2011 Eid Holiday Ideas. Here are some

Apart from attending Eid Prayer, Open Houses, or possibly Eid on the Beach 🙂 here are some ideas for Eid Al Fitr Holiday, especially when you are with your kids this Eid Holiday:

Explore Qatar

May be this is the time, to explore Qatar. See my old posts about Exploring Qatar here. Ever heard Ghost Town, Musfer Sink Hole, Snow on the Sahara, Purple Island, Desert Rose, Fuwairit? There are many places I have been to you may also interested in. Don’t forget to check old entries!


Enjoy magnificent vistas and special Eid light/laser show, dancing fountain and fireworks from August 31st to Sept 2nd starting at 8pm for 45 minutes every night! (source: The Peninsula)


If outdoor activities are prohibiting for you, escape to air-conditioned building while downloading valuable knowledge about Modern Art and Islamic Art:

Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art – check its website for opening hours information during Eid Holiday

Museum of Islamic Art – only closed on first day of Eid, and Friday.

City Center Doha

Freej Show (saw an adversitement in Gulf Times days ago, not sure about the timings but there will be performance every night during Eid holidays)

Jungle Zone. Hyatt Plaza

Magic Shows. Juggling Shows. Acrobatic Shows. Dwarf Comedy Show. Games and Competitions. Gift Distribution.

1st and 2nd day of Eid. 6pm – 8.30pm

Souq Waqif

Eid festivities at Waqif to feature top artistes
(there is a move that suggest this Eid festivities toned down or cancelled in view of current uprisings and solidarity for Somalia. See http://dohanews.co/post/9493396431

A number of celebrities from the GCC and other Arab countries will perform at gala nights throughout the days of Eid al-Fitr at Souk Waqif. The events will be sponsored by Al Rayan Voice Broadcasting Station and 17 Gulf and Arab artists have been invited to host the festival.

Qatari Sou’oud al-Jassem and artiste Mariam will open the festival, with Bahraini Ahmad al-Jomeiri ringing the curtain down on the event.

The second day of Eid will host Saudi performer Azazi, followed by Khaled Dalwane and Iraqi artist Sabah Al Lami.

Issa al-Kobeissi will perform the following day with Adel with Jordanian star Diana Karazon rounding off the performances that evening.

On the fourth day of celebrations, Yemeni artiste Alawi Faisal is expected to charm the audience, with Ali Abdel Karim following with his performance.

On the fifth day, Qatari singers Ghanem Hicham and Mansour el-Mohandi will perform alongside Lebanese singer Yara.

On the sixth day, Qatari performer Fahd al-Kobeissi and Egyptian artiste Mohamed Mounir will bring the curtain down on the Eid festival.

Royal Plaza

Face Painting. Royal Plaza Balloon Giveaways. Fun-themed Balloon Shaping. Magic Show. Cartoon Characters.

2nd and 3rd day of Eid. 7.30pm – 9.30pm

Aqua Park Qatar. Salwa International Road – Abu Nakhla. Exit 29.

Eid Attractions: Acrobats, Balance circus show, Midgets wrestling, stilt walkers, puppet show, magic and UMD games, Tanoura, Horse Dancers, Chinese Kitchen.

Open Daily: 10am-10pm.

Show Time. Eid Extravaganza.

Live Daily from Circus Land & Gondolania

Unbelievable Unicycle Display. Amazing Juggling Act. Fabulous Face Painting. Crazy Clown Show. Phenomenal Puppet Performance. The Dynamic ‘Dance with Kids’. Awesome Animation. Competition Games.

Landmark, Circus Land:

August 30th, September 1st & 3rd. 5pm – 6.30pm

August 31st. September 2nd. 8pm – 9.30pm

Villagio, Gondolania:

August 30th, September 1st & 3rd. 8pm – 9.30pm

August 31st. September 2nd. 5pm – 6.30pm

Watching Eid Extravaganza may be one of agenda for your kids this Eid holiday (Source: Ad in Gulf Times)

Wok of Fame, Villagio

In one of the fasting break time during this Ramadan I had a chance to have it in Wok of Fame, Villagio Mall. Wok of Fame is a Chinese cuisine restaurant conveniently (and strategically) located on the backside of the mall foodcourt on overhead bridge over man-made Venetian canal of the mall. We entered through the reception foyer at ground floor before directed upstair to the main dining hall, through elevator or stair.

The hall upstairs, decorated in black-mood chinese ornaments, is large enough to accommodate probably around 80 person in 4-6-seat table configurations. At the first end is buffet table in rectangle shape offering more than tens of chinese cuisine selections. This includes some of traditional Asian desserts.

