Monday, September 24, 2012

National Day Celebrations In Riyadh

The Kingdom of Saudi-Arabia celebrated its 82nd birthday on Sunday the 23rd of September. As usual, the streets were full of Saudis celebrating the National Day. In addition to everyone having Sunday off, King Abdullah had given an extra day off for government employees meaning many people got to enjoy a four day weekend which in Saudi-Arabia is normally Thursday and Friday.
 All the main streets and road were lined with Saudi flags. There must be literally tens of thousands of them. Wonder where they store them?
This year people had already began celebrating on Saturday and the streets flooded with cars flying Saudi flags and people hanging out of them. Tahlia street was fully packed with cars and young men ressed in the most creative outfits. Radio stations were playing patriotic songs and songs praising King Abdullah. Everything seemed to have turned green, including the Faisaliyah and Kingdom towers.
We went out on both evenings to see the celebrations. According to this Arab News article there would be celebrations in Kindy plaza at the Diplomatic Quarters where thousands of Saudi flags would be distributed and there would be a special program there. We live nearby and went to check it out, there was nothing there to our disappointment! Strangely the article also said malls such as Panorama and Hayat would have programs for kid, but in reality the malls remained closed on Sunday. I wonder how many people went all the way to these locations only to find out there was nothing there.
There were many other events around town though and we headed to check them out. There was a small festival area set up in the historical Diriyah area. We drove around the Wadi Hanifa and saw many families had set up fires and BBQ's around the wadi. The weather is finally cooling down and evenings in the wadi are very pleasant.
The Diriyah festival had some traditional dancing and music, poetry recitals, small handicraft market and camel rides.



I love how so many Saudi women relax and let go of their cultural restrictions in public on occasions such as National day. 

 A Saudi baba was showing how to make Arabic coffee by the fire.

Everyone was in high spirits and donning at least a Saudi flag or something green!

 At the festival area I was busy taking pictures of all the people who were requesting to be photographed. I could have stood there all night because people were literally lining up.
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My friend likes camels! I'm still too scared to get this close.
I love you! This is what some children came up to say :)
Please please take my picture too!
My daughter was scared of the coffee making baba. The first thing she said when he took her in his lap was "aiti!" which means mommy.
Meanwhile on the streets kids were hanging out of car windows, doors, roof tops and even sitting on top of the cars!

Older men enjoyed the fun in pimped up rides.
These boys better hurry before muttawa catches them!
And what would National Day be without a muttawa patrol? Here they are supervising on Tahlia street. 
My daughter was in on the fun too!
It was a very HABBY Saudi National Day!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Trader Vic's- Smashed Potatoes And Astronomical Prices

I'm planning a few changes to the outlook and setup of the blog in the near future hence from now on the restaurant reviews will be posted on the main page with links on the Riyadh Restaurant Reviews tab. A modified version of this review also appears on www.riyadheats.com.

I've been a frequent visitor and fan of this restaurant since Trader Vic's landed a branch in Riyadh a few years ago. Previously I had gone to their branches around the ME, my favorite being the one on the beach at the Oman Intercontinental Hotel. I love the exotic concept of this restaurant and the decor and music reminds me of holidays spent in the Pacific Islands and Caribbean..

The Saudi version of Trader Vic's is similar to its counterparts worldwide but it has certain "Saudi modesty" to it. Believe or not they actually have a separate bar complete with a long table and bar tender accompanied by an impressive range of cocktails, all non-alcoholic of course. Surprisingly open to females as well.

Trader Vic's is a refreshing change to the usual restaurant set ups in Riyadh. It's laid back and the atmosphere is relaxed. Background music is played although they don't have live bands like some of the other branches do. That might be pushing it too far for conservative Riyadh. Keeping true to Saudi culture, customers can choose from open area or the closed booths. There’s even a large room which can be reserved for parties and the restaurant can also do birthdays at request.
The restaurant is located at Panorama mall and it’s hugely popular with families and young Saudis, especially groups of women often frequent the family section of this restaurant. It's a little problematic to enter, because the entrance is actually outside the mall and you have to walk some while to get to it and by car on weekends this area is always very packed.
This restaurant has an indo pacific cuisine mixed with international foods. The selection of mock tails is broad and probably the best in Riyadh.
As an avid fan of this restaurant I was excited to visit again. To my disappointment there were many changes that had taken place from the last time I visited and all for the worse.

