Dammam Corniche Wanderers

It was my day off when I stumbled out of bed and grasped a very long breath after I got so bored just staring the ceiling like it was about to fall on me. I looked on my iPod to check the time and I said to myself that lying on bed won’t do me any good til night falls. So, I checked some friends who are interested to go out and kicked some boring old routines during day offs. Good thing, somebody took the bait and alas, we headed to Dammam.

As usual, it was an hour drive from Al Jubayl passing thru desert and gasoline stations. Nice to travel though since the sky was all blue with fluffy clouds at sight. My friend and I ate lunched first at Matahen restaurant (مطاحز). Just check my last post about the restaurant.2014-02-25 10.47.35

We arrived at Dammam Corniche around 1500H with some detours. It was a not so hot yet windy day in Dammam. My friend and I just strolled and watched kids with their families spending the day at the park.2014-02-25 15.58.35 The water was crystal clear and calm. The sea breeze was soothing for a very tired body like mine. It was definitely a stress-free experience for me.2014-02-25 16.05.18 2014-02-25 16.05.37 2014-02-25 16.06.03 2014-02-25 16.12.02 2014-02-25 16.15.56

Across Dammam Corniche, you can see Al Marjan Island. We were thinking of going there but we said we can just stay in Dammam and be Dammam Corniche wanderers.2014-02-25 16.56.562014-02-25 16.56.012014-02-25 16.57.09

We spent the whole afternoon just looking at families having fun and did some long talk about backbiting our friends back at work =). We waited til the sun sets for a perfect sunset pictorials.

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It was definitely one of the best days I have here in Saudi Arabia. These kind of experiences are worth reminiscing and giving me second thoughts of not going exit. But I need to move on with my life. For sure, this will be added to my treasure chest that I’ll be remembering til the day of my demise.

Dammam Corniche Wanderers (thelonetravelercarl and hassonnono)

Arabian Food at Matahen Restaurant (مطاحز)

My friend and I went out for a weekend getaway to relieve stress from work. So, we ended up going to Ad Dammam. Since we started the journey almost 1000H, we encountered a very usual problem when traveling. That is hunger. We searched for restaurants open near our current location. We never knew anything famous there. My friend doesn’t want anything commercialized food such as McDonalds or Burger King. We looked from side to side of the street just to find a nice place for dining. After 30 mins of searching, we found Matahen Restaurant or in Arabic, مطاحز.

Matahen Restaurant is located in Ad Dammam. It has a great ambience and a different inside look. The setup was somewhat of an European style I think.2014-02-25 14.12.582014-02-25 14.13.09The restaurant only serves Arabian food and to my surprise even the menu was in Arabic, not even a letter in English I have seen there. I was hungry and to add up the delay, I can’t even read the dishes presented to me. I just let my friend do the talking and my intuition do the ordering for me.2014-02-25 14.13.18If you have been to an Arabian country, you will definitely find two sections in every establishments starting from the bank down to the restaurants. They always have two sections for singles and families. Matahen Restaurant also has two sections. In the ground floor, it was plainly for singles or bachelors while the second floor has 2 sections both for family and single. I chose to go upstairs to check what is like up there and I saw this.2014-02-25 14.16.20 2014-02-25 14.16.34 2014-02-25 14.18.30

We eyes were pleased with what I see. The style was different to most of the Arabian restaurants I’ve been to. But the main reason I was there was to eat.  So, it was the time for me to judge the food they cooked and served. We ordered beef and chicken, I don’t know how to say it. But it was like a mixed rice with slices of beef and chicken. It was served in a bowl. The food was good. It was well-seasoned for me and the food has great smell, too. I would love to go back there since I didn’t finish it all. They also served along with your order a freshly baked raised kobsh.2014-02-25 14.29.46

The finale has come. We called for the chit and it was just for SAR32 or USD9. I hope I can come back to try other stuff but it looks like it is next to impossibilities since we can’t even retrace which road we took. Naahhh, it’s ok. I only have few months left here in the Kingdom so, better try new things than coming back.

Street View of Ad Dammam and Al Khobar in Broad Daylight

My previous post talked about two cities in Saudi Arabia, Ad Dammam and Al Khobar, which are both located in the Eastern Region. I came there by night  and only saw city lights but I told myself that I’ll come back to see it in broad daylight. Just as promised, I came back to these cities and somehow enjoyed wandering around the streets of Ad Dammam and Al Khobar.

