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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.

But before that happened, it was my husband's idea to avail of those long stopovers so we can roam around Hong Kong and explore the city before going back here in Riyadh from the Philippines. When he asked me before if I wanted to try it, I immediately answered, "Why not?" From then on, we always take advantage of the visa-free entry to Hongkong entitled to Filipinos and the airline's availability of flight with long stopovers. We already did it twice.

And here's what happened the first time. We had more than half a day to spare, but almost eight hours of it were spent sleeping because we arrived in Hongkong at 8PM. Below is a list of how we spent those precious hours.

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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.

A post shared by beth26 (@pixelsforfour) on Aug 7, 2017 at 4:54am PDT
Imagine my excitement when we tried The Feast at Zafran Indian Bistro. We came one workday, just after Maghrib prayer time, when most of the diners were still praying somewhere.

The restaurant manager warmly greeted and seated Fred and I at the family section. Whi…

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.

z A post shared by beth26 (@pixelsforfour) on Nov 17, 2017 at 7:22am PST
I honestly don't know. It's just that one day, I received an email from a PR agency in Oman asking media staff to attend the launch of MSQ Waterfront. I ignored it, thinking it was a spam. But after two days, while I was cleaning my emails, I saw it again and I thought of confirming if it was a legit invitation.

So I replied to the email and asked, "Are you sure it's alright to come? I'm just a blogger." Mahmoud, the Omani PR staff who sent the email said, "It's al…

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.

He offered to bring me to the Sultan's Palace and the Old Muscat. I hesitated because it was already lunchtime and just by looking at his pale face, it was obvious that he hasn't taken his lunch yet. But he looked sincere when he suggested that. Although I am pressed for time, I still said yes because I wanted to make the most out of this trip.

You might say that I got a bit excited when we reached the end of the corniche an…