Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia / Doha, Qatar

PHOTOS
 
White, black and brown camels are often along the highways we travel through the Arabian desert.

The first commercial oil production in Saudi Arabia took place in 1938 and since then Aramco has produced more than 50 billion barrels of crude oil. The Aramco Exhibit tells the story of oil exploration in the oil-rich country and offers a Terrescope, where visitors ‘travel’ 2400 meters underground to experience an oil well.


 
Saudi Aramco Exhibit, one of the best museums we've visited since Europe, offers Middle Eastern and Islamic history and culture, plus interactive explanations on the oil and gas industries. No entry fee.

The King Fahd Causeway, a 25-kilometer, six-lane bridge linking Dammam and Bahrain, has two million vehicles crossing yearly since opening in 1986.


 
 
PAIGE'S NOTES
 
25 November 2000 – In our hotel, non-Muslims may consume alcoholic beverages, but beer, wine or spirits cannot be delivered to the room to accompany food and alcohol is not sold in any of the restaurants. Booze is only sold in the smoky, dark bar, where food is not served and scantily clad, young women ‘entertain’ singing out-of-date tunes to a packed audience of middle-aged men and a lone woman besides me.

More contradictions: Waitresses, although not Muslim, in the hotel restaurant wear short skirts above their knees and the women singing in the bar sport extremely tight, short skirts, tiny tops and ultra-high heeled shoes. Muslim women are to be concealed and are not to attract attention or flatter themselves according to Sharia. Yet many wear heavy makeup, massive amounts of shiny 22-karat gold jewelry and sometimes even tight, trendy clothes under their abaya. When not in public, many Muslim women dispose of their abayas and look just like the much criticized and tainted women of the West. How long will these contradictions coexist?

 
VIDEO
 

AUDIO
 
  Bars in Qatar (Paige)
  Border crossing (Jim)
  ‘Not in Africa anymore’ (Jim)
  Ramadan (Jim)
  Gyms in Egypt and Saudi Arabia (Jim)