From Saudi Arabia with Love

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In July of 2008 the Travel Channel aired an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” and it took place in Saudi Arabia. Well, I didn’t see the episode in 2008 when it first aired, but I did see it several weeks ago and I am sure the impact was no less.

It was wonderful for me to learn about a culture and country that is generally locked away behind a shroud. Anthony’s crew explored not only the culture of the country but also its religious heritage. It was in that exploration that I grew a great appreciation for the beauty of religion at its core. Five times a day there is prayer, five times a day there is a reminder that faith governs life, five times a day you are given the opportunity to personally reflect–for good or for bad.

Take a look at the video below and really take the time to explore the ideas presented starting at 4:10.

I will stay far away from commentary on particular aspects of their religion and culture. But I do say I respect the oneness that I can only image can be felt when an entire community/country gives pause and shares in such a moment.

Anthony Bourdain is a character and one has to grow to love him. But what you can say is that he speaks from his heart and he shares from his soul. I was pleased to get a real glimpse of that recently.

2 thoughts on “From Saudi Arabia with Love

  1. Densil,

    I wish I could say that I felt said “openness” when living in Saudi. The sad truth is that the time for prayer is not as respected as the “No Reservations” episode may have led you to believe. I did see the episode before I moved to Jeddah, and what I saw on TV did not compare to what I saw and experienced while living there. While there are a small minority that do embrace that feeling of openness and willingness to share as those who greeted Bourdain on his travel adventure, I would argue that the majority of people don’t come even close. Saudi still has a very long way to go. I would go on to say, that you also have to remember that Bourdain is male, which in and of itself is a skewed way of looking at life in Saudi.
    Anyway, just thought I’d add my two cents.

  2. Catalina:

    I fully agree with your statements. You know how you enjoy the idea of a thing? The belief that Santa is real as a child and then when you group up you realize he isn’t real…but you enjoy the excitement that others feel as they believe in him? I think for me it is like that about the idea that religion could be so “pure” and that it could be respected and seen as something which unifies. Thanks for your two cents it is better than no cents!

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