Questioning My Fate, My Role in All of This, Finding Relief in a Profound Saying by Mary Lou Angelo; The Next Chapter Finds Alexis and AK in Jeddah’s Old City; Hang Onto Your Hat; An Enormous Surprise; Ripped Worn, Tired But There: Proof Shown by Photographs and Others Showing the Beauty of the Old City

I am taking all of this very seriously. 

You: What is all this? 

Me: What was I doing with the magazine in the first place? 

Why did I find it in my possessions at exactly the right time – after I became of the Islamic Faith? It would have been meaningless if I found it before I was a Muslim 

Why did I take it with me to Dubai – I wan only going there to see Expo 2020 at the time.        Why did I trustingly give it to this man? 

Why am I so incredibly determined to get it back to its rightful owners – the Saudi people. 

Is there a reason that this has become an absolute mission in my life? 

In the midst of this questioning it was an absolute blessing to find some relief. I, rather accidentally, found a quote from Maya Angelou, an incredible woman. I identify with her and find resonance in this wisdom. 

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

I have, therefore, given myself permission to carry on with my Magazine Mission but to continue while, at the same time, thriving, with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style. Goodness knows, I have the humor; goodness knows I have the passion;  and goodness knows, I have the compassion. But do I have the style? Not sure – so I shall take a recess and explore the concept of style. Wondering if Maya Angelou views style in the same light. 

There are six definitions for the noun. There were the suitable synonyms for my interpretation:  smartness, grace, gracefulness, urbanity, chic, dash, finesse, panache, elan, pizzazz, ritziness, oomph, zing. 

The noun, style,  is also defined as a manner of doing something:• a way of painting, writing, composing, building, etc., characteristic of a particular period, place, person, or movement: OR 

a way of using language OR :.a way of behaving or approaching a situation that is characteristic of or favored by a particular person:. The later example used in a sentence: Backing out isn’t my style. Synonyms: Way, approach, mode, modus operandi, MO. 

Examining all of these alternatives, decided I could do it with some style if it were  were gracefulness, urbanity, panache, elan, oomph, zing  and MO. 

With this measure of relief we return to the Quest. With some stops along the way AK, his colleagues and little old me arrived in Jeddah a fascinating Saudi Arabia city. It was definitely a fun time. We embarked on several touristy excursions  including a boat ride with a Captain whose ‘day job’ was a Saudi Airlines pilot.  It was MOST amusing – that story to be told later.

A reel previewed in yesterday’s blog shows me having fun, behaving in a manner illustrating humor, passion and oomph. 

Wikipedia speaks glowingly of Jeddah.

“Jeddah (English: /ˈdʒɛdə/ JED-ə), alternatively transliterated as Jedda, Jiddah or Jidda (/ˈdʒɪdə/ JID-əArabic: جِدَّة, romanized: Jidda, Hejazi pronunciation: [ˈdʒɪd.da]), is a port city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia and the country’s commercial center. It is not known when Jeddah was founded, but Jeddah’s prominence grew in 647 when the Caliph Uthman made it a travel hub serving Muslim travelers going for IsIamic pilgrimage to the hoIy city of Mecca. Since those times, Jeddah has served as the gateway for millions of pilgrims who have arrived in Saudi Arabia, traditionally by sea and recently by air. With a population of about 4,697,000 people as of 2021, Jeddah is the largest city in Makkah Province,[5] the largest city in Hejaz, the second-largest city in Saudi Arabia (after the capital Riyadh), and the ninth-largest in the Middle East. It also serves as the administrative centre of the OICJeddah Islamic Port, on the Red Sea, is the thirty-sixth largest seaport in the world[6] and the second-largest and second-busiest seaport in the Middle East.” 

Reading the entire Wikipedia entry on Jeddah is highly recommended. But we travelled to the most interesting section. Again, Wikipedia supplies the history:

“The Old City known as Al-Balad with its traditional multistory buildings and merchant houses, that often still belong to the families that inhabited them before the oil-era, has lost ground to more modern developments. Nonetheless, the Old City contributes to Hejazi’s cultural identity. Since it has been granted UNESCO World Heritage status, in 2014, several traditional buildings have been restored and made open to the public. In 2019, the Saudi crown prince, Muhammad bin Salman, has issued a royal decree that orders The Ministry of Culture to restore 50 historical buildings in Jeddah.[ Several historic mosques from different eras are located in al-Balad, as well as one of oldest museums in the city, called Bayt Naseef or Naseef house, displaying local furniture and interior design of the past 150 years.”

AK of Eish’ha Tours got me there, bargaining with the driver of a multi-passengered golf cart. This is the typical mode of transportation as there are so many perfectly preserved streets. Off we went!  Photographs will follow. It is amazing to be there. One can imagine it in the good old days; the streets are the same as they were, people are dressed in Saudi clothes and there is an aura of community. We stopped frequently jumping off to enter the shops, museums and a mosque. One of the last stops was a building that housed the Old Library. Walked in the door  what did I find??? My magazine!! 

As you shall see it was a torn, bruised, battered and beleaguered version but it was the May 31, 1943 Life magazine. AK dutifully photographed Alexis Dryburgh McBride clutching the magazine, as if her life depended on it. 

The owner of the Library and AK carried on a conversation in Arabic. Upon translation I was to learn that owner has in his possession a pristine copy of the May 31, 1943 Life – it is for sale. It can be purchased for the right price, which is within my capability. Needless to say it is more than ten cents (which it originally sold for). I played with the idea of having AK return to Jeddah, bargain for the purchase. I would later return, interrogate the owner inquiring to see to if he had purchased it from the Sham Sultan, from the Magazine Thief. Anyway, that became irrelevant as the next chapter shall reveal. Hold onto your hat!! 

Hold onto your hat is an expression warning someone of a big surprise. Used in a sentence: old your hat—we just won the lottery. This expression may allude, according to lexicographer Eric Partridge, to a wild ride on a rollercoaster. [The phrase “hang onto your hat” is often used to mean “get ready for something exciting or unexpected.” There are several synonyms that can be used in place of this phrase, such as “brace yourself,” “hold tight,” “be prepared,” “get set,” “buckle up,” and “hang on for dear life.” Each of these expressions conveys a sense of anticipation or urgency, suggesting that something big is about to happen and one should be ready for it. Whether you use one of these synonyms or stick with the original phrase, the important thing is to stay alert and be ready for anything that comes your way.

Photographs will include the bruised, battered, beleaguered magazine, Alexis wearing a Hanan gifted hat clutching the aforementioned magazine, coupled with other photographs of Jeddah’s amazing Old City.