Last 60 with my 50 – Fanateer

Fanateer is the residential area of Jubail under direct control of the Royal Commission: those guys did a great job and created a very nice place that has nothing to do with the center of Jubail: Fanateer is clean, well designed, green and blue during the days with a fantastic beach, shops, restaurants and bars. Today it’s in much better shape than 3 years ago when me and Mario, just arrived, were used to walk its streets still under construction skipping holes and concrete to reach one of the few spots where you could have a decent dinner.

How does Fanateer look like through the 50mm lens and 3 years after: judge for yourself. We gathered at the Karan hotel a very selected team: Marta, Mario, Omar and myself we went through the glimmers of Fanateer right the night before Ramadan starts.

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Yeah I know that Omar looks particularly happy tonight: maybe it’s the 50mm or maybe something else, who knows. The time for a quick round of karak and we are ready to go.

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The Caravella is just one of the many new restaurant that opened recently: good italian food (an Italian won’t ever say ‘fantastic italian food’ unless it’s his mother the cook) and very nice design and atmosphere.

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To start and get used to Tex-Mex we chose Chili’s: Ramadan lights and decorations make it look better than ever.

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The Corniche is busy at this time of the evening: families play on the grass, people walk up and down, kids play soccer and adults talk and relax in preparation for the week-end and, most importantly, for the Ramadan. Weather is great: a shirt is all you need to feel good.

How is all this distant from the Fanateer we saw at the beginning, when just landed in the Kingdom? 3 years that seem to me like 3000.

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Last 60 with my 50 – The Compound

Here we go with the first part of ‘Last 60 with my 50’: a mini-project on our last 2 months in Saudi Arabia. Let’s start checking how the compound looks through the eye of my new 50mm.

For a Westerner Expat the Compound is a piece of Europe, or US, in the Kingdom. With  few exceptions, whatever you can do in your home country you can do in your Compound as well: this is not a negligible thing in a place where most of the things we are used to are either not perceived as important, therefore not available, or sometimes forbidden.

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Since November 2014 when I first joined, the compound itself has been structurally improved and now, while still under construction,  the whole place has a cozier aspect compared to the first times… 3 years, a lot of water under the bridge and so many changes.

Let’s go around the compound and capture the 3 biggest changes that attract my attention now!

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1. The Restaurant and the folks running it

The job done by this man here is amazing: now the Compound has a restaurant and he’s running it with his team in a professional way that you just don’t find  in this part of town!  We still remember with a laugh the inauguration dinner just before he and his right hand man joined in and turned the place inside out: well we don’t know all the story behind but it’s clear how much passion and sacrifice he’s been throwing in!

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2. Green

It’s not a mistery: I am missing the green of Italy above many other things I left back home. Our compound is designed like a square city-block rather than a classic compound such as the Aramco in Dahran or the Canary and Las Dunas in Khobar. There, in those other compounds, landscaping and layout of the various facilities allow for your eye to wander freely and grass and trees are everywhere. Here, on the contrary, blocks of apartments and villas are adjacent one to the other and no space for private gardens and patios have been left. Too bad.

Now there’s an ongoing effort to bring in some green: of course there’s not much they can do as the design was screwed and the construction has been completed but some plants and flowers are giving this place a much better look than what it had in 2014.

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3. People

The plates of the houses turn into tar under the strokes of a fiery sun. Time flies and everything changes: we see many houses, once belonging to friends of us, now empty since their owners have returned back to Europe or US. It’s just a matter of time and a new family will be here bringing life, colors, gaggle of kids and laughs.

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That’s it for the Compound: now it’s time to focus the lens on something different as days are running fast and soon all this great adventure in Saudi will be just a memory…and this blog!

 

It’s Over! – E’ Finita!

Our adventure in Saudi Arabia is coming to an end and we are already thinking at what soon will be our new home. We see everywhere signs that send our minds to the USA and we have a list of friends met here that will be our neighbors in Houston, once we will be there. Soon, very soon!

We have 60 days, to capture how we see KSA after being here for 3 great years. I will shoot with my 50mm only and this will be my mini-project before starting a new fantastic adventure!

La nostra avventura in Arabia Saudita sta per terminare e noi stiamo già pensando a quella che tra poco sarà la nosta nuova casa. Vediamo ovunque segni che spingono la nostra immaginazione verso gli Stati Uniti ed abbiamo una lista di amici conosciuti qui e che saranno nostri ‘vicini di casa’ a Houston, una volta che ci saremo trasferiti. Presto, molto presto!

Abbiamo 60 giorni per catturare L’Arabia SAudita come la vediamo dopo averci vissuto 3 anni bellissimi. Scatterò solo col 50mm e questo sarà il mio mini-progetto prima di iniziare una nuova fantastica avventura!