I found that the food is of excellent taste. Fried noodle, fried rice is champion with breaded fried prawn, beef and chicken based food are among the sought selections. The service is good except one of our order was mistakenly delivered. Price is reasonable, with buffet all-youcan-eat during Ramadan offered for QR59 per person (children: QR29) and drinks between QR12 for big bottled water and QR15 for fresh juice. Aside from buffet we can also order ala carte menu.

The only dissapointment was a free wifi offer, attractively put on the table but turned out it meant “feel free to pay with your debit/credit card at your table” 🙂

Wok of Fame Villagio Mall
Buffet Selection
When Free means "Feel Free to pay with your debit/credit card" 🙂

Paris Series 2

This is quite outdated subject. I visited Paris in Feb 2011  the second time for a-week-long Hazard and Operability Study (HAZOP) for Plateau Maintenance Project, conducted at Technip Office in La Defense. Unlike last year summer visit, this was during winter when temperature was still freezing (1-5 C) and rain was a daily guest.

Not many places visited this time as many have been covered during my summer visit. I managed to climb up Tour Montparnasse that offers 360 deg panoramic view of Paris from above, took shots of Musee du Louvre during the night, strolled around Hotel de Ville, then guided my colleague to visit Notre Dame and Basilique Sacre Coeur.

Enjoy some of my shots.

Cold. Winter. Tour Eiffel.
Eiffel during winter
From Tour Montparnasse
Arc de Triomph du Carrousel
Musee du Louvre
Musee du Louvre
Hotel de Ville (City Hall)
Basilique Sacre Coeur
Notre Dame and Seine River
…and finally
Louis Vuitton, Champs Elysees

Katara in 50mm

One summer night, Ramadan 1432 H, Katara captured in 50mm lens.

Katara at night
Katara's floor lamp
A corner in Katara
Saffron Restaurant
In one of the Ramadan tents in Katara
Qatari weaving
Qatari children games
A dallah (Arabic: دلة‎) is a metal pot with a long spout designed specifically for making Arabic coffee
A duo-performance (painter and violist) in one of the Ramadan tents
Wire net crafter
QR5 a plate for thirst quenching watermelon

Cafe Ceramique

One of the activities my kids doing during their summer holiday was becoming an artist – for a while – painting ceramic at Cafe Ceramique. Part cafe, part artist studio, the cafe offers an artist experience. The overall experience can be summarized into: choose, sketch, use, paint, leave and own.

When we enter the cafe, (2nd floor, opposite iD Design, of The Mall), for the experience, we were  directed to an inner hall, our studio. First we were asked to choose our piece we wish to paint from the hundreds of bisque designs. These range from simple box or plate to more complex figurine. The price will also vary, for example, the elephant and figure that my kids chose priced 68 and 65 QR respectively.

A selection of raw ceramiques - ready to paint
Before and After

Then, the cafe staff  assisted us in our painting experience and brought us the necessary material (mat, paint brushes, paints, color palette, water and tissue). While waiting for my kids played their imagination and creative minds, I sipped hot coffee and surfed the net from wifi available for free. The coffee is not that good though.

Painting starts
 Cafe Ceramique’s website as well as painting mats offers painting technique to aid first timer realize their imagination perfectly.     
Faiq is busy with painting his elephant 🙂
Fathan's figurine after painted - ready to firing

Once my kids finished painting, the staff took their pieces to the production area where it will be glazed then fired. Upon payment we were given a receipt on which all relevant information noted including the pick-up date for our finished ceramics. Unfortunately, it took a week before we can see our masterpieces.

Below is the masterpiece 🙂 It looks totally different than when we left it. Glazing and firing must be responsible for it.

After firing

Eastern Saudi – Dammam and Hofuf

Half Moon Bay

 [Another travelogue from our visit to Bahrain and Eastern Saudi, 19-22 December 2010]

Completing our visit to Bahrain, we were heading to Dammam area, at the other end of causeway. Our first stop was Half Moon Bay beach. The beach is the one of most popular beaches in the region and gets its name from it’s semi-circular shape. Finding the beach itself was a struggle as some roads at the time were closed and we needed to find another route. If I’m not mistaken I was taking the old Abqaiq road.

We arrived there during siesta, where restaurant closed until 4pm. While waiting restaurant to open we spent exploring the beach. The beach has several spots of well-maintained permanent concrete huts/shelters and children playgrounds. Busy with taking pictures an old south asian man approached us and with his limited english warned us not to taking picture. Local people may not like what you are doing is what he is trying to say. A bit surprise (as we only take pictures of us) but thanks anyway.

