Fall Full Autumn Moon
News from Ha’il*. Mark reports having to leave a restaurant with a friend because it was about to close for prayers. During prayers many businesses in Saudi Arabia lock customers in so they can continue shopping or eating. This is at least three times a day, could be more since there are five prayer times.
He also commented on the number of funeral homes: 0. Families inter their own dead, then have three days of mourning.
Likewise: no cinemas, bars, karaoke places or houses of ill repute. But, there are Pakistanis, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Bengalis, Philipinos, Brits, Americans, New Zealanders, South Africans.
The area around Ha’il has very old mountains and looks like Monument Valley or Arizona, he says.
Interesting to have an embedded informant in the heart of Arabia. More illuminations to come.
* Ha’il is largely an agricultural centre, specializing in grains, dates and fruits. A large percentage of the kingdom’s wheat production comes from Ha’il Province, where the area to the northeast, 60 km to 100 km away, consists of irrigated gardens.
Ha’il is well-connected to other urban centres to the south, by road. Buraydah is 300 km southeast, Riyadh is 640 km southeast and Madina 400 km southwest.
Modern Ha’il is city of a widespread centre, and numerous parks.
1836: A local dynasty is established with Ha’il as its centre, by Ibn Rashid. Ha’il thrives from controlling the pilgrimage route across the desert, connecting Mecca and Iraq.
1891: The Rashidi clan make Ha’il the capital of large parts of Arabia, known as Najd.
1902: Najd loses Riyadh, but is recognized as a kingdom.
1908: The Hijaz Railway opens, beginning the decline of Ha’il.
1921: Following an attack by Ibn Saud, the rulers of Ha’il has to surrender.–