One Day Gluttony

Every person craves for something they want. These cravings do usually happen when you are stressed or feeling excited or just without a cause. Once in a month, I gave into my cravings and most of the time its about food. It happened on a sunny Sunday. I was walking in a park and I felt a splurge looking for something sweet, cold and delicious. For me to meet that, I looked unto the four corners of where I am standing and to me surprise I found a familiar logo of a famous coffee maker in the world.IMG_2377 I went directly to where that signage was and to think of it I was in Al Khobar seafront. Once I got there, I felt like I was in a Mecca of Restaurants. The 360 view of the place is all filled with different internationally known restaurants.IMG_2379 But because I was looking for something cold and to quench my thirst from my roundabout stroll in the seafront park. I headed to Starbucks and got a cup of cold white chocolate frappucino. IMG_2375In just minutes, I got bottoms up and had some brain freeze. And the remaining hours, I was just slacking off at Starbucks Al Fresco looking to people passing by.IMG_2376

I have thought that I already satisfied my cravings for food but at 12 o’ clock, I was looking for something greasy, burnt and with gravy. I was still sitting in Starbucks and I glanced to a near restaurant and I chose TGI Fridays. My stomach just murmured and gave me an idea that my lunch will be served there. At TGI Fridays, upon entering, I was greeted with a smile by the staff. He offered me a table of two since I called a friend to help and dine with me. 2013-10-25 18.21.23Eating alone is kinda depressing. You can’t make any comments or talk to someone if you are satisfied with the food or not. My friend arrived and I called the staff to hand out the menu.2013-10-25 18.12.34 There were wide selections of food. From pasta to pizza to burger to steak and many more. My friend ordered Bruschetta grouper for he hasn’t eaten fish for quite some time. While me, I was jumping from one page to the other not knowing which is which. The menu did show how sumptuous and mouth watering their food were, so, clearly I haven’t made up my mind. When this happens, I usually use my lifeline and that is used to utilize the staff’s opinion about their food. I asked him what food is the best in their restaurant. He offered me to take that barbecue spare ribs which is a signature dish of TGI Fridays and to pair it with ice cold bottomless iced tea. So, without hesitation, I coincided with his suggestion. For the appetizer, we chose fried calamari. IMG_2334Within 15 to 30 minutes, the entreés were served. For my friend’s drink, he ordered strawberry mango lemonade.2013-10-25 18.25.46 The fried calamari was good but I was kinda disappointed with the barbecue spare ribs because the gravy overpowered the flavor of the ribs.IMG_2340 On the other hand, the Bruschetta grouper was cooked to perfection.IMG_2339 It was smooth, moist and flavorful. After the entreé, I was planning to get a dessert but I was full. So I ended up calling the waiter for the chit. If given the chance that I will come back in TGI Fridays, I will choose the Angus beef steak and of course paired up with the thirst killer, iced tea. I actually love it.

After that lunch, my friend and I went out and had a walk at the coastline of the Persian Gulf. Few hours after, I was thirsty again and I invited my friend to have some thirst quencher in Starbucks. IMG_2378This time, I had a white chocolate mocha frappuccino while my friend had a chocolate cream frappuccino. IMG_2412And after a few sips, we called it a day.

Back in my hotel, I was on my way going to my room when I stumbled in a restaurant in the hotel. So instead of going to my room, I directly headed to the restaurant named Á La Carte.IMG_2388I was welcomed by the waiter and assisted me to my table. He offered me the menu and as I was glancing at it, I remembered if my roommate came back from his trip. So, I checked by calling our room phone and alas, he’s there and I invited him to eat dinner with me. He came in the restaurant and made an order.IMG_2385 I was kinda intrigued on the menu coz it showed 2 different dishes, so, I conspired my friend to choose the seafood of the day while I choose the main dish of the day both with mango juice.IMG_2391IMG_2389 In this restaurant, they made sure that everything that comes out from the kitchen is cooked perfectly and without a doubt, they did justice to the food and deserved to be commended. My dinner was amazingly without any flaws. Kudos to the Chef and thanks for the complimentary dessert. The steak was perfect, the sauce, and everything. I definitely want to go back there. I already miss the food. So basically it was One Day Gluttony. But I had fun and it never happened that day that my stomach grumbled again. The next day, I just had waffles and pancakes for breakfast, all for myself yet still I don’t gain weight.2013-10-26 06.35.52

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A 4-Star Hotel Getaway in Holiday Inn Al Khobar – Corniche

I had enough of my job and I just want to escape even for a day or two from my routine work. Then, I sat down on my desk and have thought of going out for a weekend getaway. I searched the web and I found out that one of the 4-star hotels in Al Khobar is having a room sale for a night, so, I grabbed the offer.2013-10-25 16.09.202013-10-25 16.06.56

I traveled from Al Jubayl to Al Khobar for an hour and a half. That day, everything was perfect and I was pumped up. When I arrived in this hotel named Holiday Inn Al Khobar – Corniche, I was greeted with wide smiles from the receptionist and check-in only took for 5 mins.2013-10-26 07.01.38IMG_23602013-10-25 13.46.31

When I got my room, it was also perfect. The beds were smooth, the carpet, the design, and everything were just perfect but when I got to the bathroom, I found some hair strands on the tub but it’s OK.2013-10-25 13.54.202013-10-25 13.59.352013-10-25 13.57.312013-10-25 13.54.252013-10-25 13.54.35

When I went out for lunch in A La Carte, the staff was amazing. He greeted me with a smile and amicably talked to me and took my order even though he needs to go back and forth to ask the Chef since I ordered the Main Dish and Seafood of the Day. But when I went out to take some dip on their pool, I was shocked coz I was thinking they have one. But it was just a fountain jets but still the view compensated for lacking of swimming facilities.IMG_2366IMG_2367

So, to sum it up. My whole weekend stay in this hotel was amazing and almost perfect. I would definitely recommend it to my friends to stay here and I have decided that every month, I’ll be having a weekend getaway.IMG_2365 IMG_2364 IMG_2362 IMG_2361For quotes, inquiries, reservations, check their site here.

