[Disclaimer: Do look through these slide shows before showing the kids just in case something you’d rather they not see has worked its way in there.]
As always, a good place to start when trying to get a visual sense of a country is to visit Flickr.com, where in this case you’ll find a satisfying Saudi Arabian slide show full of intriguing images of the desert, as well as the people (and camels) who live there. If you think seeing Saudi Arabia through an American expatriate’s eyes will help you start to understand it, visit the photoblog of “Susie of Arabia,” compiled by an American who moved to Jeddah in 2007 with her husband and teenage son. If you like Susie’s visual
perspective on Saudi Arabia you’ll probably also enjoy her other blog, “Susie’s Big Adventure,” where she shares her written thoughts about being a Westerner in a very distant Arabian land. For a more Saudi-based view of the country, Hesham Alhumaid, in his Alha’s-based photoblog, takes you on a visually rich journey into the Saudi Arabian desert and rural areas where you’ll find beauty not only in Saudi Arabia’s vast natural landscape but in the lives of those who live there. The Aminus3 photoblog by Arrie in Riyadh presents Saudi Arabia in a more modern light, showing Saudi life in so many colors, with so many friendly faces, one can’t help but realize there’s a lot more to the nation than the desert, oil, fundamentalists and a wealthy King.
If you want to see images of the Hajj (about which we’ll learn below) you may find some great ones when you search for “Hajj” in Google Images, but you should also definitely take a look at Boston.com’s “The Big Picture”/Hajj 2010. There you’ll get a sense not only of the immensity of the largest pilgrimage in the world, but of the deeply personal nature of each pilgrim’s experience.