TAIF: MOHAMMAD MURAD ARABNEWS
Sunday 5 August 2012
Due to the nice weather, even though it rains sometimes, people of Taif and nearby cities are flocking to open areas to eat their iftar (breaking of the fast) meals in Ramadan.
You can see cars from GCC countries in the streets of the governorate, especially Kuwaitis and Qataris.
All of them are enjoying the marvelous weather of Taif, especially at evening times.
Rainfall is usually moderate to heavy and most of the time they are showers only. Rain is usually accompanied by hailstones.
According to a report from the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment issued yesterday, temperatures are expected to be moderate in Taif while the chance of rain is high.
Nowadays the weather is hottest in other cities like Makkah and Jeddah so people of these cities come to Taif to enjoy the weather.
It is a one-hour drive from Makkah to Taif and two hours from Jeddah.
It is an old tradition of Makkah and Jeddah residents to come to Taif, especially the Al-Hada area.
They stay from noon until Fajr prayer before going back home.
Food can be cooked at home or bought from the restaurants.
Popular Saudi food in Ramadan usually includes dates, juices, soups, foul, and desserts like Kunafa and Trumba.
Some families invite their relatives to eat their iftar outside and enjoy the weather while kids play at the parks.
Young people of Taif gather at the local areas of Al-Shafa and Al-Hada and everybody brings a dish.
They enjoy eating food and at Isha time they go to the mosques for prayers.
People gather as a means to socialize rather than just eat.
Popular places include Al-Hada, Al-Shafa, King Fahd Park in Al-Khalidiah, King Faisal Park in Al-Ail road, Al-Sidad Park and others along the roads to Al-Hada and Al-Shafa.
The Taif municipality has created many green areas popular with locals and tourists.
These areas are supplied with facilities like swings, slides and other playground equipment that children can enjoy for free.
Local resident Khaled Al-Sharif said: “I enjoy eating iftar outside my home and it is nicer than staying at home.
“I prefer to go to parks far away from the general roads or the highways, because I had a bad experience with my cousin when we had our iftar in the Al-Khalidiah area near the highway and he almost had an accident.
“So I decided that every time we go for iftar outside we go to areas far away from the highways.”
Some picnic areas along the roads to Al-Hada are well equipped and people gather there early to find a nice place near the children’s playgrounds, but there are safety fears because they are near the Taif-Makkah highways.
Taif resident Mohammad Ahmed, who is also a teacher, said: “I took the whole family out once but because of the rainy weather we went for a drive around Taif and we got our food.
“We initially went to Al-Shafa mountain, where it was raining and the weather was 18 degrees Celsius.
“So then we went down to the Al-Rudaf area and others.
“When iftar came we went to a park and we had our meal while the adhan (call for prayer) sounded.
“I enjoyed this trip with the family and would want to repeat it again.”