Burning Man. Temporary city build in the desert, the cult, a week long experiment focused on people, interaction between them and expression by art.
My favorite description of Burning Man 2019: Perception shapes reality.
It`s very difficult to present the beauty and the atmosphere of Burning Man away from its natural place. Though it`s not only art but also nature, the people, and relations between them. Combining all of them makes this incredible experience very hard to reconstruct. All 5 senses are moved at the same time.
I was very curious how is it going to look like when the tiny piece of Burning Man will be transferred to a closed building, right in the middle of the city. Surprisingly, it kept the spirit of it and became little representation of the big miracle which happens every year in the Black Rock desert.
No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man Exibition
March 30, 2018 – January 21, 2019
Renwick Gallery (Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW)
Open Daily 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
It finally happened. Girls power won and women in Saudi Arabia got their right to drive cars, bikes, motorbikes, ubers and whatever they want to drive. Now it`s time to face the machine of bureaucracy and become the queens of the roads. Fasten your seatbelt and follow these steps to have a smooth and fast ride.
According to information I got, you can drive in Saudi with your original driving license or international driving permit for the first three months of your stay. After this period, you should convert it to the Saudi license. Temporary visitors on business visas can drive the car with an International or Domestic driving license.
You will need it to complete the online registration and to make an appointment for the next steps.
I did my translation at RENAISSANCE Translation Office. They translate from English to Arabic for 50 SAR. It`s enough to send them a photo or scan of your document by email: firstname.lastname@example.org and you will get the translation done the next day. Usually the price for such service should be between 40 and 100 SAR, depending on the language.
To start procedure of converting your license you need to have an account at Ministry of Interior (Absher). You can register here.
Be aware that the website doesn’t work on all browsers (as in my case in Firefox). If you open the page and it`s blank, try from another one.
To complete registration, you will need to provide the information such as your ID number or mobile phone. At the end of the procedure you will be asked to validate your account. I did it through online banking, but the other option was to do it at certain points in the city (there is a list to choose the best location for you).
Remember to write down your password and username. You will use your Absher account not only to apply for a driving license, but in the future, this is a place where you can see your fines and traffic violations and other personal information.
To schedule the appointment for a Saudi license you will have to log into https://www.sdlp.sa/login . Use the same username and password as you created in step number 2. Unfortunately for now the website is only in Arabic version, so to complete the procedure you may need help from an Arabic speaker.
You will be asked to upload scans of the following documents:
Once you are done with it, you can choose the appointment in Moroor Traffic Office for your driving test and obtain (finally!) the license. There are two locations in Riyadh which you can choose: next to the airport (https://goo.gl/maps/KnK1ZEc5gFT2) and in Rimal area (https://goo.gl/maps/8z7mazetBVC2)
Before you go to your appointment you need to pay the new license fees. It can be done by SADAD payments. Cost: 200 SAR for 5 years and 400 for 10 years .
To get the medical report you need to go to one of many authorized hospitals in the city (the list is available in Saudi Driving License Portal. I did mine at Suleiman al Habib Hospital. You will be asked only to do an eye and blood test to determine your blood type. Once you are done, they will send your report to Moroor electronicly (they might ask about your sponsorship number – it starts with 700 number and you can get it from your employer). Once the report is sent to Moroor, you will receive a confirmation by SMS. Medical tests are covered by insurance, otherwise you have to pay around 120 SAR).
Once you are done with above steps you can go to your appointment at Morroor Traffic Office. Don`t fortget to bring your current licence, translatioan and Iqama. After you register at the reception, you can submit your documents and proceed to the square to do your driving test. Below picture shows what you will be examined about:
You will be driving alone in the car and the officer will be watching you from outside. To pass the exam you will have to park in parallel and do a three point turn. But don’t panic! The officers are very lenient and polite, not very strict, so I am sure that as long as you don’t crash the car into the wall or do another disaster you will pass the test 😊
Important tip: don’t be like me and drink too much water before your exam. Apparently there is no woman toilet there 😊
After the test, the officer will go back with you to the office to finalize the procedure and print your driving license. And this is when the fun part starts. Good luck and see you on the road!