Half Moon Bay
Half Moon Bay
Having good late lunch and as sun was about to set we left Half Moon Bay to go to our apartment we booked in Al Khobar.
Train! It's been a while that we haven't seen train 🙂
Upss! Unpassable Saudi Aramco compound. Blame it to GPS
Again, though using GPS,  finding the apartment was quiet an effort owing to road closure and diversions and limited English speaking people to ask (incuding the hotel receptionist whom we called). Our night was spent only to IKEA Dhahran, just nearby. Unlike in Qatar, women in Dammam and Saudi in general must wear abaya. It is quite dissapointing though that international chain IKEA doesn’t have good English speaking store assistant, or should we blame ourself for not be able to speak Arabic 🙂
The next morning we headed back to Qatar with some stops at Al Khobar, Dammam, and later Abqaiq and Hofuf.
Al Khobar Corniche
Al Khobar Corniche Road
Somewhere in Al Khobar-Dammam
On the way to Dammam from Al Khobar
Dammam - on the way to its corniche
Approaching Dammam's corniche
Dammam's Corniche
Dammam's Corniche
A roundabout monument in Dammam
A more detail guide to Dammam can be obtained from Wikipedia: Dammam
Highway Dammam - Riyadh
Entering Abqaiq
Abqaiq is a Saudi Aramco camp, 60km southwest of Dammam. We stopped here for fuel filling. Driving the town reminded me the old day when we lived in Caltex Pacific Indonesia (now Chevron) Duri Camp, in Riau Indonesia.
From Abqaiq, we went to Hofuf with one stop at Jabal Al Qarah. The trip through Hofuf city center was a nightmare owing to traffic, diversions, and driving behavior (horns, lane cutting, poor lane discipline). But once we entered a palm date plantation area around Jabal Al Qarah all those road stresses relieved.
Hofuf, is basically major urban center in the Al-Ahsa Oasis, one of the largest oasis in the world. Jabl Al Qarah is located east of Hofuf. The mountain is considered to be one of the most important tourist and natural landmarks in Al Ahsa. It consists of sedimentary rocks, where the sedimentary layers can be seen with the naked eye. It is also famous for its caves and alleys between the rocks and therefore it has become one of the most famous nature sites in the Arabian Gulf region. The caves of the mountain are known to be cool in the summer and warm in the winter. 
In between Abqaiq and Hofuf
Hofuf - some directions are written in Arabic only
Hofuf is undergoing rapid development. Including the development of this excellent road that connect northern Hofuf to Dammam-Riyadh Highway
...and consequently - at that time - road closure, road diversion are common in Hofuf, making driving a bit stressful
Road in front of Jabal Al Qarah - Hofuf
Road to Jabal Al Qarah passing fertile date plam area with unique irrigation system (see left side of picture)
View from Jabal Al Qarah
Jabal Al Qarah
…and this wrapped up our visit to Bahrain and Eastern Saudi.
Our drive home to Qatar was accompanied by little sand storm

Bahrain – Day 2 Part 2

[Well…this is not so up to date but Bahrain’s travelogues are not complete yet, hence this post]

21 December 2010. Bahrain Day 2 Part 2 covers Bab Al Bahrain, Al Khamis Mosque, Bahrain National Museum, Al Fateh Corniche, Bait Al Quran & La Fontaine.

25. Bab Al Bahrain

From Wikipedia: Bab Al Bahrain (Arabic: باب البحرين‎, Bāb al-Baḥrayn) means Gateway of Bahrain. It is located in the Customs Square in Manama’s former central business district (CBD) and marks the main entrance to the Manama souq. Designed by Sir Charles Belgrave, adviser to the Emir and completed in 1945, Bab Al Bahrain once stood close to the water’s edge. Due to extensive land reclamation in the later years, one needs to walk more than 10 minutes to get to the sea.

Government Avenue, which runs alongside Bab Al Bahrain, and the new highway that leads to the causeway to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were built on reclaimed land. The monument itself was refurbished in 1986 to incorporate Islamic architectural features. Today, the ground floor now houses the tourist information office and a handicrafts shop. The monument essentially consists of a huge arch, below which runs a road, which is often referred to as the entrance to the Manama souq (marketplace).

Government Avenue, which runs in front of Bab Al Bahrain, contains many major banks and business establishments. Government Avenue is so named because the entire offices of the Bahrain government were once housed in the Bab.

As in any other old city, finding a parking spot is a challenge. I secured a parking spot just around the curve road after taxi stand in front of Bab Al Bahrain.

