Relaxing by the Red Sea

The Corniche, a boardwalk along the coast of the Red Sea in Jeddah that stretches for miles and miles, is a favorite gathering place for families, especially in the cooler winter months. Many come to picnic or barbecue; others come to ride bicycles (women are not allowed though) or skateboard or fly kites while enjoying the refreshing breezes coming off of the water. Some just walk along the Corniche, enjoying the fabulous displays of public art in the form of sculptures, while many prefer to fish. The Red Sea is home to a vast array of delicious fish and is a popular snorkeling destination. And when the calls to prayer are sounded, you will see everyone stop what they are doing to perform their prayers, right there on the boardwalk, next to the gentle waves of the deep blue Red Sea.
This family was enjoying quiet time together – a little girl is barely visible sitting on the mother’s lap. The mother is dressed in black from head to toe, and the father wears the traditional white men’s clothing. It was about 8:30 on a February morning when the air was cool, crisp and breezy.


About SusieOfArabia

American woman now living in hubby's homeland of Saudi Arabia
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16 Responses to Relaxing by the Red Sea

  1. Arabian Knight says:

    Beautiful picture indeed. However, please allow me to draw your attention that Arabia is a Muslim country and therefor follow the teachings of Islam (Law). If you think the women in the picture is forced to not expose her self to those who would objectify her, then you are wrong. She dress like that with her full willingness in obedience to her creator and to safeguard her modesty, dignity and honor; which will not happen if she wear a bikini 🙂

    “No matter what a Muslim woman wears, there is always someon who wants them to wear less. For whom, why or how, seems to escape the materialistic mind that wishes to objectify every living life form. What matters is how the woman sees herself, and what distorts her is seeing herself through other people’s eyes. The eyes of secularism, of materialism, of music videos, of the women who have lost themselves, all threaten to de-veil the Muslim women, not just of a piece of cloth, but of who she is!” []

    ..peace out ladies and gents!

    • Hi Arabian Knight – Thanks for your explanation. While I know that most women here would say that it is their choice to dress like a nun in this severe heat, there are also women who would prefer not to as well, myself included. It is not MY choice to dress in an abaya and hijab here – it is my husband’s wish that I do so, and that mainly comes from pressure within his family. There are Muslim women in other parts of the world who manage to dress modestly without the need for a black abaya (black is so impractical for the climate here), and other Muslim women around the world who also believe there is no need for hijab.
      The discussion here stemmed from the fact that women here in KSA are forbidden from riding bicycles in public, among other things. Women here are denied many freedoms and pleasures in life, like the simple joy of riding a bicycle along the Corniche next to the beautiful Red Sea. What my point is, is that something as simple and innocent as this always seems to be turned into something nasty and sexual as far as women are concerned, and the result is that it seems that women are always punished by restricting them from doing these things. It is this type of thinking that really bothers me.
      Thanks again.

      • Arabian Knight says:

        Thank you for your valuable comment. When a women decide not to wear hijab and go out in public, this is considered an immoral behavior according to the custom of the country, that’s why your husband asks you to wear hijab and abaya. And you will not feel comfortable doing so, as the youth will consider you an immoral woman and will try to flirt with you. Like a western women with a short min-skirt walking among men sending sex invitations by exposing herself. The abaya, however, is so light and silky, I wonder why it bother’s you, you might want to consider a different fabric. Anyway, it is self-evident to respect other countries customs.

        [Collections of Abayas]:

        In addition, you make it seem that women in Arabia are dieing to ride a bicycle and men force them not to 🙂 Why would a women who has her chauffeur on the command to take her to dine in the finest restaurants and shops from the most luxurious shops, be so eager to ride a bicycle! You might want to start a protest on that issue, but I’ll be surprised if many women joined you 🙂 I would, however, agree with your point that “something as simple and innocent as this always seems to be turned into something nasty and sexual as far as women are concerned” but without generalization. I would like to add that women in Arabia work, get the finest education possible, socialize, rule businesses, and so on. If a husband misbehave with his wife, what usually happens, is she pick’s her high-tech cell-phone and call her brother, father, or any relative and he will fight for her right to the last breath, as – not like in the west – Muslim societies are based on the family not the individual. Of course law intervene if relatives failed to sort the problem.

        Anyway, here is a link of a cool American dude, who talks about hijab and stuff, you might find it interesting.

        ..peace out!

  2. Jim says:

    Yes lovely day lovely picture

  3. Susan says:

    When we were kids, we used to put the conch shells up to our ears “to hear the ocean”. Summertime, we’d visit the ocean, granted Maryland’s ocean doesn’t look like the Red Sea, but … it was great just the same.

    Road bikes early in the morning along the Boardwalk. Got simply sick on salt water taffy! lol Good times!

  4. ladyfi says:

    Love the crisp feeling of the sea breeze in the photo.

  5. jean says:

    beautiful picture.

  6. Dina says:

    This is a beautiful picture of human life.

    And it’s a nice link between us when I remember that I snorkeled in the waters of that same Red Sea.

  7. Geogypsy says:

    You’ve captured a beautiful family moment.
    It is sad that women are punished for the sins of man. Does seem a little archaic.

  8. Jacob says:

    Thanks for that info, Susie. I don’t see any hope, either, for whether it’s cultural or religious, it is what’s taught to children who grow up living it…how does one break that cycle?

  9. Erin says:

    love the shot of the sea…i am already missing the mediterranean sea. have a terrific thursday.

  10. Carver says:

    What a beautiful shot. Looks like a pleasant place to sit by the sea. I’m glad it was cool. The hardest thing to me about clothing would be the heat, especially the black attire the women wear. As a 50 something year old woman in America, I don’t wear the short shorts of my thinner years, ha, but I wear as little as possible in the summer. It would be a huge adjustment for me and I admire the way you are so matter of fact about it all.

  11. Hi Jacob – Men here cannot control themselves around women and constantly see everything in terms of sex. That is why women are punished and must dress like nuns here – because of the men’s failure to be able to act civilized and decent toward women. This is a male dominated society. It is hard to distinguish between what is actually due to the religion and what is cultural – it is deeply blurred.

  12. Hi Cieldequimper – Women are not allowed to do so many things here, like drive, for example. If I am wrong about this, someone please correct me, but women are only allowed to have their faces and hands exposed. The female form cannot be revealed – women have to pretend that we do not have legs at all and men cannot see that we have legs because it would be too arousing for them to handle. Sitting on a bike seat, the form of the female toosh would show and that would be haram (forbidden)!

  13. Jacob says:

    Women aren’t allowed…seems to be the rule, I guess. That is just too sad. Are the men really that insecure or is just their patriarchal religion on steroids?

  14. Lovely shot, the sea looks extremely enticing. Why aren’t women allowed to bicycle? Because some parts of their anatomy like ankles or shins would show?

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