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Saudi Arabian Days
Heaton Park, Manchester

I paid a quick visit to the birds of prey, which had finished their flying duties for the day. Although they were good for a few close-up snaps, they proved quite dull when not soaring and swooping back towards the ground to snatch up a tasty morsel.

Speaking of food, I wanted to visit the main food tent selling Saudi grub, but there was a huge queue and everyone appeared to have tickets. After further investigation, I learned that these prized tickets had been on sale from much earlier in the day but there were no more available.

This meant that despite the alluring smells coming from the plates that kept floating past me, I had no way of satisfying my growing hunger. Well, not until I treated myself at a plate of falafel, hummous and Arabic bread towards the end of the day.

This was pretty good fare, although it was being served by a London-based chain and I would have preferred to have sampled the more interesting Saudi food being offered at the other stall. So a tip for future visitors; get there early and buy your meal tickets quickly.

All the time I was wandering around, there were activities happening on stage, including a demonstration of Saudi wedding customs. But I didn't really pay too much attention until the end of the day. Having lived out in the Middle East for a while, I find traditional Arab dancing fascinating; and I don't mean the variety where a woman jiggles her bare midriff. No, I'm talking about the men and their moves.

A group of Saudi men dressed in fine and colourful garb performed for the crowd, with the younger members of the troupe whirling and flinging themselves around with abandon. Backed by thumping drums and poetic chanting, some of the participants carried gleaming ceremonial swords, which they waved and whirled.

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Saudi Arabian Days 2005 was held at Heaton Park in Manchester
from July 13 to July 17.

For more information on the event see

Click here to see some photographs
from the final day of the event

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