First off they had changed the menu. It used to look nice and match the theme of Trader Vic’s, full of creatively named and exotic foods. The new version however reminded me of something that would be handed out at a cheap American diner. It was plasticky and ugly and the foods were all tackily pictured. I found it off-putting especially with the price tags that came with it.

The prices had all been hiked up a notch. Trader Vic’s was always on the mid to high side of the price range but now we were talking about five star hotel prices. I asked the waiter and he confirmed the change to the menu and prices occurred recently. To my disappointment many of the main courses and appetizers had been removed from the list and replaced with boring stuff like spaghetti bolognese and burgers, as if Riyadh needs any more restaurants that serve a range of burgers.
My all time favorite dish from Trader Vic’s, the Norwegian Salmon had a new price tag of 125sr. One of us ordered it to be able to compare it to previous times. The service here has always been immaculate and there are plenty of waiters present. A young and very polite Filipino waiter attended to us. We ordered some mock tails from the extensive selection. The Blue Tea was so syrupy and sweet I couldn't finish it but the other drinks were much better, albeit borderline too sweet.
When the main courses arrived it became apparent the waiter had made a mistake on the order, bringing a STEAK instead of the ordered fish. He said he had heard "steak" instead of "hammour". Hmm..
To replace it took around 15 minutes during which I was drooling over my friends salmon dish.

Another setback for Trader Vic’s, the salmon was not served the same as it was on previous occasions. The taste was still good but the mashed potatoes, instead of being served on the side fluffy and whipped, were literally SMASHED underneath the fish in the most unappetizing way. So small a pile it was that we didn't even notice it at first and asked the waiter where the mashed potatoes were! Hiding under the fish and served with a few pathetic pieces of carrots and squash a portion size more suitable for a midget. Being a Scandinavian I have a good idea how a Norwegian salmon should be served and this was a far cry from it.
When the hammour filet finally arrived it was yet again another disappointment, it was extremely salty. The fish had the same pile of smashed potatoes under it and was served with those few tiny sticks of vegetables. Thankfully the pasta dish was much better in appearance, taste and the size of the dish was satisfactory.

The desserts were all delicious but the waiter made two more mistakes on our order, bringing one wrong dessert and coffee. We thought he might have been new but he also made the mistake of not repeating the order back which might have prevented the mishap. They did offer our coffees free of charge but regardless the bill for three persons was 550 sr. The price tag seems astronomical compared to what kind of food was served.

All in all I must say, sadly Trader Vic’s can no longer be placed on my favorite restaurants in Riyadh list. Although the place is great for the d├ęcor and the atmosphere, the hacking of the prices and the new style of menu and foods just seem to me like the place is only trying to cash out on its popularity, forgetting what made it popular in the first place.
The only reason I would go back to Trader Vic's is for some of those drinks at the cool bar!

Ratings
Overall: ** 3/4
Ambiance: ****
Decor: ****
Food: **
Service: ***
Value For Money: *

Friday, September 14, 2012

To Blog Or Not To Blog

That is the question..

Over the past week I've been pretty depressed about this whole blogging thing. Why? Well it started with Sumayya Mehtar and the realization of how ruthless and shameless people are nowadays when it comes to other people's property and work, and since then I have been contemplating my need or desire to continue blogging. If you don't know the background of this incident you can read my previous post about it: http://www.blueabaya.blogspot.com/2012/09/copycat-blogger-exposed.html
American Bedu's post here: http://americanbedu.com/2012/09/07/american-bedu-plagiarized/
Carol's new touching post about this issue: http://americanbedu.com/2012/09/14/saudi-arabiaworld-remember-your-heritage/
and Aafke's post here: http://clouddragon.wordpress.com/2012/09/05/thieving-in-blogsphere/

Eventually her fraud site was closed down and before that some of the plagiarized articles which had been reported to Google team were removed by them. Not surprisingly, she opened a new blog (not going to mention the name sorry to "disappoint" you folks) with most of the plagiarized material in it. She lost the AdSense though and her days as a modern day Robin Hood were over.

