While the recent spike in COVID cases across the Kingdom has not disrupted daily social activities such as going to malls and eating at restaurants, many families have still sought alternative ways to remain entertained while maintaining safety protocols within the confines of their homes. While the list of things to do at home can be endless, we suggest utilizing this time to immerse yourself within Saudi culture and keep yourself entertained at home.
Here are the Council’s top five suggestions for how to best get in with the locals:
Follow the Winter Olympics
Watch Saudi Arabia make history as it competes in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics for the first time! Fayik Abdi, the San Diego-born Saudi alpine skier, will compete in the men’s “Giant Slalom” event on Saturday, February 12th at 9:15 PM EST and Sunday, February 13th at 12:45 AM EST. To follow Fayik, be sure to tune in to beIN Sports or NBC Sports. Other notable events to watch include the men’s Ski Jumping finale on Monday, February 14th at 7:05 AM EST and the women’s Figure Skating competition airing on Tuesday, February 15th at 8:00 PM EST.
Cook Authentic Saudi Dishes
Impress family and friends by learning how to prepare authentic Saudi food such as mandi (a meat and rice dish), maqlooba (meat, vegetable, and rice dish which is flipped upside down when served), and hareesa (boiled wheat mixed with chicken or meat). “Saudi Food with Eman” on YouTube is a great place to start the process! Her videos can be found here.
Learn to Play Baloot
Want to fit in with the locals? Learn the art of the popular Saudi card game “Baloot.” Baloot found its way to the Kingdom via France or India (depending on who you ask) over 100 years ago and is currently the Kingdom’s most popular and most played card game. In fact, in 2018 Saudi Arabia launched its first ever “Baloot” tournament, with total prizes equaling $270,000. The game is played in two teams of two while using only 32 cards, excluding all cards with numbers from two to six. Holding five cards each, the two teams face off to win as many rounds as possible, generally using high-numbered cards to trump the opposing team. Learn the game’s full set of rules here.
Master your Oud Skills
This traditional musical instrument is used by many of today’s most popular artists in the Kingdom. While the shape of the oud is very similar to that of a guitar, their sounds could not be more different. The oud does not have a fret, thus allowing for a limitless set of sounds. Visit a nearby music store, such as “Samir Music Store” in Jeddah and Riyadh or “World of Art” in Al Khobar to purchase your own instrument. Oud costs range from $100 and up. To learn more about the oud and to hear its sound, click here.
Watch Saudi Films
Sit back and relax on your couch and indulge yourself with some of the top movies and shows produced by Saudi filmmakers. Many of the Kingdom’s best films can now be viewed on popular streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. To see the Council’s list of the top Saudi film productions, read our previous Lifestyle Corner here.