in history … Rumor has it, that this syrupy drink was mistaken with oil when Saudis were looking for the black gold all over the kingdom; FYI Vimto and oil has almost the same color, consistency, and texture. Back in the days, while Saudis were drilling for oil … all of a sudden Vimto ejaculated out of the ground and showered everyone around that area, and they thought it was oil, but someone tasted this mysterious substance and said no way this is oil; its so sweet (as if he really tasted oil before!). Afterwards, the Saudis decided to make it a beverage for celebration since the real oil was discovered few minutes after. And there is no better time for celebration other than breaking your fast in Ramadan with your family drinking Vimto.

Side note: You can’t drink Vimto straight from the bottle, since it has a texture of maple syrup, therefore, you need to mix it with water … and to get the right drinkable consistency you need a professional chemist to do so, because it doesn’t come with instructions.