I checked through her new blog briefly and found a rewritten post on Janadriya (the one stolen from American Bedu had been removed by Google). When I saw three of my photos from Images of Saudi blog used on that post (cleverly combined with pics of her posing in front of various Janadriya locations) I just lost it. I mean, is this for real or am I just imagining things because surely nobody would continue stealing after being publicly called out for doing so then claiming she had only then realized stealing was in fact wrong and promising not to ever do it again? This was a bad joke right? I asked my husband to check just in case I was hallucinating or something, because it was simply so MIND BOGGLING.
Nope, it was real, and I was REALLY pissed off.

With smoke coming out of my nostrils from rage, I searched Google images for "Janadriya" to see what that produced. I was shocked to find two additional cases of copyright infringement of my material. This time it was not a attention-desperate blogger though, but reputable online news websites who cannot, unlike Sumayya Mehtar claim ignorance to copyright rules. To my surprise a photo collage that appeared on Al Arabiya English website had used three of my images on it that had been taken from the Images of Saudi photo blog. I was pretty taken aback and could not believe it. If even a newspaper is taking my work without permission, then what else is out there?

Next I Googled "muttawa" to check this key word which often brings hits to my blog. Well surprise surprise, another of my images, on the top results btw, was taken by a news site called Albawaba. Again no credits or mention of sources.

Then I stopped searching, frustrated and angry, finding it pointless. Some of these images even had watermark on them. What is the point of placing the watermarks again? It doesn't seem to matter if even Alarabiya can use them regardless.

All this just made me feel that my work on Images of Saudi is for what? For people to come and ruthlessly just take it? Or for people to see perhaps a side to Saudi-Arabia they didn't know before, maybe learn something new or even change their outlook on this country that has such a bad rep in general all over the world?
I started that blog for the purpose of showing the world what Saudi-Arabia is really like, from my perspective of course. When people think of Saudi they usually have a negative and boring image of it. There is more to this country than sand and camels. I wanted to try and portray a more realistic picture of Saudi people too. It's not all just black and white.

Now I started to feel this blog is being used merely by people to come and pick and choose what they like and use as they wish without any recognition. Like a free image gallery of Saudi-Arabia. I felt like a fool. I put so much time in that blog, it's not just snap a pic and go upload it then click post. It's much more than that.

Naturally I was aware of the possibility and even likelihood of my images being used without permission when I started blogging and had accepted that, but all this was just too much. I was so naive to think people would have the same level of integrity as I do. I had good faith in people. I've always had a problem of trusting people too much.

So I started placing watermarks on some of the most searched (and assuming most stolen) images, if that would deter the laziest people. I placed it blank in the middle so sneaky people can't crop it out. I don't care if it looks ugly! This is my work, don't steal it!
However if I were to place watermarks on all the images, on both blogs, that would mean about 1800 images. Do I have the time? Do I have the energy? No. So what to do?

I have decided to either close down the Images of Saudi blog altogether, or leave it as it is and slowly add watermarks and see how I feel. I'm so utterly frustrated and overwhelmed that I can't simply get all the images protected with watermark now. I wish there was some easy way to do it, but I noticed that the only way to make it work is doing one by one and carefully selecting the placement. The watermark program I used to do hundreds of images at once (which I lost after the computer crash) simply placed the watermark on the same place on each image and it's not visible clearly or then can be cropped out on some of the images. Is there a company to hire to do this?? In any case there are still ways to remove the watermark. The disable right click option is annoying to readers and it also means you can't open many pages or links from the blog.

How about a watermark like this on all the images from now on :)
P.S. I contacted both news websites and Al Arabiya english responded promptly, took the images down and are now investigating the matter.
Albawaba did not remove the image but placed a mention of the source on the image caption.
Sumayya Mehtar's new blog is now for invite only.
P.P.S The good news is Carol aka American Bedu has asked me to help by providing her with images for the American Bedu documentary project! I am so honored and excited about it :) The primary message of the documentary is the need for building bridges between cultures and spreading awareness of support for cancer.
Here is the link for the trailer and fundraiser: https://www.wepay.com/donations/fundraiser-for-the-americanbedu-documentary
Half of the proceeds resulting from the sale of the documentary are being directly sent to organizations involved in cancer research and patient support.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Return Of The Saudi Post Chocolate Monster

There is no wrath like the one of a pregnant Finnish woman whose long awaited Finnish mega chocolate bar has been stolen by the Saudi postal guy. AGAIN. 
Don't attempt to steal chocolate from a pregnant woman. Ever.

