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33rd Janadriyah Festival

Curled up in bed while watching cooking lessons on Youtube, I decided to spend the rest of the day learning new desserts then tidying up the house later. The kids are in Al Khobar for a chess tournament and this could be my most awaited me-time. But as I reached for the phone to check for my children's messages, I saw a friend's post on Al Janadriyah Festival.


"Forget it, you've been there more than a couple of times to memorize what's in Gate 3 or in Gate 5", I said to myself. But F has been asking me about it since the first week of December so I sent him a message to ask if he wants to check it out because I don't. Winter has this hibernating effect on me. And as expected, of course, he wanted to. He's an avid visitor. He loves that festival. And to make the story and argument short, I agreed to go.

And was I wrong for hesitating! There were lots of people and the parking lot was full to the edge of a ditch! We were so worried that our car might g…
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Great is God's Faithfulness

Lamentations 3:22-23
It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.


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King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture Visit

Try and try until you succeed. I've heard that a hundred times already and that's what we did when we decided to visit the World --- or more popularly known as Ithra. We attempted to enter it last year and was not allowed because it wasn't open for public yet, and we didn't know that for a hassle-free entry, a visitor must have a ticket to one of its shows which can only be booked online back then.

Here's where we spent 2 hours:

ENERGY EXHIBIT











ART INSTALLATION
Ithra also showcases 12 unique artwork integrated in the architecture of the Center to reflect its mission of promoting creativity and cross-cultural engagement.




If you want to check out Ithra, check their website first for their visiting hours and show schedules. And better yet, (based on our experience) call their landline first.


Hong Kong 18-Hour Stopover

When my husband pointed out the empty building in Al-Hareth bin Al-Habab Street in Malaz, where Cathay Pacific reservations office was located, I suddenly remembered that our favorite airline ceased its Riyadh operations more than a year ago. It only meant one thing for us: no more long stopovers.

Zafran Indian Bistro: A Feast for the Senses

I wouldn't have tasted Indian food had I not come here in Riyadh.

I had a taste of it three years ago when I began eating lunch with my Indian officemates.  Since it was a small office, and most restaurants are a bit far, we bring our lunch from home and share our meals with each other. My Indian friends shared with me their homecooked kormahs and masalas almost every lunch time. Slowly, I began to crave for the taste and spiciness of Indian dishes. I slowly learned how to cook Beef Masala. (Yes, I tried one Saturday and it was a hit - at least for my husband!) Since then, I've learned to have great respect and love for this world-renowned cuisine.

2 Days in Muscat, Oman

It's been more than a year since my first visit to Oman. I was blessed to have been invited to the launch of Mina Al Sultan Qaboos Waterfront.

I've told you what I did there here and where I went while I was there. But I remember I haven't told you how I got invited. For those who have been asking me about this invitation and for the sake of archiving this adventure, I will discuss it here.

Muttrah Corniche

Have you ever experienced being a tourist in a country so stunning and breathtaking and you're pressed for time but you don't want to let go of the chance to see a bit more of that place because you don't know if you'll ever set foot there again?

That's what I experienced when I arrived in Oman. I didn't have much time! I wanted to explore more but I didn't have the luxury of time.

These were taken on my first day there. Prior to the Mina Al Sultan Qaboos Waterfront launch, we were given a tour of the Corniche and Muttrah Souq. I was mesmerized and I wanted to linger but I focused on the event ahead because I knew that I would have time to visit the corniche the following day.

This is how it looks like at dusk. It was low tide and sea gulls flew by to search for food. And this is the only corniche I know that's located along a busy road. How blessed these Omanis are -- to pass by this view everyday!




On my second day, when the taxi driver I hailed from t…

Al Alam Palace and the Old Muscat

On my second day in Oman – the first day was spent in the launch of Mina Al Sultan Qaboos Waterfront – I hired a taxi driver to bring me to tourist spots in Muscat. I deemed it safe to roam Muscat alone because I read from online travel sites that Oman is one of the safest Middle East countries for a solo traveler.

He brought me first to Sultan Qaboos Mosque then to Muttrah Souq. By afternoon, I'm done with all the top tourist spots except for The Royal Opera House which I missed because it was only open for more or less a couple of hours on mornings.


Sultan Qaboos Mosque, Muscat

Should I or shouldn't I? I admit I contemplated on visiting Sultan Qaboos Mosque, or any mosque on any travels to Arab countries. That's because I do not share the faith being practiced there. I even researched prior to arriving in Oman if it was alright and found this article.

You should know it was my first time to enter a mosque, and as always, what I wanted to post here is what happened to me there and more.

The taxi driver who will bring me to the mosque from the hotel looked at me, talked to a fellow driver, and courteously asked me to wear an abaya (a full-length robe-like dress) and a tarha (head covering). So I went back to my room, got the dress code essentials he wanted, and hurried back to the taxi outside the hotel.

When we arrived at the mosque, he promised that he will wait for me until I finish.
"Uh, until I finish? About how many minutes do you mean by that?"
"Just take your time, for sure, it will take a while for you to finish taking pictures…