Bab Al Bahrain
26. Al Khamis Mosque 
The Khamis Mosque (Arabic: مسجد الخميس‎; transliterated: Masjid al-Khamys) is believed to be the first mosque in Bahrain, built during the era of the Umayyad caliph Umar II (the foundation of this mosque is believed to have been laid as early as 692 AD) . The mosque is located at Shaikh Salman Road in Khamis. It is considered to be one of the oldest relics of Islam.
At the time of visit (and as we came to know later from National Museum), the mosque is undergoing renovation work that includes visitor center and beautiful garden. No entrance fee but we gave some tips to the mosque keeper there as nice gesture. You will be asked to  fill-in a visitor book.
Al Khamis Mosque
Al Khamis Mosque
27. Pearl Monument
From Al Khamis Mosque we were heading to Bahrain National Museum, passing this well-known landmark: Pearl Monument. The monument and its roundabout is located in the heart of the capital Manama and is surrounded by the Bahrain Central Market, Marina, Pearl and City Center Roundabout as well the Abraj Al Lulu (Pearl Towers) apartment complex. The Pearl Monument erected in 1982 on the occasion of the third summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which was hosted by Bahrain for the first time in Manama on November 9-11 of that year.
Unfortunately though the site was destroyed three months later on March 18, 2011, by government forces as part of a crackdown against the 2011 Bahraini protests.
Pearl Monument in Manama. On March 18, 2011 government destroyed the monument as part of a crackdown against 2011 Bahraini protest
Strolling Manama's main artery; Financial Harbour on the background
28. Bahrain National Museum
I recommend Bahrain National Museum is your must-visit in Bahrain, regardless your age or purpose of visit.
Situated at the junction of Al-Fatih Highway and Shaikh Hamad Bridge leading to Muharraq, the Museum was officially opened in December 1988. The Museum consists of several exhibition halls covering the history of Bahrain from the stone age, through ancient civilizations and up to the pre-oil period.
The museum complex consists of two buildings with a total area of 27,800 square meters. The building contains the original nine major galleries, educational hall, gift shop and a cafeteria, in addition to administrative offices, laboratories and warehouses for the Conservation of holdings and parking.
Gift Shop at the ground floor of the museum is a must if you need to bring quality souvenirs.
I’d recommend that you visit the museum during your earliest opportunity once arrive in Bahrain. The main large hall at the ground floor with super-size satellite map projected/pasted on the floor is really a good navigation tool to understand many Bahrain’s point of interest and their location. A clever interactive guide light will direct you the object repsective location on the satellite map.
Not to be missed are a hall featuring graves and mounds and diorama of daily life of Bahrainis.
Entrance to Bahrain National Museum
Bahrain National Museum: superlarge map pasted on the main hall floor help visitors locating Bahrain's main historical sites and tourism objects
Displays of Bahrain daily life are so helpful in understanding them
Real-size burial in variety are also displayed. Shown here the large Saar burial mounds
Coordinate: 26.2415°N 50.5975°E
29. Al Fateh Corniche
This corniche is located just before Bahrain National Museum if you’re driving on Al Fath Highway. Nothing special though in here. This pleasant seaside promenade offers good views of the skyscrapers to the south and planes taking off from the airport nearby. Plenty of fun fair rides for the kids and shisha bars for the older set.
A monument in Al Fateh Corniche
30. Beit Al Quran
Beit Al Qur’an (Arabic: بيت القرآن‎, meaning: the House of Qur’an) is an Islamic museum at Hoora. The museum was built to accommodate a comprehensive and valuable collection of the Qur’an and rare manuscripts. All visitors are welcome, and the complex comprises a mosque, a library, an auditorium, a school, and museum consisting of ten exhibition halls. This great institution and its museum house an internationally celebrated collection of historic Quranic manuscripts from various parts of the Islamic world, from China in the East to Spain in the West, representing a progression of calligraphic traditions from the first century of the Islamic era to the present day (Wikipedia)
The hall is located upstairs. No entrance fee but donation is expected. Also no photography allowed.
Beit Al Qur'an
31. La Fontaine Center of Contemporary Art
 This cultural oasis is tucked away in Hoora, close to the old souq. It is an historical monument dating back to a hundred and fifty years. The centre is the only one of its kind throughout the Middle East, revered by all as a masterpiece of architectural and artistic glory, which makes it a special haven for architectural connoisseurs. The property, belonging to the Alireza family, is very unique as it captures the grand essence of a European chateau, while retaining the charm of the fine, authentic Gulf Islamic architecture. It has been completely restored and renovated by French artist Jean Marc Sinan, who transformed a beautiful residential house into a distinctive, exceptional centre for art and leisure enthusiasts alike.It features a number of contemporary art galleries, an open-air amphitheatre, an exquisite fine dining restaurant, an exclusive spa, and a state-of-the-art Pilates & Dance Studio, the first of its kind in the Gulf region. (from its official website)
La Fontaine Center of Contemporary Arts
…and this ended our short trip to Bahrain. As we drove along the causeway to Dammam, we looked back our two-day jam-packed visit to Bahrain with nice memories. Maasalama Bahrain!
Maasalama Bahrain! See you next time
Next: Eastern Saudi: Damam and Hofuf