Mall Hopping

For a tourist/traveler to better know his/her new environment, he/she needs to be one of the locals. Doing the same thing the locals are doing like for example, going to the mall to shop, dine, window shop or just plainly taking a stroll.IMG_2630One Friday morning, my friends and I have decided to visit one of the famous malls in the Eastern Region of the Kingdom. We traveled all the way from Al Jubayl to Al Khobar from 1100H. Supposedly, we had planned of taking the SAPTCO bus but by unfortunate event, the ticket office was closed. We, then, headed to the nearest taxi area to grab one cab. We arrived at Al Rashid Mall at exactly 1430H. At first, we had thought that we can’t go in since it was on a Friday which is a family day in the Kingdom and bachelors are not allowed to go inside. But, we were lucky enough for there were no security staff to prohibit us from entering the mall.

IMG_2641 Upon entering the mall, it was a different environment. It appeared like a dead establishment since all stalls and shops were closed. Of course, silly me, there were closed coz they were due to open by 1600H. So, by killing time. My friends and I just wandered around the mall even if most of the stalls were closed.IMG_2644After prayer time at exactly 1445H, the place became alive. People were just everywhere. Children were just running from here to there. Families sitting and friends talking from different sides and areas of one of the biggest malls in Al Khobar. As much as I would love to take pictures in the mall but it is kinda difficult to do that since Saudi culture doesn’t allow exposure of their public lives.
IMG_2649As I was wandering around Al Rashid, I’ve seen well-known and international brand lines of clothing. Everything was amazing and the infrastructure, the design as well of the mall.IMG_2669 IMG_2665 IMG_2664 IMG_2656Then, we left Al Rashid Mall by 1700H and went to Mall of Dhahran. A ride about 10-15 mins took us to step on the widest mall of Eastern Region. When we entered the mall, it was so vibrant. A lot of shoppers was there. Buying and others were just observing. The whole day of my mall hopping was nice. It was indeed a fun day for me and my friends but ended to have swollen legs and exhausted feet of hours of walking.IMG_2675

Great Coastal View of the Persian Gulf

Persian Gulf separates the Middle East from South Asia. This extension of the Indian Ocean can be seen in the Eastern Province of the Kingdom and shared by other countries famous for great beach escapades such as in Dubai, Qatar, and Bahrain. In Saudi Arabia, it can be viewed in Al Khobar.2013-10-26 09.20.24 2013-10-26 09.27.49

Al Khobar can be accessed thru DMM or King Fahd International Airport in Dammam which is a north of Al Khobar. You can also get there by bus from Bahrain thru SABTCO via the King Fahd Causeway. When I arrived in this country, I’ve been exploring this place but I didn’t get the chance to take photos since they told me that taking pictures in the Kingdom is illegal and will give you one-way ticket to jail. But now that I have known this country for quite some time, I have observed that people regulating the law are having lax control about photo capturing in public. It might be due to increasing tourists and foreign investors in the country and might as well, the country is opening up its door on tourism since a lot of travel agencies is offering tour packages in different part of the Kingdom. Besides, they will also profit from tourism like any other countries have been doing. Anyway, in Al Khobar, you can view the coast of the Persian Gulf by visiting the Corniche and the Half Moon Bay. It is for free and also a great place to have picnics, bonding, and even do fishing.2013-10-26 09.09.362013-10-26 09.10.172013-10-26 09.10.052013-10-25 16.39.042013-10-26 09.15.142013-10-26 09.12.18

Al Khobar has succeeded other cities of the country. It is more established compared to others. It is a growing metropolis. Skyscrapers stand proud from east to west, definitely a big city not to miss if you happen to drop by in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.2013-10-25 16.14.58

Expats Haven in the Kingdom

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My blog has turned out to be different than what I have expected. I created this blog for me to share my travels but now, it looks like I’ve been using this blog as my diary. This might be due to no more interesting topics to post since I didn’t get the chance to travel here in my new location. Yet, recently I had this opportunity to go for a day-out with my friends and batch mates and we headed to the famous expats’ beach resort in Al Khobar called, Baher Villas Beach Resort.2013-09-27 16.42.02It was on a Friday afternoon when we traveled from Al Jubayl to Al Khobar. The trip took us about an hour and a half and to find Baher Villas Beach Resort took some little time since it was secluded and indeed a private beach resort.

When we got there, it was OK. The location is somewhat nice but not to the extent that you’ll be in awe. The only plus point for this resort is you can wear what you want. You can wear your skimpy bikinis and swimming trunks here, so, you can definitely show some skin since the Kingdom doesn’t permit to do that on public resorts.

Here are some photos I got thru my camera lens.2013-09-27 16.44.02 2013-09-27 16.48.06 2013-09-27 17.16.11 2013-09-27 17.25.482013-09-27 17.28.22We stayed there til 2100H and I had fun since it was a reunion with my friends and batch mates whom I never seen after we were dispatched to different work locations.

If you want to enjoy your weekend and forget that you are in the Kingdom, you can try Baher Villas Beach Resort with entrance fee of SR50 (USD14).

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