Lunapark. Funfair for adults. With music, fire, dancing and colors.
And when the night is getting over….
Called liquid Moroccan gold, argan oil is for sure number one on the list of souvenirs worth of bringing from this country. Also one of the most expensive oils in the world so very easy to find fake mixtures. Made from the fruit of the argan tree, occurring endemically only in southern Morocco between Essaouira and Agadir. To produce 1 liter of this precious oil, 30-35 kg of fruits is needed.
Argan oil is produced for cosmetic and culinary purposes. In the kitchen, added to salads, meat or dips is treated as a healthier alternative to sunflower oil. Its expensive, cosmetic and cold-pressed version is used for body and hair as well as serum for hands and nails.
Edible argan oil has amber color as a result of roasting argan fruits. Cosmetic oil is a little bit brighter, similar to gold. Only stored in glass bottles, so that it does not lose its benefits. The label describing the composition should contain only 100% Argan oil without the addition of parabens or other vegetable oils. The safest products are marked by ECOCERT certificate, which also indicates that the oil is organic.
Edible argan oil has a very characteristic nutty aroma, stronger than cosmetic version. Therefore, it is important always to smell the product before purchasing. If also the color is similar to brown, there is high probability that this is culinary hot-pressed oil, often sold for cosmetic purposes at a higher price. Pure argan oil does not solidify at room temperature, so any lumps or nonuniformed texture can indicate the presence of fillers.
Argan oil loses its properties in contact with sunlight so certainly it`s not the best idea to buy the product from roadside sellers even at a bargain price. It is also better to avoid the shops “with everything” and go to a small cosmetic stores or pharmacies, which often produce oil (still with certificate) or work with particular factories. Between Essaouira and Agadir are plenty of workshops where you can directly buy the oil at the best possible price (be aware of typical factories for tourists, they are rather situated on Marrakech – Essaouira road). A verified place in Marrakech is the Firdaous Herboristerie shop, in a small shopping center, approx. 2 minutes walk from Jemma El Fna square. Prices are fixed so no need to bargain.
Bottle of 100% Argan oil can be stored approx. 2 years in a dark place. How do you know that the oil is already stale? It will just smell like rancid.
Every year the Black Rock desert in American state of Nevada turns its sands into a bustling city. At first glance a city full of oddly dressed people, surreal installations, loud music and cosmic vehicles. Or maybe the city of modern hippies, freedom expressed in every possible way and celebration of life in each of its aspects. City of multicultural community which follows its own rules. Rules created to be a better version of reality.
No, Burning Man is not a typical music festival, which main attraction are live concerts. There is no lineup, sponsors and fast food booths. But anyway thousands of tickets are sold out in just a few minutes.
Burning Man is a place where the community from around the world meet once a year, building a self-sufficient city. A place where you can express yourself through art, music and dance and exceed the limits of imagination. Population without religion or money but guided by 10 principles.
The idea of the festival emerged already in 1986. Starting with a few friends on the beach in San Francisco, the festival has grown to an event for approx. 90,000 of participants.
It doesn`t matter where you come from, what your skin color or religion are. On Burning Man you can meet either older people or newly-born children. Everyone can find something for himself regardless why he went there. It may be an opportunity to know and associate with fascinating people from all over the world with a similar worldview, crazy parties at sunrise, meditation during a sandstorm or getting lost on a bike somewhere between great and surreal sculptures. All of art installations and events are organized by the participants. At the end of the week most of them are burnt, as well as the greatest symbol of the event – a wooden, giant sculpture of the man, set in the central part of the festival.
And yes, it‘s true that most of the people who came back from Burning Man have somehow changed. It is not about switching to veganism and meditating all day. It’s about finding the joy of life in simple activities and transfer everything we have learned in the past few days to our everyday lives. And then remains only the countdown to the next edition of the festival.