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Our first day in Khobar, Saudi Arabia October 13, 2006

Posted by Aella in Al Khobar, Culture, Saudi Arabia.
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So yesterday was our first day here. I must admitt that eventhough I knew that women wear black abayas and men white thobs here it was strange to see it. I mean, it’s like a uniform and most Saudis seems to wear it here. Ok, women have to wear the abaya but the men doesn’t have to wear the thobs (which are quite nice if I may say so myself, kinky grrrr). I didn’t know that so many women here have chosen to cover their faces though. Kinda looks weird if you ask me. No offence to anyone, just feels strange but I guess I get used to it. all you can see is eyes, eyes and eyes of women here. You just would not be able to describe what the women of Khobar look like. One thing that I feel is kinda scary are the women that have black cloth in front of the whole face. I don’t know what to think of that… I feel it’s wrong somehow.

We had a late start yesterday and went out for a shopping drive about 1.30 pm. In Khobar malls and shops are scattered between the compound outside the city of Khobar. Felt like we are going around in circles all the time. Noticed that most compounds have really high security with barbwire, high walls, surveillance cameras, guards, gates, check points and concrete blocks. Makes you think the world outside if one scary and dangerous place. But it didn’t feel like it was as we were driving around….til we got to the Rashid Mall where we went to make my abaya shorter.

As I sat in the car in the parking lot watching all the Saudi couples and families passing by in their uniforms I felt freaked. I didn’t want to go into the mall without my abaya. Felt so out of place (and I was of course). I had thrown my last lenses the day before and was wearing my glasses (which really needs to be updated cus I cant see too good with them). In my green pregnancy shirt (long sleeved of course) and jeans I entered the mall with my family and my blurry vision. And yes I really stood out. And felt odd. I want you to note that being different is no problem for me but here I felt I was crossing a line that I didn’t want to. Soo, anyway before they shop had shortened my abaya and I had put it on I had a few odd and amused looks from people. Bought some all-day lenses and put them on and voila now I could see all the glory that before passed me by. Felt like a black whale in my abaya being pregnant and all. Felt better later during the day when I had changed to a thin dress.

After that we went to Toys R Us but no they were closed due to prayers…..or so it said on the door. But they had closed until later (7.30pm) cus it is Ramadan and no one really goes shopping after a certain time. So we went back home, slept, showered, changed clothes and went to iftar at a compound called Nesma Village. Had a buffet with a lot of Lebanese foods like tabbouleh, fattoush, the cheesy rolls, hommous and muttabal. Really good food and aaaah I missed all that whilst in Sweden.

After our meal we went on a shopping spree and bought a bunch of things for our home. We ended it by doing food shopping in a place called Panda. We chose this place cus we assumed it wouldn’t be as packed as the other places. And we were right. It was all cool until we went to the till to pay. For some reason all the stores we had visited had “a problem” with credit cards so everyone had to pay with cash. I was told by my husband that he had heard there were some kind of boycott towards the banks going on. So he had to go to ATM and get cash a few times.

As we entered Panda my husband checked with an employee of the place to make sure we could use the card and yes fine no probs. Once all the items were scanned and put into bags the cashier guy goes Ohh no we only take cash. Hm great. So my husband once again went to get some cash.

As he left a manager takes over the till and takes the nest customes and starts scanning their things. He picks up his mobil and blabbers on for a few minutes. When my husband comes back and wants to pay, the manager goes, Oh uh how much was it and where is the receipt? No ooh he left with the receipt (refering to the first guy). Turns out the manger had started to scan the next customers items and added that to our bill and now wanted us to unpack all our bags to make a new scan. The other customer was a little freaked cus he had only bought a few items and sure as hell didn’t wanna pay for all our stuff.  The manager goes Oh Mr please let’s scan all your things again. My husband goes, How about this? How about you take all your food and we leave? No but..! Oh yes. So we left. And now we have to re-do all the shopping aaallll over again today somewhere else (probably at Geant Stores). 

We ended our day by ordering some pizza and watching tv. After we ate I said to my son, Now you will have to eat pizza for suhur cus we didn’t do the shopping. My husband goes, Oh and what do you call this? Huh? Yes, is this not suhur and when were you looking to eat that? Well about 4 (am of course). Eh you’re not waking me up then. Why not? Helloooo, cus it’s 3 am now!

God, I thought it was about 12. I still can’t believe I was sitting watching tv and eating pizza at 3 am without being tired and without realising it was that late (or early).

Anyway, long post this I know. Just a lil more..

Our house is great. Much larger than I thought it would be and I love all the space. It has 3 large bedrooms, 2 livingrooms, dining room, kitchen, large hall, maids room, 4 bathrooms and a small storage room. Doesn’t feel too cramped. The kitchen where I will spend a lot of time as the cooking freak I am has all you need. Really love this kitchen. I am trying to organise cupboards and drawers right now cus things are kinda spread out everywhere. I’m a lil lost til things are in place. The house is furnished and allthough some of the items aren’t really to our taste it is still nice things. Working on giving the place our personal touch and turning it into a home. It takes time but it’s fun.

The compound is not so big compared to other compounds. It’s all brand new and people are slowly adding their little touches to their houses to make this place more alive. We have a small space in the back of the house with some grass and I guess I could try (note the word, try ok, I am known to kill plants, not grow them) to grow some flowers or something else. Wonder what would grow nice and easy in this climate. Any suggestions?

