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RIYADH: A British man raised in the UAE is living the multicultural dream after embracing his love for Arab culture and the beauty of Saudi Arabia’s language and heritage.

John Bin London, who has a worldwide fan base on TikTok, often shares videos of himself in traditional Saudi dress.

In one viral video, which currently has about 1.5 million views, he shows his colleagues trying Saudi coffee and eating dates. He teaches them to eat dates with their right hand, and then coffee, which is poured from a traditional dalah into a finjan.

He also used the social media platform to document his travels to the kingdom, garnering positive response from Arabs around the world.

Although London is not of Arab descent, he is often mistaken for a Saudi citizen. He grew up in the UAE, interacting with the locals and immersing himself in the traditional lifestyle.

A typical day with friends involved lounging over Arabic coffee and learning the language along the way. He would also adopt the cultural etiquette and manners of the people around him.

“My language was English, I couldn’t speak Arabic except for the basic words expats know, but my lifestyle was (such that) I was in the desert every day and all my friends were Bedouins,” he said for Arab News.

London’s passion for Arabic culture led him to learn the language and develop his expertise in Qassimi Arabic, a sub-dialect of Najdi Arabic spoken in the Qassim region.

“I’m someone who was raised in several cultures and I’ve traveled the world, but the one who really influenced me was the people of Saudi Arabia,” he explained.

“I’ve been saying for years that Saudi Arabia is the future. This is partly due to the leadership and partly due to the people. The Saudis are extremely creative and think outside the box.”

Discussing the positivity of Saudi hospitality and culture, he added: “When you know Saudis, you don’t see the negative influence. They elevate us (Westerners) in our identity, education, culture and manners… I wish the Saudis could see the positive influence they have on us and they should be proud of it.”

Through friends, YouTube videos and books, London improved his language skills. Within a few years, he learned to read and write the Nabataean script, the ancient alphabet engraved in many parts of AlUla’s inscriptions.

“I have this thing where I have to understand everything to feel like I understand something very simple,” he added.

During his first trip to the Kingdom in 2022, London regularly visited Diriyah, one of his favorite places, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of At-Turaif.

He said he had dreamed of going there for years. “I would drink my Arabic coffee and watch videos of Diriyah… when I arrived, I had my toba tailored and the next day I went,” he told Arab News.

“I am in Diriyah and At-Turaif from morning till night, happily exploring the place. I even Facetimal my mom and brother while I was there to show her around.”

Although based in the UK, London supports Saudi fashion and roasted coffee. During an interview with Arab News, he wore a shirt from Saudi street brand Not Boring, which was among 30 brands presented at Riyadh Fashion Week.

“When you look at traditional culture like Saudi clothing and dress, the details and the jewelry that goes into everything is extremely creative, it’s always been there,” he said.

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