11/07/21 – Dustopia

The first month in Saudi Arabia has gone by. Riyadh Season 2021, a massive arts and culture festival, is on; our show Messi10, which is a part of it, has not opened yet but the Premiere is announced and it’s coming up rather quickly.
I continue my daily cycling routine, mostly around our compound. Although the surrounding area is far from pretty, there are very few cars. Whether I cycle locally or out in the wild it’s unsurprisingly very dusty: after all, we are in the middle of the desert. In addition, all of Riyadh is one big construction site with trucks raising clouds of sand and dust. Dust is everywhere. While cycling I wear a neck buff to cover my face and still I feel the sand on my teeth.

Despite venturing a few times into the desert where I would expect to see camels in their natural habitat, up to recently I had only seen them at a mall, made out of fiberglass akin those painted cows seen all over the world, and on a shelf in a grocery store as meat.

Ironically, in the last couple of days I saw a herd of camels roaming around a construction site while I was cycling nearby.

This month in numbers:

1078 km — distance cycled

3 — punctured tires

2.72 — million USD, the price paid for the most expensive camel, not in Saudi Arabia

750 000 — people attended the opening ceremony of Riyadh Season 2021