We thought quite a bit about our very first post. Should we do a guide about cities we’ve been to before? Wait for our next trip? Show you the kabsa we ate last night that was oh so good (but happens to be picture-less because food comes first. Always).
But then we thought, why not start with our own country? We happen to be from Saudi Arabia, in case you missed the About. Or the bit about kabsa. Or, you know. The picture heading this post. And- Er. Anyway. Anyone will tell you there isn’t a better introduction than our favoritest of saudi festivals: Aljanadriah [الجنادرية]
Held once a year around the end of February, the janadriah festival is a nod towards the venerable traditions in various parts of Saudi Arabia. A sort of saudi epcot, if you will. The 13 provinces of the country each have an area to work with, and display the best of their folk dances, food, products, buildings. Ministries have their own introduction booths as well, along with the armed forces and our neighbors from the GCC. It’s loud, crowded, and absolutely fun.
We managed to go this year with our grandparents. And because we love you, whoever you are, S spent her whole day amassing enough pictures of what we had time to see to paper the wall. Lucky yous. And since this is meant to be a travel guide blog, here are some tips for next year’s visit!
– It gets really crowded after 5, and naturally the people participating get tired as the day drags along, so go early. The earlier the better. This year the festival opened its doors at 3:30pm, so our advise is you leave the house at 3 and arrive there right when the doors open.
– Don’t do what we did and visit places at random. Big mistake. Start with the most popular attractions first, and go on an empty stomach. I suggest Hijaz, where you can find samboosa, mantu, yaghmush, mutabaq, all sorts of desserts and yummy things that’ll be a headache to get to at night and would make a great lunch. And they’re all worth it, trust me. Pass by the man who makes personalized seals before he gets busy, too!
– Bring water. You’ll get thirsty and once you leave the main entrance there won’t be a lot of places selling refreshments, mostly only traditional food.
-Ask when the عرضات start and plan your time around those, they’re the best part of the festival.
– Get plenty of cash in small bills. There’s a lot of wonderful things to buy and eat, and one big bill will be a headache to change.
– Get a camera, of course, for memories. Oh, and minimize the amount of selfies, er, please. For the good of the public.
– Ladies, someone told us the bathrooms at Albaha are the cleanest. We haven’t tried them to verify the claim, but there you go.
– This is a given, but respect the people around you and be polite. Also, always ask before you take portraits of people, especially the workers.
Please tell us if we’ve missed anything, or if you have any tips of your own to share!
sincerely dedicated to all things happiness,
two boots and a farwa.