Speaking of theft, stealing, dishonesty and greed..Check out American Bedu's post about the plagiarism scandal going on in the blogosphere: http://americanbedu.com/2012/09/07/american-bedu-plagiarized/

So my long awaited package from the online Finnish food store called Suomikauppa arrived today. Husband picked it up from the P.O BOX, since Saudi-Arabia hasn't arranged actual addresses for its citizens yet. Oh well it's only 2012 and such an advancement can't be anticipated for another 20+ years. I mean they don't even let women drive yet so why would they be so advanced to have physical addresses? That's just pure vanity! Is it a coincidence that the Saudi Postal services are responsible for both driving licenses and addresses? Hmm..
Now let me tell you how many times I have ordered from this online store. About like 100 times. Ok. How many times do you think I received the entire order? 0. Don't get me wrong, the customer service in the Suomikauppa is excellent. They know what the word service means. Unlike in Saudi-Arabia where people think service means "sit on your ass all day tapping on your iPhone ignoring anyone who speaks to you and only answer back in a rude tone showing as little interest as possible while maintaining eye contact with the mobile device only." oh and "never, under any circumstances answer the land-line phone".

My package was very much anticipated this time because:
A) it contained a large Finnish chocolate bar which I have been craving for a long time now. This is like the best chocolate in the word, no joke people.
B) it contained my favorite Finnish coffee. I tend to get very grumpy sometimes if I haven't had my caffeine fix. Also I'm pretty darn bored of drinking instant coffee which to me tastes more like boiled old dish water and should rather be called instant diuretic.
C) It was supposed to contain a surprise on behalf of the store rewarding my returning customer-ship.
D) I'm pregnant and craving this specific chocolate.

I had also ordered baby foods (yes I have to order some baby food all the way from Finland because it's healthy and organic and babies love the taste and nothing like it is available here because healthy baby food in Saudi equals chips and nuggets). I also had some special rice and rye oatmeal in there.

I bet Mr. Saudi Post Office Guy aka Mr. Ruthless Thief already recognizes this package when it comes to the office. He probably has his fingers itching to take it into the back room for "inspection". One time he was so thorough doing his inspection that he had sacrificed his safety and taken a bite or two out of the chocolate bar. He dutifully placed it back into the package though.

And what about that time when Mr. Chocolate Monster Maniac had to finish off the entire Fazer Blue chocolate bar, just to make sure no part of it contains liquor or, God forbid a hidden machine gun? His heartfelt dedication is admirable. I am still touched that he left the empty wrappers behind, like as a sign of his hard work and devotion.

This time some pretty committed guy had opened my package and as usual rummaged through it. As I went through the contents it became evident that both my chocolate AND coffee were missing. Un-friggin-believable. Worse yet, it looked like the "surprise" has been taken too since there is nothing extra in the parcel. I am guessing they sent candy of some sort but it wasn't mentioned in the list of contents.
I. Was. Fuming.
Why does he always go for the largest chocolate bar? Can't he for once take the salmiakki, you know the ammonium chloride??
And the healthy foods are all there again. Of course. Why would he consume anything healthy?

WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?

Does Saudi postal services employ starving people off the street who are forced to eat whatever edible they can find in the parcels? Are the employees told to actually taste stuff? Are employees indulging in expensive goods sent from around the world, perhaps taking small bits home to share with the wife? Do some of these employees have huge stashes of stolen goods at home? Is there anyone supervising this zoo? Are there surveillance cameras? Do they employ ex-convicts only? What is this place anyways?
Where is that machine gun!?

I wanted to storm into the post office right there and then to find the guilty parties. I would find him even if he was hiding under all the boxes munching on my delicious chocolate. Does he even know how to make filter coffee, huh? I bet not!! This was the last time I was going to just rant about it. Something needed to be done. My husband was not too keen on my idea, knowing that I might need to cool down a "bit" before entering the office. I insisted he take me there but it was already closed (lucky for them) so we have to wait until the next day.

