Blog Posts

Featured

New Site!

‘You kinda have to go were the oil is’ Lee Raymond, CEO ExxonMobile

161118_IMG_0373

It was in the air: the old Blogger site showed its limits. Let the new site be!

I will leave on Blogger the 365 Day Photography project: it’s been fun and many pictures and nice moments are there. On this new platform I will write, from time to time, about my experience as an Italian in KSA and as a friend of KSA when I am back to Italy for vacations.

Photography will be either the subject and sometimes an excuse, the Kingdom and other Gulf Countries the main playground, our friends and the people we meet will be the actors.

Follow me, comment my posts if you like, send me questions and suggestions: this new adventure is just starting!

Era nell’aria: il vecchio sito sviluppato con Blogger iniziava a mostrare la corda. E nuovo sito sia! Lascio su Blogger il progetto fotografico 365 foto: è stato divertente e ci sono molte foto e momenti belli. Su questa nuova piattaforma voglio scrivere la mia esperienza di Italiano in Arabia Saudita ma anche quella di amico dell’Arabia Saudita quando rientro in Italia per le vacanze.

La fotografia sarà molte volte il soggetto principale ma a volte potrà essere solo una scusa per scrivere. L’Arabia e gli altri Paesi del Golfo Persico saranno il teatro principale, i nostri amici e le persone che incontriamo saranno gli attori.

Seguitemi, commentate i miei post se avete voglia, mandatemi domande se suggerimenti: questa nuova avventura sta per iniziare! 

Hit the road in Houston – Iniziamo a Houston

Super urgent things have been taken care of: it’s time for some fun in Houston. We drive to downtown and from there we explore…move to the Menil Collection for an awesome afternoon then parked the car in Montrose: our playground for the evening. The plan is to walk down the road and see what’s there…

Le attività super urgenti sono state sistemate: è ora di divertirci un po’ a Houston. Facciamo un giro a downtown e da lì si parte in esplorazione… alla Menil Collection  passiamo un pomeriggio splendido e lasciamo la macchina in Montrose dove abbiamo deciso di passare la serata. Il piano è di muoverci a piedi e vedere cosa c’è…

171022_DSCF0742

Hugo’s is a rather upscale Mexican restaurant, nothing we’ve experienced before; there you don’t just eat tacos and echilladas like a regular tex-mex. It’s a creative and sophisticated restaurant really worth the trip from Clear Lake. We sat in the patio enjoying the warm evening and avoiding the crowd in the main room.

Hugo è un ristorante messicano di buon livello, non avevamo mai provato una cucina del genere prima d’ora; da Hugo non mangi solo i taco e l’enchillada, piatti comuni tex-mex che trovi ovunque. E’ un ristorante con cucina creativa e tendente al sofisticato che è valso il viaggio da Clear Lake. Ci siamo accomodati ai tavoli all’aperto sul retro evitando la confusione della sala principale e godendoci la temperatura mite della sera.

171022_DSCF0749

Enough for upscale stuff: it’s time to see what’s really out there. Best way to go: walking. Cameras in our hands and somehow the spirit we had while moving through the Souk in Jubail to take pictures….well maybe not the same places and faces. Still, here we feel again that we are foreigners…..(to be continued…of course…!)

Terminate le raffinatezze è ora di vedere cosa c’è là fuori e il modo migliore di farlo è camminando. Le macchine fotografiche in mano e quello spirito che avevamo nell’aggirarci tra il Souk di Jubail a far foto… certo i posti e le facce sono molto diversi ma qui, nuovamente, sentiamo che siamo stranieri….  (continua….ovviamente!!)   

171022_DSCF0765
All pictures; Fuji X-T1 , Fujinon 23mm f/1.4

It’s all about the Light

Some places are nothing special and rather ordinary, until the sun outside plays with the clouds and send in its best light of the day. Then even a ketchup bottle or a glass with ice calls for a picture.