Comments»

1. Rebecka Darouiche - October 13, 2006

Vad glad jag blir att höra att ni äntligen är framme!!! Ska bli så intressant att läsa om dit nya liv i Khobar. Hoppas vi kan få se lite bilder från ert nya hem och snart kanske på lillans 1 årsdag !!!
Masalam och många kramar Rebecka

2. Sous - October 21, 2006

Tack Rebecka. Hoppas du och lilla magen mar bra🙂. Kramisar S

3. huda - April 28, 2007

hi every body am huda from saudi arabia (al-khobar) am a women am 14 years but i love my life here i always have fun with my friends,shopping with them , we can wear any thing ,we can talking with any one, and i wanna tell you some thing ilove music,songs

4. layla - February 7, 2008

hi every one im layla and i will be moving to khobar soon i have no ideas about plz if any one know any thing about like do we have to weear the hijab the abaya ?? im realy confused about it it would be very nice if someone can talk about it ..thx plz do contact me on this e mail .(lulu_8742@hotmail.com)

5. priya - March 7, 2008

hi i am priya and i will be moving to khobar soon i have no idea about the cultures. Does woman need to wear abaya all time. Does she need to wear it at home too.

6. Kaya - May 14, 2008

Hi Priya

I don’t know if you have arrived in Saudi Arabia yet, but if you haven’t I can tell you a little bit about it. I am a western female living in Saudi – I live in Dhahran which is the Saudi Aramco compound. Here on our compound we (the western women) do not wear an abaya or the hijab, but we are asked to dress conservatively when out and about on the compound. Some women do and some women don’t adhere to this request. However when I go out of our compound (going to Khobar or any other area of Saudi) I do always wear the abaya (no hijab). There are some women who refuse to wear an abaya but they do dress in long sleeve/pants/long skirt. You will eventually learn what to do and what not to do. Good luck.

7. sanju - May 21, 2008

Hi,

a job is offered to me in khobar in Al-fozal company.Can u give me any idea ablout the company .any idea of average salary package for an MBA. can u give me any idea about living expenses,accomdation, fooding and other expenses.as being Indian i am not awre about ho must costly is.

I had also listen employers keep ur passport and do not allow to return and few others,………………..

Please help me out

8. naidu_kavita - July 8, 2008

is it compulsary to wear black abayas

9. manikandan.e - October 12, 2008

A job offered me in alkhobar can u give me any idea about living expenses,accomdation, fooding and other expenses.as being Indian i am not awre about how must costly is,for a bed spacecan u give any indians of bachelor boys and girls phone no,what about the internet facility for houses,

10. Ahmad - October 20, 2008

Any girl in KHOBAR SAUDI ARAB mail me…………..for frindship

11. J.Villanueva Cabrera - October 20, 2008

It sounds to me like you had a CULTURE SHOCK. It’s really interesting to hear other people’s experiences in the middle east, especially from westerners. It gives me a different perspective on how Arabs deal with different people.

12. althaf - October 24, 2008

abhaya is good for all women. think of wearing it positively. what a pride islam has given to woman.

13. Dana - December 11, 2008

I agree with Kaya, it’s much better here in Dhahran, you can take off the abaya and all that boring shit, though I don’t live there. I live in Khobar, unfortunately. :’c

14. khusro - April 12, 2009

hi,iam indian muslim guy i need need indian girl only for friend ship

15. Dan - April 13, 2009

hi there my friend =)
if u need any help about places here in al-khobar , i’m female qatarian liveing here.

d-antila@hotmail.com

16. jenny - April 30, 2009

whats the age to get a drivers license in saudi? How is al-khobar for westerns?

17. jenny - May 6, 2009

Whats there to do for my kids in Al-Khobar, we are coming from the states? Is the town a safe place for our family? How are the compounds there? please anything would help.

18. slave - May 20, 2009

any mistress there ???

19. Rizwan - May 26, 2009

Jenny, you have to be a MALE and more than 18 years to get a license. Usually compounds here are secured and well equippped. Well, if you are westerner, local people will give you priority and lotta repect over others and think you are like a GOD to them (no matter how qualified you are) specially against fellow asian co-workers. If you need anything more, feel free to ask.

20. Qd - June 5, 2009

I guess Rizwan, is amplifying the image .There are hundreds if not thousands of foreign ppl there. you can live ur normal life within a campund , drive cars, and even play golf in some of them. However, what’ve been mentioned about ppl will think you are like a god, is a totally crap.. You might survive from some problems with others, and you’ll be ok. Just because of the miss-communication with non English speakers…

21. mahboob - May 11, 2010

Hello my fellow muslim brothers and sisters this is Mahboob lollllllllllllllllll I have no clue why i am posted on here but a brother from afghanistan just wants to give a shout out to ya all. salam.

22. Eyad - November 15, 2010

Hello

I will be arriving to khobar on 20th November 2010, it will be nice to make new friends and enjoy life.

I am 38 years old, male, work in a senior position, and would love to make friends.

My email is eyad1974eyad@hotmail.com

Regards
Eyad

23. Ibrahim Barakah - December 11, 2011

hi all

iam here in Khobar
I am not looking for short term relationship…
i would like to meet a strong women (Mistress) and contact her

My Name is Ibrahim 30 years old
my Email barakah200@gmail.com

24. Lucky Ali - December 10, 2012

any girl from khobar, dammam, please feel free to contact me on u4moon@hotmail.com


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