Top 5 Suggestions for the Janadriyah Festival (aka Janadriyah 2014)

It’s the Janadriyah season once again! I have written that sentence five times now (or more if you count my announcements in Facebook). Can you believe it? I’ve been attending the Janadriyah festival for YEARS now and don’t I get tired?! Haha! I won’t beat around the bush to tell you how AWESOME it is. Actually compared to other festivals, especially the fiestas in the Philippines, the Janadriyah is pretty boring. However, since it’s the only major festival in the Riyadh province, it’s already a feat on its own. There are a lot of reasons why you should go especially if it’s your first time. Yes to new experiences please! I won’t tell you why you should go in this entry because we’ve pretty much spoilt that for you in this, this, this, and this entries.
And here we go again! ­čÖé
What I’m going to tell you though are the suggestions that might make Janadriyah more interesting. I know the organizers won’t probably read this and will probably laugh at my recommendations since what do I know about organising?! Except for my slight OCD when it comes to travel itineraries, I’m not much of an organised person myself so with?! And in the hierarchy of things in the Kingdom, I am nowhere near the… hierarchy itself. Haha! But I’m just airing my POVs out there. Universe, you are listening right?
1. An English version of the Janadriyah website with a clear program and schedule please. I am one of those people who went to the official website and was a bit frustrated. Can someone lead me to the English version please? The website can be translated by your browsers sure but isn’t it easier if there’s a link somewhere that says “English”? A click will lead us to a website that has all the details we should know like schedules and programs. You know how many times I’ve been asked what time does it start and end? Countless! And I love you, dear Pink Tarha readers, but it gets tiring answering the same question over and over. Hehe.
Also a schedule of the program would be nice. Like when you go to Disneyland, they publish in their maps the time a performance would start so you can go to the venue ahead of time. I’m not saying Janadriyah is Disneyland (*cough*) but if I want to watch the ardha (sword dance), I want to see it from start to finish and not just chance upon it in one of the pavilions. Also, I want to catch the parade and not just hear it from the other side of the street. Chances are, when you go Janadriyah once, you will not visit again on the following days (because it’s faaaar from the city centre) so cramming all the interesting sights and sites in one visit is a must.
The sights and sites of Janadriyah… sigh… ­čÖé
2. More activities in the pavilions. I’ve been to the Janadriyah five times so I’m pretty much a veteran already. (Or maybe not much considering that this year is the 29th edition.) As much as I love discovering the activities and items on exhibit in each pavilion, they were pretty much the same ever since. Maybe stirring up things a little bit would be nice. Like for the Taif area, maybe free bouquets of roses? Haha! I know there might be rules and regulations and all those things that hinder growth and development but I’m sure every one would appreciate fresh ideas and more fun activities every now and then. It’s like going all out since it’s the only huuuge festival in Riyadh (and Saudi Arabia).
But here are the activities you shouldn’t miss:
a. Shoot me baby one more time! Or more like ‘just for one time!’ LOL. You can fire an air gun at the Ministry of Interior’s pavilion but only once. Or more if it’s not yet the prayer time and there’s no long line behind you.
Someone enjoyed her time in the shooting range! Haha!
b. Befriend dinosaurs and kick soccer balls to smash the television screen at the King Abdulaziz City of Science and Technology.
We found new friends! Haha!
c. Get a rose from the Riyadh pavilion (when you’re expecting the rose from the Taif area) and be surprised that the Riyadh Municipality has a small pavilion considering it’s the capital.
Woot, finally had a rose! And it’s pink!
d. Take dramatic photos of the festival from the bridge of the Ports Authority pavilion (one of the most unique pavilions in Janadriyah) and of course, ask yourself why you’re standing in a bridge in the Janadriyah festival!
Love this view!
e. Discover street food, Saudi Arabia style at the Makkah pavilion. The smoke coming from this pavilion enticed us to enter and we didn’t regret it one bit because we found a delicious spicy meat snack that looks fried but tastes grilled (awesome yeah?), doughy balls that need to be dipped in a sweet sauce, and Vimto in large vats!
Freshly-cooked food!
3. More organised entrances, parking, and signages. In the Janadriyah, it’s like we’re all given a huge piece of empty lot and you can park anywhere and taxi can wait any time. There are little signs at the entrance and parking area that our driver who just dropped us off a few minutes ago got lost on his way back to us (my friend left her phone on his car so he needed to go back). He needed to thread his way in and out cars and people until he just gave up, parked somewhere, and found us on foot. Haha! I suggest you get a map at the information booths first so you know where the restrooms, first aid area, food court, etc. are. This will also prevent you from wandering around aimlessly. Wait, I guess you have to find an information booth first! Haha!
Here’s a map:
Map of the Janadriyah Village
Please disregard the fact that they spelled a lot of words incorrectly. Ironically, they spelt “Education” with a word that doesn’t even exist.
4. More food choices please. I don’t think I have to explain this further. Haha!
The Janadriyah 2014
5. The Philippines as the guest country. I don’t know what their criteria is in choosing the guest country but I think it’s about time they consider the Philippines. Am I right or am I right?! Haha! No seriously, it’s a great way for the Saudis to get to know our culture and it’s a great way for Filipinos to be at the heart of Saudi’s culture too. Also, our cultural presentations are great. You should see tinikling and pandanggo sa ilaw. And since women will probably be not allowed to perform on stage, it would be entertaining to see guys dance these cultural dances. Haha! Like Saudi Arabia, the Philippines gives value to folklore and crafts. The Philippines is a third world country, yes, but our traditions, culture, nature, and people are first rate! ­čśë
Who ever gets tired of camels?!
All in all, I’ve seen the development and improvements in the Janadriyah this year. And they’re all for the better! Yey! For one, it is tidier! There are trash bins 10 steps away from each other. And if you can’t see a yellow garbage can, then there’s a cleaner holding a broom and rolling another trash bin. There are more religious police but not the shouting, “I will embarrass you for the sake of embarrassing you” kind. They man the gates so please, just don’t be pasaway. When they say it’s for ladies and families only, follow it. The food area is more organised and they have sponsors giving out free stuff (hello Maggi, Puck, and Lipton!). The pavilions of the ministries are getting better and better. The people are friendly and welcoming. So…
I looove the crowd because it’s so different from anywhere else in the world!
Visit the Janadriyah festival!!! It’s open for families and ladies until February 28 from 4:00pm to midnight. Map to the Jandriyah here. It’s opposite Selwa compound, just before the King Abdulla Farms. ~ Sundrenched

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Janelle
Janelle

The Editor-in-Chief speaks 7 languages: Filipino, English, Wit, Sarcasm, Truth, Creativity, and The Pink Tarha.

3 Comments

  1. Avatar Anonymous Reply

    Hello, I&#39;m about to go to Saudi Arabia to live with my husband in Riyadh. I was wondering if there is any shop with healthy goods like quinoa flour, oats, coconut oil, those things are easy to find in Riyadh? Thanks, I love your blog and I&#39;m sure that I&#39;m going to read it from now on! <br />

  2. @Anonymous 2:03PM: Yes, there are healthy options in the huge groceries and hypermarkets like Carre Four, Tamimi, and Danube. Also shops that offer organic stuff along Oruba Road.

  3. Thanks for this post! I&#39;m planning to go!!!

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