In the meanwhile I went to their website in hopes of finding a way to make a complaint. Not a huge surprise this was not possible. I saw a customer service number, but ignored it, being so accustomed to government offices or any other businesses here who predominantly employ Saudis not picking up the phone. Then something must have clicked in my head (I'll blame it on the pregnancy brain which is lacking intelligent activity and possibly operating on two brain cells at the moment) because I changed my mind and called.

Lo and behold someone picked up after all the press this or that button stuff was over. They spoke English. That's not all folks. He actually tried to find out what happened.
He tracked the parcel and asked me did we sign when picking it up. I told him of course, isn't that the only way to receive it. Turns out if you already signed it, there's nothing they can do for you. Even if they go to the dude that mishandled your parcel, he can always say they took it, not me!

Ok this makes sense in a way. HOWEVER why is the customer not informed of this policy when he picks up the parcel? I have heard stories of everything under the sun (including Victoria's Secret panties) being stolen by Saudi Post officers. So why not have a system in place to try stop these violations? They should warn the customers to open it up at the office before signing just in case something has "disappeared into thin air". And then there should be a system where you can file a complaint of missing goods. And someone should actually follow that up. On top of that there should be consequences for the violators. But this is veeeeryyyyyy complicated and advanced. Can this kind of development be expected to happen in Saudi-Arabia any time soon?

This is what the chairman of the Saudi Post has to say:
"Over the ages of human civilization and history, civilization experts confirm that post has been an important component in attempting to identify the progress and prosperity of nations, as it is one of the engines of sustainable development of human societies in its different stages, and in the moral values of society, the postman is always one that we desire to come to our doors."

What does the Saudi Post tell us about the progress and prosperity of this nation? I don't need a civilization expert to figure that one out.

I would love to have the Saudi postman come to my door with my parcel next time. Oh ya I forgot we have no addresses. Until next time then when I personally open the parcel at the office..Watch out Mr. Chocolate Monster!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Copycat Blogger Exposed

Many of us bloggers put a lot of time and dedication into our blogs. I would go so far as to say we sometimes pour our hearts out online. I sometimes work on a particular post for many days, if not weeks at a time. I do research, I re-write stuff, check for spelling mistakes, I edit and upload pics. Maybe I'm a perfectionist and I could spend less time on here. But my motto is, if you're going to do something, then do it 100%.

I would say blogs are like gardens. Us bloggers need to start from scratch, we build the foundations, plant the seeds and wait for our work to grow. It takes time and effort. "verta, hikea ja kyyneleita" (blood, sweat and tears) as the Finnish saying goes. Like flowers need regular watering to strive, the blog needs constant up-keeping to flourish.

Taking material from another blog without permission is like sneaking into someone's garden and ripping the plants and flowers out, then giving them to someone or planting them in your own garden. Simply put, it's stealing of someone else's property.
When a blogger steals material from another blog, this naturally feels very upsetting, maddening and frustrating and like all our hard work is being exploited. It seems like some people just have no shame these days and this happens despite us having copyright notices on our blogs.

The reason I'm writing this entry is my random discovery today of a so called "copycat blogger" who I am going to expose because of the outragous plagiarism on her site. I randomly found her site by doing a google search. This is not just a case of a single copied post but the entire blog seems to be based on taking material from others. How can someone think they can get away with this in the first place? I'm upset on behalf of everyone she stole from.

According to her site and FB fan page she is a Muslim of South African origin who works as pharmacist at a large reputable hospital in Riyadh. She calls herself the "Desert Pill Pusher" but her name is Sumayya Mehtar, a self proclaimed philanthropist and public figure. Strange then that she needs to take most of her material from others.

Blue Abaya is not the only site that she has plagiarized from. American Bedu, Susie of Arabia, Rasheeds World, A Canadian in Riyadh, Saudi Jeans, from who she either directly copy pasted the articles off, or used material and altered the text a little. I don't get how this site has been running for over a year and nobody noticed this before. All those subscribers and fans on FB must not have a clue.

