Since coming to Riyadh, I have been to a Saudi restaurant only three times. Due to the vast availability of Western fast food restaurants here in Riyadh, eating Saudi food is sometimes a hassle. Fast food provides fast service and tastes great. Why waste time in a Saudi restaurant, right? But being in Saudi, it would be an insult if I didn’t eat at a Saudi restaurant. It would be like a foreigner visiting Malaysia and not eating Nasi Lemak, our traditional food.
The restaurant that I went to is called Al-Maqsorah. Serving local Saudi food, this is one of the places that my family and I go to eat the delicacies of Saudi Arabia. Simply said, Saudi food is delicious. Most food is served with rice which is similar to Malaysia so it was not so awkward eating at the restaurant.
To tell the truth, I didn’t even know that the name of this mall was Riyadh Avenue Mall. All I knew was that my dad called this place Lulu Hypermarket. Why, you ask? That is because the single biggest thing in this mall is Lulu Hypermarket, a sort of a Tesco in a mall. As a matter of fact, at the side of mall, there is a large neon sign saying Lulu Hypermarket. I don’t have images of that now but maybe later.
Going inside Riyadh Avenue Mall, there is a fountain waiting for visitors. It’s a small fountain but for such a small mall, it was impressive. Another mall, Riyadh Gallery even has a small river in it but that is for another post.
Since coming to Riyadh in January, my stay here has been quite event-less, nature-wise. The chilling cold is the only thing to note when it came to Riyadh weather in winter. As Riyadh approaches higher temperatures, weird things happen. One day it was cold and the next hot and then cold again. But the most weirdest thing is the sandstorm.
I was playing a game on TV at that time and things were normal. It was the 25th of February. Outside, it was sunny and peaceful. Nothing out of the ordinary. I turn around one second and the next thing I knew, darkness ascended. I’m being hyperbolic, I know but I can’t describe it any other way. I did see some heavy winds outside but for a sandstorm to hit Riyadh? I didn’t expect that.
I know that Riyadh is not Dubai. The title of my blog post says ‘Mission Impossible Got It Right’ despite MI4 was filmed in Dubai. But Dubai and Riyadh are quite close. By car, you’ll get there in less than half a day. So I assume that the weather will be similar. Look at the images below. Looks kinda like in MI4 during the sandstorm chase, doesn’t it?
The first time I heard of Janadriyah was when my father invited me to visit there with two of his friends. At that time, I was totally clueless about Janadriyah. In fact, my father didn’t even say the word ‘Festival’ in it which made me wonder and wonder what Janadriyah truly was. In my mind, I imagined it to be a museum that showcase Saudi history in one building. I was close but was also far.
In Saudi Arabia, I live in an area called al-Nakhil on Prince Turki Road. That place is somewhat close to the city center of Riyadh. To go to the center only takes about
ten minutes. If I had only traveled around this area, I would think that everyone in Saudi are rich and loaded to the brim. But looking at the city center of Riyadh only doesn’t tell the whole story of Saudi because the further away from the center, the smaller the buildings and the tougher the living.
The place I went to today for the second time since my arrival is called Batha Center (pronounced Ba-ta-ha). This is a place quite far from the city center of Riyadh and takes about twenty minutes to reach from my home. Batha Center is a place I like to call the Laborers’ Den due to the demography of the people and the environment. The people who live around Batha Center and work in Batha Center are people who have to work hard for a living. They are laborers and thus, you can see there are less Saudi natives here and a lot of Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistan and prominently Filipinos.
Since I am online right now, I might as well tell readers, if there is any readers at all about little parts of my life. I am originally from Malaysia, a not-so-small country in Southeast Asia. I have three little brothers and I am the eldest. My mum works as a teacher in Selangor and my dad is a lecturer.
If you’re wondering why the title of this post is as above, it is because right now, I am in Saudia Arabia. Yes, the land of the prophets of Islam. The largest producer of oil in the world. Home of some of the most interesting people I’ve met so far.
Before my move to Saudi, my dad works as a lecturer in a university in Malaysia. Details aside, he got an offer to work as a lecturer in King Saud University of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Wanting better pay, he moved.
He has been here for two years. I have just been here one month. Why? Because I needed to finish the SPM, or the O-Level equivalent exams in Malaysia. Again, details aside, I have finished that O-Level and moved here. Well, not permanently but eventually, I’ll return to Malaysia, hopefully when the results of SPM come out. Anyways, my family won’t be missing Malaysia much because every year, they get a paid trip to Malaysia for the summer.
The picture above was taken from a window in my new home. Because my dad works as a lecturer in King Saud University, it is quite easy to assume he will have a house nearby. Look at the gate at the picture. That is the border of King Saud University. But don’t judge it ugly yet. Look further to buildings in the background.You see those structures? That is still King Saud University. King Saud University is the biggest university in Saudi Arabia and just look at that. Gigantic! Well, I hope you liked my weird post. Hopefully, I’ll be posting more posts about Saudi Arabia, to document my time here in this strange new land (this is even starting to sound like a story).