Ci sono posti decisamente comuni che non hanno niente di speciale, finchè il sole là fuori non inzia a giocare con le nuvole e manda giù la sua migliore luce. Allora anche una bottiglia di ketchup o un bicchiere di ghiaccio chiedono di essere fotografati.   

 

171009_DSCF0471

171009_DSCF0479
Both pictures: Fuji X-T1 , Fujinon 35mm f/2

 

Transitions – Transizioni

Hectic times:  relocated twice, 4 different cities in 3 continents, indefinite number of flights, hotels, residence, permits, authorizations, vets, embassies, visa, a new job, holidays (!!!), works in progress in my garden: all this within a 2 months time-frame. Not much is left for my photography because the soul is restless and the background noise is too high. This page, ‘Transitions’, captures the pictures of these days: strong and meaningful images  and almost no common theme.

E’ il periodo di fuoco: 2 traslochi, 4 città diverse, innumerevoli voli, alberghi, residence, permessi, autorizzazioni, veterinari, ambasciate, visti, nuovo lavoro, vacanze (!!!): il tutto nel giro di 2 mesi scarsi. Per la fotografia rimane poco perchè l’animo non riposa ed il rumore di fondo è troppo alto. Questa pagina, Transizioni, cattura le immagini di questi giorni: foto intense e cariche anche se prive di un ordine e di un filo conduttore.

170627_DSCF9896

Coming back from Saudi our first stop is in Torino… hanging-out in the city center and good opportunity for street shots.

Il primo stop di rientro dall’Arabia è a Torino… giro in centro e qualche foto street.

170629_DSCF0006

Also Follonica is inspiring for a black and white, actually to picture Tuscany I prefer colors!

Anche Follonica offre spunti per il bianco/nero ma io per rendere la Toscana preferisco i colori!

170817_DSCF0268

170822_IMG_3502

170822_IMG_3505

Back to Follonica with our family and friends, August passed quickly and now the next change is waiting for us.

Ci siamo ritrovati a Follonica con la nostra famiglia ed i nostri amici, Agosto è passato veloce ed ora ci aspetta il prossimo cambiamento.

170603_DSCF9542.jpg

 

 

 

Going Home – 21 boxes

We packed all our belongings: 21 boxes, 300 kg ready to be shipped to Italy. Now just the original furniture provided by the Compound is left and Villa 23 doesn’t look as cozy and familiar as we were used to. Melinda and Augustina are excited by all the movement and changes but at the end of this day they fall exhausted just like us!

170613_DSCF9653

Just one task was left for the next three days: go somewhere at the  airport and obtain  the export permit for our cats from the official airport veterinary. The rule is easy: no export permit = no cats to Europe. Khalas. The office of the Airport Vet is in a mysterious location, rigorously uncharted, for which only vague indications exist and picturesque landmarks must be used. I’ve been lucky enough to receive rather accurate indications from an expat and then did a good job reaching a proximity point close enough to the right group of buildings. After that I surrendered to the Saudi hospitality of the Security guards: one of them escorted me to the office of the doctor, at that point things became a piece of cake and Melinda + Augustina were grant a future with us in Italy. We still didn’t know what a nightmare trip was waiting for us.

Our last three days at the compound ran smooth and we had a good time greeting our friends till the day of our departure came quickly: bye-bye Saken, hello Tuscany!

170613_DSCF9655.jpg

The Trip

We spent the last three years travelling to and from Saudi: we never experienced a single issue, delay, inconvenient. We paid our debt with the fate because everything converged onto this last trip: super-long crowd at the airport, Augustina became furious and literally destroyed the door of her cage (we fixed it with some wire but the risk of getting blocked at the airport in Germany was HUGE at that point if only the authorities had to object anything about the integrity of the cage…), Marta’s fingerprints somehow went missing from the Saudi Border systems and so the authorities sent us to an office crowded with more than 15 people in our same conditions…. all this just 10 minutes before the scheduled boarding time. A few other minor issues on the airplane such as crying babies sitting near to us, completed the panorama: Marta’s face below tells the story of the trip.