It was a hot but not so humid day. I started my journey at Ad Dammam and stumbled upon a nice park called Al Andalus Public Park but I don’t know the name of the street. It was basically just a wandering habit of mine wherein I allow my feet to take me where they want to go.45Then, I went to Ad Dammam’s city centre to take a peek and I remembered that I got a picture of this mosque during my night visit in this city and I found out it is really magnificent to look at it. I was kind of curious what it looks like inside since never ever in my entire life had tried to get inside a mosque since they told me it is not allowed for non-Muslims to go inside.1

After this, I directly  went to Al Khobar. It was 30-minute taxi ride for SAR15 per person or USD4. I was heading to the ever famous Al Rahmaniyah Mall in Al Khobar since it is the most popular place for Filipino expats. And when I arrived there, I was amazed. It felt like I was in the Philippines. Almost 99.9% of the shoppers are indeed Filipinos. You can hear people talking in Tagalog, Bisaya, Ilocano and a lot of Filipino dialects. Also in Al Rahmaniyah, you can find the most visited and always the busiest with long queues every day food chain called Jollibee. There is even a stall called here Manila Shopping Store and salesmen with  other nationalities even talked to you in Tagalog. Whoahh, it was definitely a place like home. I haven’t taken the picture of Al Rahmaniyah but only the views outside the window near Jollibee. 86I left Al Rahmaniyah after taking lunch. And again I let my feet do the traveling. After an hour, I got into a place where I don’t really know. Then, I went to have some bite. I have thought of trying some new cuisine and since there was a Turkish restaurant nearby, I went inside. I was looking on the menu, hard to pronounce and others were written in Turkiye. So, I ended up taking a shawarma, hahah how lame. It is not even a Turkish food but cooked by a Turkish cook maybe ;). While waiting for my order, I got the chance to take a snap of this buildings around the restaurant.7

I was a little bit tired after eating. I, then, hailed a taxi and headed to my final destination.3Mövenpick Hotel Al Khobar was just located a little far from the city centre but I only paid SAR15 again for the ride.2DSC03648

Great Night and City Lights in Al Khobar and Ad Dammam

When I arrived in Saudi Arabia, I was just awed with the vast desert that I can see. Traveling from places to other provinces is undeniably great with views plainly mesmerizing while seeing the desert fighting against the blue and cloudless skies.DSC03529

This is the view you will see every time you travel in Saudi Arabia. But when you reach civilization, it is another topic to be told. Since I currently reside in Al Jubayl, traveling to the famous metropolis, Al Khobar, will take me an hour. From Al Jubayl, you can take a taxi, or even private vehicles that do carpooling. When you travel long distance, just make sure you have an iqama (temporary resident card) or your passport with you for safety and security purposes. Here is the map of the eastern region of the Kingdom, land trip from Al Jubayl (in blue pin) to Al Khubar/ Al Khobar (in red pin).IMG_0562

When I got to Al Khobar, I saw a lot of amazing buildings, city lights were just fantastic, streets were filled of shoppers, people wandering and spending time with friends and families. It was like an open city. Too bad I got there at night, thus, I can’t take pictures that will show how great the city is.

I only went to one location so far and that is in King Abdul Aziz Street which is a main road in Al Khobar. Soaring the dark skies are skyscrapers in unique and different forms with architectural view at its finest. I got only 3 photos acceptable for blog posting since others weren’t that clear for I have been using my Sony bloggie for discreet photo capturing.DSC03546 DSC03548 DSC03551

After an hour I left Al Khobar and went directly to Ad Dammam, a neighboring city of Al Khobar just 30 mins ride via taxi for SAR3/ person. Here in Saudi Arabia, carpooling is famous since they can generate money thru this type of doing and since gasoline is the most cheapest commodity in the country selling for SAR0.50/liter or US$0.13/litre.

In Ad Dammam, it is where the airport, King Fahd International Airport, is located. It may not be the brightest or liveliest like Al Khobar but it also has good view to view. 😉 Busy streets were merchant sells on footpaths, mosques and their magnificence at top, and many more.DSC03573 DSC03574 DSC03576

Next time, I’ll be visiting these cities again in broad daylight for me to really capture their superbness.