Some of the articles she stole from my blog just last month, like this post I wrote about Ramadan and the Hardees fungus burger incident: http://blueabaya.blogspot.com/2012/08/ramadan-junk-food-and-fungus-burgers.html
She divided this into two posts on her site, basically copy pasting the entire article, but "cleverly" changing the last part where I explain about emailing McDonald's, she writes "my friend emailed". How ingenious. And sorry but I am not your friend.
http://desertpillpusher.blogspot.com/2012/08/ardees-ramadaan-special-fungus-burger.html
http://desertpillpusher.blogspot.com/2012/08/ramadhaan-junk-food-and-obesity.html

Can you believe the audacity? The more I looked the more I found plagiarized content, it seemed endless. This really PISSED ME OFF. I posted comments on her blog and Facebook "fan page" exposing her plagiarism but she has deleted the comments and afterwards changed the title to "by Layla" like that makes any difference. Get real. No links, no mention of source and most importantly no asking permission, apologies or withdrawing the stolen content.

I also informed a few bloggers of the plagiarism and they and some friends posted on her Facebook page but all those comments were deleted as well. The plagiarized material still remains there though.

Browsing through this fraud site I found more material taken from my posts, for example from Bedouins as patients, Eternal Veil, Saudi Dating scene and Saudi culture and Visiting the sick
which I recommend you read and compare to the below post. I'm not going to post multiple links to her blog and just in case she takes it down here is her version of my article:

"The culture of visiting the sick in Saudi Arabia is very much the same to what I have experienced in South Africa especially amongst the South African muslim community. Muslim families in South Africa are usually very close knit and hence when one family member is admitted in hospital it is not unusual to see the whole family gathering at the hospital including, uncle and aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews and oh yes let us not forget the 45th cousins, neighbours and the extended family as well. Many a times family members will bring food for the patient and sometimes there would be extra food for all the family members visiting the sick. There were times when I noticed families ordering pizzas or machachos chicken that was delivered to the hospital.
Now in Saudi Arabia visiting the sick is a very important part of the culture simply because it stems from the Islamic religion. A patient in a Saudi hospital is rarely left alone. The patient will almost always have a "miraafiq" or a "sitter" staying in the room with them. These sitters are usually family members. They might be a son, a daughter, a mother or father, grand daughter or grand son, aunt or uncle, brother or sister. The most important thing is that the patient is never neglected or left alone. The patient must always be look after by the family.The family may also provide a paid sitter in addition to a family member.
For many western nurses, this usually comes as a huge surprise, a positive one of course!! In many western orientated countries, sadly patients rarely have visitors. They may visit over the weekend only or may come by during a holiday if the patient resides within an old age home. Many a times the old and elderly are forgotten in these old age homes with absolutely no relatives visiting them at all.
In the Kingdom, it would be considered a great shame and a disgrace to place one's parents in an old age home.Old age homes are non existent here.There is no need for them as it is considered an honour to take care of one's parents and have them reside within your own home.
The sitters take care of all the basic needs of the patients. They will help them eat, even feed them if they can not feed themselves. They will assist in taking the patient to the toilet, bathing the patient and very simply carrying out any task that the patient requires in order to make the patient feel as comfortable as possible.I think this just fantastic!!The families here are just so close knit and its amazing to see just how dedicated they are to towards the wellbeing of the patient.For example, I would bet you that no average western man would "babysit" their very ill, possibly demented, bedridden mother.Would a western man change her diapers, feed her, turn her in bed, rub her feet, read her books or recite the Bible to her? The Saudi man on the other hand would never say a bad word or get irritated if the mother is demanding, forgetful or confused.
In the Quraan, there are several verses stressing kindness towards parents. Here is one of them..."be dutiful to your parents,if one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour. (Quran17.23). Do a google search on "kindness to parents" and you will be amazed to find that the top 10 rdsults are all from Islamic websites.
And how about a husbands dedication to his ill wife? They will go through anything to please their wives.This also comes from Islam where the prophet Muhammed (saw) mentioned "the best among you (men) are the ones who are best in treatment towards their wives." The elderly patients will be the most respected and they may have great great grand children visit them.Children are much valued in Saudi culture and I've come across parents with 17 children. Mind you in South Africa there are a few families within our suburb that do have 12 and 15 children and a my friend's dad came from a family of 21 kids...Yes folks.. 21 kids from one mother.
A patient might have many visitors all at once. Sometimes they would fill up the whole room.They will bring tea or Qahwa (arabic coffee), chocolates, flowers, cakes and pastries to offer the patient. Sometimes trolleys of cooked food is wheeled into the patients room and the whole family will partake of the food with the patient. Saudis are the most hospitable nation I've ever met.They will always invite the medical staff to join the family for a cup of qahwa or tea or to taste the food. They are noted for giving generously even if they are poor they always want to give you something. Often the visitiors will come in groups of either men and women and they will visit the patient separately, although if they are closely related they will go in together. Many a times the family members will burn 3oud inside the room as a welcoming gesture to the guests."

