Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A guide to the city of Al-Khobar Part 1

Eastern Province Al-Khobar Kingdom of Saudi Arabia blog
Last night I met up with my newest friend Afnan, whom I met at the Cultural Night. Now I have a total of three friends here! Yessssss.
Our plan was to get coffee downtown so I suggested we try the cafe at Desert Designs. The store is a landmark of Al-Khobar and it combines a home furnishing store with an art gallery, jeweller's, and cafe as well as an interior design service. Unfortunately the cafe was closed because the barista decided not to show up, (you know, he's a free spirit, he does what he wants), but we were able to poke around a bit before her driver was able to pick us up again. We first looked at the gallery which was gearing up for the LOUD Art exhibition.

Ali Cha'aban Desert Designs art gallery Khobar Saudi Arabia blog
This is a take on Andy Warhol's famous painting Marilyn Diptych. We loved it! (Maybe this one can be named Mariyam Diptych?) Just noticed what looks like bird poop on her head though. This has got my inner high school art critic going.

Ali Cha'aban Desert Designs art gallery Khobar Saudi Arabia blog
This painting is less notable than the previous one but employs a similar aesthetic. Painting by Ali Cha'aban.
Downstairs I looked for Fyunka, a fashion line that I had seen last year. And it was still there! Actually it's kind of like Warhol's work, with cartoonish images inspired by pop culture and "Khaleeji insights." Didn't have time to buy something, but wish that I did!

Fyunka merchandise Desert Designs Al-Khobar Saudi Arabia blog

Fyunka merchandise Desert Designs Al-Khobar Saudi Arabia blog

And like every time I go to Desert Designs, I found something new to admire!

Amina Gallery cases Desert Designs Khobar Saudi Arabia blog

These cell phone covers are from Amina Gallery. I don't like its style as much as Fyunka's, but since I don't have my own home to furnish with woolen hand made carpets, the cell phone covers caught my eye. I do like the passport covers that are featured on its website.

Here is some jewellery that I found as well. They're made by a_ghuph studios in Riyadh. You can see on their website that they collaborated with Fyunka. Coooool!!

a_ghuph studios jewelry Desert Designs Khobar Saudi Arabia blog

a_ghuph studios jewelry Desert Designs Khobar Saudi Arabia blog

Anyway, we decided to still go for that coffee at a place on the corniche. Since Afnan's driver was new, he was following one of her brothers in his car. What with the traffic, construction detours and just trying to follow him, it seemed like we toured the entire city. We even passed by the jail! We joked that we were doing the scenic tour of Khobar. We ended the night at Laguna Eastern Restaurant and Cafe. It had patios and Afnan said that it's beautiful in winter. I can just imagine! You could even see the causeway to Bahrain.

Laguna Eastern Restaurant and Cafe corniche Saudi Arabia blog

In summary, a night out on the town for two girls living in Saudi Arabia consists of
  • Getting driven around by a driver because we're not allowed to drive, whose following another driver because he's a new driver. Right.
  • Going to a cafe for some coffee but the establishment being closed because according to the jeweler's, "the guy didn't show up today. Sometimes he shows up, sometimes he doesn't." Right.
  • Passing by the Khobar jail while en route to alternate cafe. Which is located in Thuqbah. At this point you know what I should be saying.
  • Ending up at driving up and down the corniche and me not recognizing anything so I think that this girl that I really just met is maybe part of a plot to kidnap me then hold me for ransom but then oh there's the place so never mind!!
Thanks for a great night Afnan! Do you guys have any other places in Khobar that you could recommend we try in the future?


  1. Must be so weird not being allowed to drive even if you wanted to!

    1. It is! You lose your sense of direction, big time. But if you're lucky enough to live in a compound you can drive there. For more on driving in Saudi, read this: http://bit.ly/1DgT1qw.