Faithful readers will know that I encountered baboons yesterday on the road between Mecca and Medinah. Let me just say this about that: It ws a good idea that the Prophet Muhammed ((PBUH) did not go the fast way, along the six lane highway and meet up with baboons for the following reason:
Papio hamadryas baboons, known reservoirs of several infectious diseases, roam and deposit their excreta indiscriminately on footpaths, parks, and streets of the city peripheries of Taif, Baha, and Abha in southwestern Saudi Arabia.
These amusing baboons are not so amusing. I shall send FAKE off to get the SUV washed and deodorized. I am in no mood for an infectious disease. The situation is even worse and the [problems are worsening. This from July 18, 2023 Arab News.
MAKKAH: Baboon appearances in several Saudi urban areas have become a concern recently, with sightings of the primates strolling and jumping around deep in the heart of cities. The question is: What next? In recent days, baboons have appeared in several neighborhoods in the capital city of Riyadh. The animals are believed to be natives of the Western Region’s Sarawat mountains, mostly in the southwestern areas from Taif to Asir and beyond. The sightings in the Central Region, however, are new. Arab News spoke to Ahmed Al-Bouq, supervisor of the national launch program and the research and breeding centers of the National Center for Wildlife, to understand more about herd migrations and what seems to be the domestication of the wild animals. “There are two files on the center’s table that will see the light soon. One of them evaluates the size and numbers of the monkey population in the Kingdom, the types of problems they cause, and their locations. This large study will include an experimental application of several solutions in two locations, one of which is within the city and the other in an agricultural area,” he said, adding that the results of the study would be followed by applied work to reduce these problems and that the files would be presented this year. The other file, he explained, addresses the problems of monkeys in Makkah, the holy sites, Jabal Al-Nour, Al-Adel, Duqm Al-Wabr and Jabal Al-Rahma. It focuses on where they were domesticated, what the size of their population is, and the role of people in increasing their numbers, especially since they are located in historical areas and interact with visitors. Hamadryas baboons are powerful and aggressive animals, though they will more often than not show their friendlier side when they need food. Officials in the area have warned residents to not feed the animals. The baboons swarm in the hundreds and steal food as a result of direct and indirect human activity, dumping food and remains in public parks. Cooking in undesignated areas has attracted the baboon populations and allowed them to enter cities in search of food. With the baboons boldly walking into cities and farmlands more often as of late, citizens have erected scarecrows in the shape of wild animals
I shall speak of this to AK within the hour.
Me: Please read this. Stopping and feeding the baboons was a totally stupid thing to do.
He: It is similar to what people say about our faith. Islam is perfect Muslims are not.
Me: And you are a Muslim and therefore not perfect. You are an absolutely excellent tour guide, probably the best in Saudi Arabia. However, you are stupid about baboons. I shall be in charge of baboon control when we form our company. I am not perfect either. You be in charge of important details, as you are knowledgable I will just be in charge of baboons and other trivial matters.
He: Yes of course. Sheikha Fatimah.
This is the best hotel I have ever had the pleasure of visiting and that is saying a great deal wince I have been residing in hotels with frequency – with some time off some time off June 1, 2022 to June 1, 2023 as I had my very own Edmonton apartment but did not travel extensively during that year, only to Saudi Arabia for my December Umrah.
More about this classy, classic hotel later. This morning at breakfast (most yummy) a ranking member of management suggested that this become the Alexis Oberlin. Hmmmm. Malaysia has Alix Residences; now Medinah has the Alexis Oberlin Hotel. My fame is spreading world wide – but only to Muslim majority countries. So Far. Hahaha
This hotel houses the Kyoto Restaurant. I ate there, at the sushi bar last night. AK’s mother so generously provided this wondrous gift. I chatted with the Sushi Chef. We spoke of many things, of cabbages and kings etc etc. . Admit this was not original, Here is the real thing: “The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To talk of many things: Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax— Of cabbages—and kings— And why the sea is boiling hot— And whether pigs have wings.”
Come to think of it, the Sushi Chef and I did not speak of cabbages, kinds, boiling hot seas nor flying pigs. The sushi bar has a right hand view and a left hand view. To the right is the classic European lobby of the Alexis Oberlin, quiet, peaceful and elegant. On the other hand, the other side featured a horde of pilgrims nosily practicing their faith.
Me: I speak quietly and reverently to Allah (SWT) when I pray. It seems that some of these celebrants are attempting to impress each other and not their Creator.
He: I agree, it seems that way to me and always has. You have voiced something I have been thinking for a long time. .
Spoke to AK about this phenomena as well.
Me: I pray quietly to our Creator. You do too, don’t you?
He: Yes I do.
Soon AK will collect me – off we shall go to view a few of Medinah’s famous sights. Religious sites (of course) but also the Medinah Fish Market, which is said to be larger and more important than the Abu Dhabi Fish Market. I did love visiting the Abu Dhabi Fish Market but it appears that Saudi Arabia has outdone and outclassed the UAE yet again. For obvious reasons that makes me SO happy
The Sushi Chef’s presentation the best I have ever seen. The salmon was undeniably fresh as shall be shown. The other photo is tuna and eel. The tuna is not as fatty as desired – the Sushi Chef added spice to make it deletable. The eel was slightly charred. This guy knows what he is doing!!!