Azdg dating saudi arabia
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A millennium and some centuries ago, the Prophet Muhammad exhorted Muslims in the month of Ramadan to “Break your fast with a date, for it is purifying.” Since the unification of the kingdom in 1932, however, Saudi Arabia has derived the overwhelming majority of its wealth from a very different set of natural resources.
Back in the capital, concerns are mounting that the kingdom’s overarching transformation plans may prove too ambitious.
Saleh, a native of Riyadh, drove up for the fourth year running, hoping to pick up a couple dozen boxes at wholesale prices for personal use. All seem content to outbid me and continue on with their purchases as we dart among the auction groups.
“If I bought these in Riyadh, I’d be paying 150, 160 riyals a box,” he says, gesturing to the cart of boxes behind him. Once he calms down, al-Kureida, a native Unaizan, brings me to see his entire team of scouts, buyers, packers, and loaders hard at work meeting his marks for the season.
They come in blacks and yellows and reds and browns, enjoyed fresh or packed together until the huddled mass of fruit starts to caramelize into a single molten mass.
The fruit has long been a part of the land that now forms the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where for centuries Bedouin nomads were fueled by its calories as they traveled back and forth across the Arabian Peninsula.
Indian and Pakistani porters brush by, maneuvering clutches of date-filled carts to the loading docks in the back while a few ne’er-do-wells (a rough translation for a colloquial term, Trains of metal carts stretch far into the distance, held in perfectly straight lines by slender grooves cast into the concrete.
Each night, dates are loaded up on the 15 trains from highest quality to lowest, ready to be rapid-fire auctioned off, detached from the train, and taken to waiting cars or trucks or even motorbikes.
A Filipino attendant offers Yunus and me small cups of weak Arab coffee as we pass his stand, and we sip it as we head into a maelstrom of buying, selling, packing, and shipping.
The crowd is overwhelmingly male, save a few women who appear to be quietly scouting out starting prices and date quality for upcoming auction lots.
“We’ll stop by at midnight, to check that all of the dates are fine,” explains Ali Muhammad al-Khuwaiter, a date merchant from Unaizah reselling a few surplus date boxes from the wholesale lots under the market’s titanic sunshades.
“Right after the dawn prayer, everybody starts to appear, and it all wraps up at about 9 a.m.” From the ground level, it’s hard to see past the hundreds of Saudis in white robes (plus a few other Gulf citizens) milling about the business end of the date cart trains, where jolly and less-than-jolly auctioneers call out the ever-escalating prices per box.
Economic headwinds have, in turn, spurred on a high-profile effort to reconfigure the Saudi economy around a more diversified export base and an innovative private sector; this project is known as Saudi Vision 2030.