A westerner’s journey through Saudi Arabia

Alex Woodman embarked on a two-year expedition to experience Saudi Arabia, and his new book and accompanying documentary, “The Land of Adat,” marks his trek. (Screenshots)
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Updated 26 August 2020

A westerner’s journey through Saudi Arabia

  • Alex Woodman embarked on a two-year expedition to experience Saudi Arabia
  • His new book and accompanying documentary “The Land of Adat” marks his trek

LOS ANGELES: A university professor with a long-standing interest in the culture or “adat” of Saudi Arabia has produced a book chronicling his journey through the Kingdom.

Alex Woodman embarked on a two-year expedition to experience Saudi Arabia, and his new book and accompanying documentary, “The Land of Adat,” marks his trek.


“I don’t believe in sitting in another country and writing about another country is the way to do it,” Woodman said. “You know, you have to go there. You have to live with the people. You have to live the tradition to understand them.”

Inspired by the tawaf Hajj ritual, Woodman traveled counterclockwise around Saudi Arabia, beginning in the south, then traveling to eastern, central, and northwestern areas, and ending his journey in Madinah. At each stop, he was taken aback by the diversity of natural and manmade splendor.

“Each city, each village has its own beauty. I would highly recommend people to visit the Kingdom and see the hidden beauty.”

The main focus of his journey was to be immersed, to learn from the people he met, and introduce and educate the West about the importance of Saudi Arabia’s adat, which means tradition.

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READ MORE: Exploring Saudi Arabia: A journey through the lens

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“Keeping adat in our human texture is very important because yes, we’re moving on, there’s a lot of technology, a lot of progress. But if we don’t learn from the past, then we cannot move to the future.”

And Saudi Arabia is moving into the future with its Vision 2030 reform plan, which is granting travelers like Woodman unprecedented access. Now, either through accounts like “Land of Adat” or by traveling in person, the world is seeing the country in a new way.

“I'm sure the world will see what Saudi Arabia can do,” Woodman added. “I want to quote one of the ambassadors that I recently met with. He said: ‘The world needs to learn from Saudi Arabia, not Saudi Arabia from the world.’”


Keke Palmer shows off Lebanese design in new music video

Updated 46 min 5 sec ago

Keke Palmer shows off Lebanese design in new music video

DUBAI: American singer and actress Keke Palmer released her latest single “Dreamcatcher,” turning to Lebanese couturier Georges Hobeika to design her eye-catching look.

The 27-year-old, who gave us hits such as “I Don’t Belong to You” and “Man in the Mirror,” wore a gold, asymmetric gown plucked from the Baskinta-born designer’s Spring 2020 couture collection. The dazzling creation boasted a high slit and iridescent sequins and beading throughout. A delicate knot detail further accentuated the hitmaker’s waist. 

Hobeika’s Spring 2020 couture collection, which was presented at The Théâtre National de Chaillot Couture in Paris during Haute Couture Week in January, drew inspiration from the idyllic shores of Sardinia, Italy. 

The look was put together by Palmer’s longtime stylist, Mikiel Benyamin, the US-Egyptian stylist whose celebrity client list includes Bella Thorne and Saweetie, among others. The Egypt-born creative, who got his fashion start with a number of styling internships, went on to make a name for himself after putting together the memorable looks for Cardi B’s hit “Bodak Yellow” video.

Hobeika, on the other hand, recently made headlines after US hip hop star Nicki Minaj announced her pregnancy with a series of images, one of which sees the star wearing a floor-length veil custom-made by the Lebanese designer. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Keke’s new single Dream Catcher.... SHE stuns in @georgeshobeika @jenniferfisherjewelry & @alevimilano

A post shared by MIKIEL BENYAMIN (@maikeeb_kills) on

Singer Hailee Steinfeld also recently turned to Hobeika to unveil her latest single via Zoom on the “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” For the virtual performance, she opted for a black, strapless mini dress with an asymmetric hemline and a cascading tulle train.

Indeed, celebrities constantly turn to Hobeika to dress them in his creations for some of their most important events. Case in point: Singer-turned-actress Jennifer Lopez who chose an elegant off-the-shoulder black gown for the 2020 Screen Actors Guild Awards and before that, a cream-colored, backless gown encrusted with gems at the 2020 Critics’ Choice Awards.

Meanwhile, it’s not the first time that the “Scream Queens” star has donned a design by an Arab designer. The US actress rocked up to the 2019 MTV VMAs in Los Angeles wearing a sunny yellow column gown by Kuwaiti couturier Yousef Al-Jasmi. She accessorized the glamorous look with a rhinestone encrusted 1980s cell phone.