I am simply too shocked and disgusted to say anything to this. Actually in a way I also find this really pathetic and sad.

The most outrageous thing I noticed was a recent post by her called "My article in the newspaper" and a link to a South African newspaper which published her article titled: "The magical month in the Kingdom". This article has a part of it DIRECTLY copied from my post two years earlier titled, surprise surprise "The Magic Month In The Kingdom". "Her" article was published in Lenasia times: http://www.lenasia-times.co.za/editions/july2012/travel/1.html.
I have contacted this newspaper and informed them about the plagiarism.

So if you are a Saudi blogger I would suggest you check this pill pusher site out. Maybe she popped some of your work on there too. She says on her site "NO I'm not a terrorist." Well you certainly are a thief, and this is not the way to go about blogging. Respect other bloggers and their material, ask permission, link back, mention the source, don't take someone's hard work and use it as your own and expect to get away with it.

I remember as a kid complaining to my mother once about some girls who would copy everything I did. She said "don't mind them, they are just envious of you and want to be more like you. The more they copy you the more awesome you are in their eyes."

EDIT/UPDATE

Sumayya Mehtar has removed some posts from her site which were directly copy-pasted from Blue Abaya. She however re-posted her plagiarized version of my "Visiting the Sick" article on her site, without asking permission. She only posted a link on the bottom. The audacity is mind-boggling to me.

She did issue a public apology directed to me (but not any other blogger or journalist she stole from) on her FB page, claiming she did not know what she was doing was wrong. That is like saying, I went to the bookstore and took a book home to read without paying, I didn't know this was wrong. Nobody is that clueless or naive. I think she is just trying desperately to save her face. She has now added some links to the posts she stole trying to make it look like she had asked permission.

Her claim that "someone had randomly emailed her the articles" which she then posted and altered (to sound like she wrote them) is equally ludicrous. Why in the world would someone do that, and even if they did (which she has FAILED to provide any proof of) it's still using someone else's material and trying to make it look like your own.

The thing that makes this even more serious is that her site uses Google Adsense, which means she is profiting with the plagiarized content. She even directly informed me about the money coming in from adds, begging me to let her keep the articles so she doesn't loose money (which she claims to donate if someone wants to believe that). 

The Lenosia times have not contacted me back yet regarding the plagiarism. It has come to my attention that the ENTIRE article published on Lenosia times was copied from different bloggers and journalists. The others parts were from these sites:
Susie of Arabia's post: http://susieofarabia.wordpress.com/2009/09/10/ramadan-tv-tash-ma-tash/
Caryle Murphy of The National: http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-east/ramadan-in-saudi-arabia-is-a-different-experience
Bassma Al Toaimi in Destination Jeddah: http://www.destinationjeddah.com/portal/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1184%3Aramadan-saudi-style-the-month-of-cherished-traditions&catid=99%3Asettling-in&Itemid=485

I suggested to her she contact each and every one of the bloggers and journalists she stole from and apologize. Secondly for her to issue a public apology addressing everyone on the blog and Facebook page explaining what she has done. Then, remove all plagiarized content from the blog (would there be anything left?). Also contact Lenosia times herself and inform about the plagiarism.

She has blocked several people including me from her Facebook page and deletes comments sent to her blog re plagiarism.

And after all this, she still wishes we could be friends and share content and she has asked me to take this post down because it is bringing her shame. That is called KARMA coming right back at you.