Boston Bits: ‘Arabia’ at the Museum of Science
Last Sunday, I went to play (I mean, learn) at the Museum of Science in Boston. Of course I love being educated about porcupine claws, thunderstorms, body heat and all that other fun stuff, but I was really there to see Arabia, an IMAX travel documentary at the Omni Theater. A few months ago, I happened to accidentally land on FOX News during an intense channel surfing session and they were interviewing Hamzah Jamjoom, the 24-year-old film student who stars in the film. Along with playing narrator, we follow Jamjoon as he returns to his home in Saudi Arabi after spending several years away in America. He wants to reconnect with his family and to learn more about his country’s history. The movie does a great job of going back and forth between the past and present Arabia, and it never gets close to becoming dull or dated.
I’m not embarrassed to admit that I went into this film with much of my knowledge about Saudi Arabia coming from Disney’s Aladdin, and I left with not only a much better understanding of the country but with an intense desire to actually go and see it! There were certain subjects in particular that made me want to run out and buy a plane ticket immediately.
1. Riyadh (capital city)
This city looks absolutely ridiculous, and I mean that in the best way possible. The architecture alone makes seem like it was created with CGI, like it’s just an idea and will not actually exist for another century or so. Riyadh is home to 6.5 million people, and the film showed the city buzzing constantly with life and energy. Also, the name Riyadh means “garden,” particularly one that’s created in the desert after it rains. How could you NOT have fun in a city like this?
2. Ancient Cities
So I may still be clinging to my childhood fantasy of becoming a female version of Indiana Jones. You know, discovering buried treasure and relics and being chased by oversized cannonballs, etc. Having said that, going to one of Saudi Arabia’s thirteen ancient cities would be a dream come true. I was most interested in Petra, pictured above and mentioned several times in the film (though it’s located in Jordan). Can you imagine being in the desert and finding a freakin’ palace popping out of a mountain? I would pass out from happiness and surprise.
3. Arabian horses
These guys are basically the BAMF’s of the horse species. With small noses and upright tails, they are one of the oldest breeds of horses and run around the desert like it’s a day at the beach. Although they generally enjoy people and have a trusting relationship with the nomadic Bedouins, they are also classified as “hot-blooded,” and have been to known to knock a b*tch out if treated poorly. Gangstah!
These are just a few reasons why Saudi Arabia has been added to my Travel Bucket List. Have you ever been? What else should be on this list?