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Hofuf, Saudi Arabia: Keeping the Old Ways

November 2018 My first visit to Hofuf came early in my sojourn in Saudi Arabia.  I got commandeered to assist with a group tour to the city a few months after my arrival in Dhahran in 2010.  The trip itself is hardly worth relating, but it gave me an introduction to the Al Hasa region and to Hofuf, its main city.  I recognized even at that early stage of experience in the country that [...]

2018-12-27T21:57:07+00:00By |Middle East|0 Comments

Doha, Qatar: Mini-Bling

September 2018 Qatar is in a spot of bother these days since the severing last year of diplomatic ties and blockades imposed by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.  Al-Jazeera published an article last June (here) about the situation a year on, which suggests that Qatar has powered through the difficulty only slightly worse for the wear.  Other news reports that Qatar has found important partners like the United States and [...]

2019-04-03T08:17:54+00:00By |Middle East|0 Comments

Yanbu, Saudi Arabia: Clear Water and Naked Rock

August 2018 Yanbu is on the other side of Saudi Arabia from where I lived and worked for five years on the Gulf Coast in Dhahran.  I had heard about the city because it's one of two industrial developments undertaken by the Royal Commission (info here), the other being Jubail, which is within easy striking distance of Dhahran.  I'd been to Jeddah a couple times on business but not out into the environs, and [...]

2018-12-27T21:57:09+00:00By |Middle East|0 Comments

The Lamentations of Bahrain

June 2018 I was last in Bahrain in 2015, three years ago now.  I used to go often during the five years I lived in Saudi Arabia, since I had the good fortune to live in Dhahran, on the Gulf Coast only an hour's drive away across the King Fahad Causeway.  For those expats like me who lived in the Dhahran/Khobar/Dammam conurbation, Bahrain was the Promised Land.  Reasons for that assessment differed depending on [...]

2018-12-27T21:57:11+00:00By |Middle East|0 Comments

Dhi Ayn, the Marble Village (Al Baha, Saudi Arabia)

Stonework, Dhi Ayn, Saudi Arabia I mentioned in the post about the mountains of Saudi Arabia that a special trip from Al Baha down to the Tihama took me and the friend I travelled with to the so-called "Marble Village", Dhi Ayn, or Dhee Ayn, choose your spelling because nobody has the final answer when it comes to transliterating Arabic. The village was only on the periphery of my friend's awareness, not squarely [...]

2018-12-27T21:58:05+00:00By |Middle East|0 Comments

The Mountains of Saudi Arabia

March 2018 Mountains have been very much in my mind lately as I plan trips to visit montane areas here on the islands of Panay and Negros in PH. There are fantastic mountain ranges on both islands, and since I've been a mountain-dweller from my tenderest years they always draw me more than the beach scene. People I meet always say, "Oh sir, you need to go to Boracay!" Do I indeed? Does it [...]

2018-12-27T21:58:06+00:00By |Middle East|0 Comments