Category Archives: Saudi Arabia

A Taste of Morocco

A Few People From My Hotel and I Chowing Down When Moroccan cuisine was mentioned to me the other day, I instantly thought: I’ve never tried Moroccan, so I’d absolutely love to.

Last night I hopped in a cab with a few people from my hotel; then, off we were to my first experience with this north African fare.

A Taste of Kerala

Getting Used to Eating With My HandsAfter power walking along a new blend of concrete and dirt terrain, I didn’t see any restaurants that looked potentially worthy; so,  I turned around as it was starting to get late.

Just before passing the Egyptian restaurant that I enjoyed recently, I decided to turn onto a new street.  I figured that if I didn’t see anything, I’d head back towards my hotel.  On the way I’d grab the always pleasing option of a falafel and salad.

Fortunately, I came across a new restaurant.  I saw people that I guessed were probably from the subcontinent.   I happily strolled in.  While grabbing a table, I said:

A Rocky Desert Stroll

Enjoying a Natural Wonderland When a coworker asked if I wanted to take a cruise out of the city and into the desert, my answer was immediate and second nature.  I’d been thinking about getting out of the city limits that I’d confined myself to for weeks.

I had no idea what we were going to do there. I was told that there would be a common interest group of ex pats meeting.  That was it.

Mutabbaq: A Taste of Arabia

Churning out the MutabbaqOn a recent evening, I set out on a power walking mission through Riyadh’s dusty  and automobile maddened streets.

I wanted to find a little Bangladeshi place that had been pointed out by my Pakistani friend two weeks prior.  It is next to a Pakistani joint that he’d taken me to.  I’d later find what I was looking for to realize that it wasn’t Bangladeshi food at all, but South Indian fare.

A Flashback of India

Guys From Hyderabad Enjoying Their Native South Indian CuisineAs I set out for my nightly cuisine excursion, the plan was to hit a Chinese place that a coworker had recommended to me.  He said,

Just hop in a cab and any driver will know where it is.”

This colleague had told me that the food there was excellent and cheap.

A Taste of Egypt

My Personal Egyptian Spread In my last cuisine post, food aficionado Mark Wiens asked about a dish he’d tried in Egypt.

Because Saudi’s capital boasts a seemingly endless array of ethnic eats, I inquired about an Egyptian eatery.  I easily came across Al Feshavoy, an authentic Egyptian restaurant.  It’s only half an hour by foot from my hotel.

Feeling the Heat in the Hottest Place on Earth

46.9° C or 116.4° F in Riyadh, Saudi ArabiaI’m not sure that this is the hottest place on earth, but if it isn’t, I’m sure that it’s close.

Upon waking up yesterday morning on my first of two day’s off, I found that the Internet in my hotel was down. 

Thursday and Friday is Saturday and Sunday in this part of the world.

I decided to take a stroll to Starbucks, hoping to connect there.  After ordering an overpriced coffee, I came to realize that their Internet was also out of order.

Cuisine Scenes From Saudi

Enjoying Delicious Saudi Arabian Food Now, after being in Saudi’s capital for just over two weeks, it feels like much longer. Because the Middle East is new to me, I feel like I’ve seen and witnessed so much. Maybe it’s because I’ve never been to this part of the world, and that my introduction to the region is being viewed from its most stringent land.

I’ve learned a handful of Arabic, yet I’m coming to the realization that I may never become fluent. To do that I’d need full immersion. It’s hard to become fully immersed when I’m often conversing with Filipinos who speak Tagalog, or Pakistanis who speak Urdu, and many other foreigners , many of whom have at least a functional knowledge of English.

When a Simple Greeting Goes a Long Way

Walking Past a Riyadh Mosque Just Before Dusk I love to walk, to drift aimlessly through a new city.  Walking gives me a greater perspective than driving or taking a bus or subway.  Through walking, greater surprises are possible.

The sun was about to go down, bringing the temperature down with it.  Instead of 109° F or 42.8° C, it was about 104° F or 40° C.  This made the super dry heat a little bit more bearable.

Since it was almost dark, this meant that restaurants would soon open up.  During Ramadan in Saudi Arabia, there are no options for food during the day.  As I’d only eaten some fruit and nuts in my room, I was getting hungry.

During the first two aimless walking excursions near my hotel, I didn’t say anything to the people I walked by.  By this time, the third time, I’d learned a common greeting in Arabic:

Murphy’s Law and Three Flights Across the Earth

At the Gate in BahrainLast year I flew from Boston to Heathrow, Heathrow to Bahrain, and then Bahrain to Delhi.  The flights went super smoothly.  After a plush subway ride to New Delhi station, the insane rickshaw ride to a hotel wasn’t easy to manage mentally.

Just a few days ago, about a year later, I flew most of the same leg, on the same two airlines.  The difference this time is that my third and final flight from Bahrain didn’t take me to Delhi.  It took me to the capital of the forbidden kingdom.