The Asir Region located in the southwest of Saudi Arabia is named after the "Asir" tribe. In contrast to Riyadh and other parts of the country it is quite mountainous and very green. It also shares a short border with Yemen.
The capital of the Asir Region is Abha and on Tuesday they have an open air market selling fresh produce and local handicrafts. A weekly gathering place that is so much more than commerce. Locals interacting with each other, sharing a coffee and a laugh. People of all ages congregrating at a central location outside rather than in an air conditioned shopping mall. Smells, sounds and an explosion of things to see. It reminded me of the small country town in rural Australia where my grandparents lived - a place I enjoyed many childhood holidays and have such fond memories of.
This part of the country is extremely conservative and I was required to photograph the market wearing a headscarf which was a first for me. It was distracting, hot and made my job less spontaneous as I wrestled with the black polyster slipping all over my head.
No one spoke English, I felt conspicious with a large lens and the people were intrigued by my camera and the Turquoise Mountain team but very welcoming.
Life is simple and less hectic in this part of the world and I don't necessarilly think that's such a bad thing.
Slow down today if you get a chance - even for 5 mins x