Blogs from Saudi Arabia, Middle East - page 10


Middle East » Saudi Arabia » Jeddah August 20th 2009

The air steward walked doen the Isle handing out Immigration cards, in large bold print beside a skull it reads "Death to Drug Traffickers". We stepped into the terminal building where hundreds of toweled pilgrims were waiting. They had arrived to visit the holy city of Mecca and perform Umrah. Air France looses my bag for two days..... great start ... read more
Museum In Jeddah

Middle East » Saudi Arabia » Dhahran June 4th 2009

Well, I thought I had written my final blog entry for this trip. I’m using this loophole: the previous entry was last EVENING in Dhahran and this is the last DAY in Dhahran. Think of it as like being an extra on a DVD. (However, there will be no director’s cut of this blog.) The last day of the last assessment session is kind of boring because I usually use the afternoon to do the preparations for the next session. But of course on the last day, there isn’t a next session. Koen had some extra time too because one of his two participants was a no-show. I then got the idea that if we hurried, we could go to the Saudi Aramco Exhibit, which is this multi-million dollar building that is all about drilling and ... read more
Prayer Session
Saudi Aramco Exhibit 2
Assorted Kings or Important People

Middle East » Saudi Arabia » Dhahran June 2nd 2009

I would like to thank you all for taking this journey with me, especially those of you who have slogged your way through three trips worth of blog entries. It’s been a fun journey and I’ve enjoyed sharing it with you. As in any trip, no matter how interesting and fun it is, I’m looking forward to going home. When the exotic becomes routine and the new experiences grow old, it’s time to go home. I miss my family, friends, and co-workers. I miss falling asleep watching TV, I miss reading the Sunday paper, and I miss all of the routine things that you look forward to leaving behind when you are packing your suitcase at the beginning of a trip. I have lots of great memories and experiences and I’ve met lots of great people ... read more
And for dessert

Middle East » Saudi Arabia » Dammam May 31st 2009

Last night I ate at a place called Heritage Village in Dammam, which looks like an Arabian castle. Keep in mind that there aren't tourists in Saudi, so this place survives on the locals; most were traditionally dressed. (Just what makes a building qualify as a “village” is another Saudi mystery I cannot solve.) The building is privately owned, which is pretty amazing in itself. It looks like an Arabian castle, complete with turrets and rooftop lookouts. You come in the door and there is a large three-story entry that includes a lake, swans (fake), and parrots (real). We were led into a waiting room and instructed to remove our shoes. The purpose of this room is to welcome people with Arabic coffee and dates. There are carpets on the floor and many Arabic artifacts around ... read more
Heritage Village
Heritage Village in Dammam
The group

Middle East » Saudi Arabia » Ras Tanura May 30th 2009

Friday was spent at the beach in Ras Tanura (RT to those who are in the know). But first it was a trip to the Hobby Farm. I mentioned this in another blog, but failed to explain what this is. First off, it not just any hobby. For example, this is not a farm for stamp collectors, coin collectors, or even Beanie Baby collectors. Well, truth be known, it’s not even really a farm. It’s a place for horses. From what I understand, the Hobby Farm is a place where Aramco people (known to everyone as Aramcons) can own and ride horses. Undoubtedly one of you will know why it’s called a Hobby Farm as opposed to perhaps a Horsie Place. Or a stable. What’s even stranger is that we don’t go to the Hobby farm ... read more
There are always rules!
Chillin' at the Hobby Farm
Koen eats a Dutch Breakfast


Middle East » Saudi Arabia » Khobar May 28th 2009

Today was an eventful day, but not everything comes out as planned… The day started with a $2.00 breakfast consisting of a Spanish omelet (no tomatoes), toast, and coffee. This is a weekend tradition with me, unless of course I have the famous Dining Hall waffles or perhaps the pancakes. Well, the coffee is a tradition. After breakfast, I caught the 9:00 am bus to Al-Khobar with “no photos please” Dave, Koen, and Andrej. We visited my favorite gift store to make some strategic purchases and tried to stay cool in the 116 degree heat. The staying cool part didn’t work out so well, especially in my long pants and long sleeve shirt (I can’t show any skin, you know). I took them to Latif, which loyal readers will remember as having the best Zatar (a ... read more
Belt Maker
Belt Making - Part 2
Part 3

Middle East » Saudi Arabia » Dhahran May 25th 2009

I know that I haven't had much to say lately. It’s been pretty much all work and no play, so I don’t want to bore you to death with that. Although it’s a bit of an oxymoron, happy Memorial Day. Pat is a Mac freak and has had some fun taking my photos from February, April, and the ones in Qatif and Tarut and has made a montage movie from them. And it’s all set to some really rocking pseudo-Arabic music. It might take a few minutes to stream down to you, but it’s kind of fun. Here’s a list: * Movie Photos from February 2009 * Movie Photos from April 2009 * Movie Photos from May 2009 (Qatif and Tarut) Thank you for reading this blog. So far, I’ve... read more
April Photos Movie
Qatif/Tarut Movie
One Food Photo for You

Middle East » Saudi Arabia » Qatif May 21st 2009

I’ve just spend the morning visiting two fascinating places: Qatif and Tarut. As I write this, it is 109 degrees outside and it is HOT. A bunch of us went to explore these two ancient towns with Hal, an Aramco person who lives here. We took Hal’s Land Rover and rented a taxi for the morning. The first stop was Qatif, where we took a tour of the town to find the market. Fortunately, the taxi driver figured out where it was and we explored it for an hour or so. The first part was the live animal market. This included mostly pigeons, parakeets, parrots and other birds, but it also included a goat, bunnies, and a monkey. I’m not making it up and I have the photos to prove it. The monkey could be yours ... read more
Qatif - Typical Storefront
Water Tower in Qatif
Original Mud Housing

Middle East » Saudi Arabia » Dhahran May 20th 2009

It’s Wednesday after work and if you are in Saudi, that means it’s Miller time. Oh wait. Not quite. But it IS the weekend and that’s something to rejoice in any country or culture. Today it’s was 107 degrees. No, it’s NOT a dry heat. It’s actually humid because we are about a half hour from the Gulf. Tomorrow it’s supposed to be about 114 degrees and I will be ON the Gulf at a place called Qatif. According to Wikipedia, “Qatif is a historic, coastal oasis region located on the western shore of the Persian Gulf in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. This region includes the town of Qatif as well many smaller towns and villages. The historic oasis area shows its first archeological evidence of settlement beginning about 3500 BC.” So this place ... read more
It says...
Ted's MacGyver Setup
What does the blinking red light mean?

Middle East » Saudi Arabia » Dhahran May 18th 2009

OK, this is perhaps one of the most bizarre things I’ve seen here. I turned on the TV and I watched this for at least 10 minutes before grabbing my camera. Yes, I understand the “honey” reference (I think), but whether this is a commercial or a TV program is beyond me. All I know is that this guy is very strange, by any national standard. I have a short video because the dialog is equally strange. Thankfully you missed the part when the woman in the video starts singing. Trust me, it’s wasn’t pleasant. ... read more
Besides the honey, what is this about?
Is that a funnel on his head?
This went on forever, whatever it is.

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