Ann Lopez's Blogs

  • The Boston-Jeddah Connection

      Inside Dr. Angawi's housePhoto: Ann Lopez It was to be an ethereal experience. An opportunity to sit on a roof top garden and watch the sunset with one of Saudi Arabia’s leading intellectuals. It sounded so romantic. I was looking forward to it but I never thought I’d find a little bit of Boston here in the western port city of Jeddah. It happened twice on a single visit to the house of Dr. Sami Angawi. Dr. Angawi is an architect, a preservationist, a Sufi leader in the Hijaz region and a descendent of the Prophet Muhammad. He has been building his house in Jeddah since the 1980s and he says it’s still a work in progress. Yup. That’s the inside. Now, any Boston resident will tell you that this atrium bears an uncanny resemblance...

  • Why Did the Journalist Cross the Road?

    I thought I was going to die. All I wanted to do was see the Red Sea. I’d always heard of the Red Sea in Church and read about it in Catholic school. Now here I was in Jeddah, a mere 50 feet from its shoreline. It was my last day in the city. It was 6 p.m. and the sun was beginning to set. I wanted to see it setting over the sea. Closed overpass in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.Photo: Ann Lopez All I had to do was cross the Al Kumaysh Road. It’s a broad city street with six lanes of traffic, three going north and three going south. On the other side awaited the biblical body of water. Just one street. How hard could it be? Very hard apparently. There’s an overpass that offers safe passage to...

  • The Case of the Disappearing Abaya in Saudi Arabia

    Supermoon over Riyadh.Photo: Ann Lopez I left Boston at 6:40 a.m. on Saturday morning, May 5th, and I arrived in Riyadh at 7:05 p.m. Sunday night, May 6th. Dusk had fallen. I was greeted by the supermoon dominating the clear desert night sky. What doesn’t greet me is…my abaya. It’s missing. There are five women who are participating in this Gatekeepers Editor trip to Saudi Arabia organized by the International Reporting Project. But only four abayas show up at the King Khalid International Airport. All the other women are trying out their new abayas on the bus as we head to our hotel. But not me. It was supposed to be my “new best friend.” That’s what Louise Lief, the coordinator for our trip said. I was to keep it on me at...

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