Saudi Arabia View: Snow Desert

Saudi Arabia’s arrival of snow in the mountainous region of the southwest. Residents also seemed to enjoy the view of the desert covered in snow white.

Arab News reported on Wednesday (15/1/2020), the areas experiencing snowfall are the northern regions of Tabuk and Jabal Al Lawz, Al-Daher, and the Alqan mountains. The snowy region of Saudi is a popular tourist destination.

Officers were on standby on the streets to secure the situation. The Saudi Embassy in the United States (U.S.) said snow also fell in neom’s futuristic city project area located in Tabuk.

Saudis also shared photos of the snow on social media.

One netizen in the city of Arar in northern Saudi Arabia said: “This is not Canada! It’s not Switzerland! This isn’t Alaska! This is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia!”

Not only humans, camels also look at the snow that replaces the normally dry fields. This isn’t the first time Saudi Arabia’s snow has gone viral on social media, last year it also snowed in Tabuk.

Weather site AccuWeather said the snow this time came as storms from southern Europe and the Mediterranean came to the Middle East last week. The cold air was carried away and the result was snowing.

Saudi Arabia Now Doesn’t Separate Men and Women While in Restaurants

Saudi Arabia’s mainstay to attract tourists is not just snow. The ultra-conservative government is carrying out social reforms to support investment. One of them by no longer separating men and women in the restaurant. This rule also applies in the holy city of Makkah.

Arab News reported, Makkah Mayor Mohammed Abdullah Al-Quwaihis said the rule amendment is also expected to facilitate the lives of citizens and entrepreneurs.

“The rules will be positive and loosen many terms and restrictions, but they won’t affect the core of work in terms of public health and food, and this decision will add to the flow of investment and the number and variety of restaurants,” he said.

The easing of this rule was carried out on the regulation of the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs of Saudi Arabia. The ministry determined that restaurants no longer need to separate the entrance between men and women.

This decision was also welcomed by observers and businessmen of Saudi Arabia. The cost factor is in the spotlight of business people who say the separation of men and women makes costs increase.

“We have a cost-added problem because we are required to create two counters for two different parts, and now with this amendment the ministry has helped us to start working and reduce costs,” said Nasser Al-Shalhoub, owner of chaoua coffee shop.

In addition to the cost, this amendment was welcomed positively because it gives the restaurant owner the flexibility to arrange a floor plan. During this time, the rules of gender segregation in Saudi Arabia kept the family part always full, while the male-only section was usually quiet.

“The family part is usually full. You often can’t find a seat while the men’s section is usually empty because they don’t go to restaurants as often as women,” says Ruba Al-Harbi, restaurant manager and culinary influencer.

Social Reform

Compliance analyst Dareen Rajeh said it would take time for restaurants in Saudi Arabia to get used to the new regulations. He also welcomed this rule so that people’s views can be more open.

“We need to open our horizons and focus on more important issues,” he said.

However, this easing of the rule does not apply to other places, such as government offices or weddings.

This is not saudi Arabia’s first step in loosening social rules. Previously, Saudi Arabia had also allowed women to drive their own cars.

The reforms were pushed by Prince Mohammed bin Salman, saudi Arabia’s crown prince. Salman also increased his country’s investment in the technology sector and partnered with SoftBank of Japan. That he did to escape dependence on his country’s natural resources.