170618_DSCF9677.jpg

170618_DSCF9679.jpg

The hours pass and home gets closer, the last flight runs much smoother and we even manage to sleep. Landed in Rome just the time for a cappuccino (oh yes!!) and we are on the road to Follonica!!

170618_DSCF9697.jpg

Home sweet home!!

There we are! Almost 20 hours after leaving Saken we enter our house in Italy: open the cages and notice how our cats are just as happy as we are, even if for them is the very first time in their new home!

170619_DSCF9717.jpg

170619_DSCF9718

Mission completed: now it’s time to celebrate the start of this short vacation, recharge our batteries and get ready for the next move!

170618_DSCF9705.jpg

 

Last 60 with my 50 – Street Portraits

Let’s close the series of Saudi with the true protagonists of our adventure in the Kingdom: the people!

This is in fact more an exercise to win my shyness with one-on-one photography than a comprehensive collection of portraits of the people we’ve met. Below I have grouped the 8 portraits that close the mini-project ‘Last 60 with my 50’.

Portrait 1 – Mamun

170519_IMG_3006.jpg

Mamun, from Bangladesh. He is a taylor in Tabuk. In Saudi to work and sustain his family back in Dhaka.

Portrait 2 – Nizam

170505_IMG_2820.jpg

Nizam from Pakistan. He owns a pawnshop in Al Jubail where he arrived over 20 years ago. He sells many things, from statues to clocks and small jewels coming from almost any country in the middle-east.

Portrait 3 – Michail

170505_IMG_2829.jpg

Michail from Greece. In KSA since 1 year: he is a surgeon in Al Jubail.

Portrait 4 – Franco

170426_IMG_2636

Franco from Philippines, works in the maintenance department in our compound in Jubail. In KSA since 2 years: just like most of the workers his activity here in Saudi is providing sustenance to his whole family in the Philippines.

Portrait 5 – Asmeer

170427_IMG_2659.jpg

Asmeer from Amman, Jordania. Works as Telecommunication Engineer in Khobar and Al Jubail. In KSA since 15 years he’s living now in Al Khobar with his beautiful family.

Portrait 6 – Thamer

170427_IMG_2663

Thamer, from the Holy City of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. He’s a brilliant project engineer working in Al Jubail.

Portrait 7 – Ibrahim

170505_IMG_2772.jpg

Ibrahim, works as Assistant Manager at the Compound’s Restaurant. He is from Egypt and came to KSA 2 years ago.

Portrait 8 – Ahmed

170519_IMG_3011.jpg

Ahmed from Tabuk, Saudi Arabia. Ahmed works at a pop-corn booth to fund his studies.

Last 60 with my 50 – Street Portrait 8

Our adventure in Saudi Arabia ha come to an end and we are already thinking at what soon will be our new home. We have 60 days, to capture how we see KSA after being here for 3 great years. This portrait, shot with a 50mm, is part of my mini-project before starting a new fantastic adventure!

 

 

170519_IMG_3011.jpg

Ahmed from Tabuk, Saudi Arabia. Ahmed works at a pop-corn booth to fund his studies.

 

—++— DISCLAIMER –++–

No one of the models have been forced and none of these picture was ‘stolen’:  all the models were asked for the permission to take portrait. Moreover, I got the permission to post on my blog from each of them…should anyone change his mind at anytime in the future…just let me know!

Last 60 with my 50 – Street Portrait 7

Our adventure in Saudi Arabia is coming to an end and we are already thinking at what soon will be our new home. We have 60 days, to capture how we see KSA after being here for 3 great years. This portrait, shot with a 50mm, is part of my mini-project before starting a new fantastic adventure!

 

 

170505_IMG_2772.jpg

Ibrahim, works as Assistant Manager at the Compound’s Restaurant. He is from Egypt and came to KSA 2 years ago.

 

—++— DISCLAIMER –++–

No one of the models have been forced and none of these picture was ‘stolen’:  all the models were asked for the permission to take portrait. Moreover, I got the permission to post on my blog from each of them…should anyone change his mind at anytime in the future…just let me know!