An ongoing list of things I’ve discovered, whether Saudi related or not, which I probably would not have ever known about had I not come to KSA…most of them good things, too!
- AccuRadio.com – Streaming radio…I know lots of folks do it, and they have their favorites. My favorite is Accuradio.com, which offers an amazing selection of musical libraries for listeners to enjoy. At this moment, I am listening to their Blues channel. Last night I was listening to the Classical channel. Over the time I’ve been here, I’ve listened to the Celtic, Pop, Folk, Rock, Country, and Jazz channels…just to name a few (and I’ve listened to a lot more). They’ve got Broadway showtunes, New Age compositions, Native American chants, Electronica…if you can imagine it, they probably have it, including seasonal offerings like Christmas music. The main channels also have subchannels. For example, in the Classical channel, you can listen to Opera, Instrumental Soloists, Symphonies, and Classical Crossover (and those are not all of them!). And, to prove the point of many streaming radio industry spokespeople, I have actually gone to iTunes, bought and downloaded music I’ve heard on AccuRadio. You can get a really amazing education in a particular musical genre and not spend a penny. Highly recommended.
- Baleela – Baleela is a poor man’s food sold by street vendors at fairs, special events, and places like the beach. Thin and sour, baleela is really nothing more than boiled chickpeas (garbanzo beans) mixed with vinegar-marinated cucumbers to create a vinegar soup – usually including chopped vegetable relish of some sort. Often, chopped hot peppers are added. You can usually find it for 4 or 5 riyals for about a cup of it…cheaper if there is competition. The stuff is awesome! I have a recipe for it (I am guessing there are a lot of variations to the basic ingredients – it has that sort of feel and taste), and I bought the stuff to make a batch this past week. I plan to make some this weekend. Once I am happy with my recipe, I’ll post it so you can try it yourself. Mmmm…baleela…it’s what’s for dinner!
- Walking – Unless there is some physical impairment, most people can walk. That is good news because walking is a simple, non-impact, exercise that will have real impact – in a positive way – on your health. Thirty minutes, three to four times a week is recommended by doctors and health gurus. The even better news is that you can even break up those timeframes to fit your particular schedule…maybe taking three ten-minute walks in a day because that is all your day allows. The point is to get yourself up out of the chair or off the sofa and get moving. No special equipment to buy (though good shoes are recommended), no gym fee to pay, no need to be in good shape to start. No excuse, really. Listen to music or a lecture or a podcast as you walk. Meditate quietly. Enjoy the beauty around you. I love walking. I especially love that it has helped me to shed 56 pounds (so far). And, you can always brag that you got in your exercise for the day.
- Nasal Lavage – All right. I know I lost some of you right there. The idea of forcing saline through your nostrils, into your sinuses, and out the other side is pretty gross. But, if you suffer from sinus problems or allergies, a properly performed nasal lavage (here is how you do it – pictures included) is very likely to provide you with sinus health you only dreamed was possible. There are a lot of ways to do it wrong, and you can end up with too much water and a lot of sinus pressure the first couple of times you try it. But, if you read the instructions, use a limited amount of water, and properly drain your sinuses afterward, you’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly – as well as the benefits. While a neti pot is the traditional way to do it, all you really need is a water bottle with a sports top on it. In the dusty environs of Riyadh, nasal lavage has really made a difference for me, a chronic sinus-migraine sufferer. Don’t say I didn’t tell you!
- PhysicsDiet.com – A free site, PhysicsDiet provides a utility where you can record your weight on a daily basis (or at your preferred frequency), have it stored, have your series of weigh-ins mathematically regressed – and come out the other side with a nice chart of your weight-loss/weight-gain trend. The trend line is very educational as you can contrast it directly with your individual entries. I weigh daily and enter my data daily (go to the “Charts” section and search on “misterhub” – my profile is public), and I have learned a couple of things. 1) My weight can vary wildly from day to day, and 2) I have a real pattern through the week of gains, steady holding, culminating in a loss. I’ve also been able to see the effects of particular meals and particular events on an individual weigh-in. Some people get really worked up over their day to day scale readings, but the access to this information has allowed me to see that it’s just normal – especially when I compare it to my downward tilting trend line. And, the trend line is very responsive to changes in weight…giving you a clear idea of where you’re going and if you’re heading in the right direction. The most important thing I’ve learned is not to give any one, single weigh-in too much gravity. It’s the trend that counts!