My thought processes when I was considering my placement in Saudi Arabia was multi-faceted for sure. I had to think about many aspects of the impacts on my professional, social, physical life. One of the elements that was not lost was the strategic location Saudi Arabia would afford me for my plan of visiting the world.
This trip has taught me a huge amount in many areas. One of these areas is international traveling. For the longest time, I did not know what the difference between a visa and a passport was. I just assumed, once I get a passport, I could go wherever I want. Au contraire. We had to be sponsored and apply for an invitation to come work in Saudi Arabia. Once here, part of our visa requires us to leave the country every 30 days. This requirement can actually be a fun getaway. With Bahrain just 55 km away, this is most obvious answer.
A couple weeks back, the crew got excited, packed and headed out to explore Bahrain. Well, we didn’t realize the process that is the King Fahd Causeway. 3 hours and 250 SAR later, we were all back in Khobar eating an early dinner trying to figure out what went wrong.
We made some adjustments and found a new driver then tried for a second time. This time, we made it in, but on our way back, there was some confusion, and we did not receive our stamp. This meant that we had to try one more time.
Ali and I decided to skip the morning traffic and head over on a Saturday night. This was we could visit the Visa and Passport offices first thing Sunday Morning. (Work weeks here are Sun – Thur).
We booked our room at the Crowne Plaza and hoped for the best. The traffic was lighter than expected. Once we made it, we came to a city that was what I imagined this whole trip would be like. Distinctly Middle Eastern with some awesome modern sites.
The architecture was great. After checking into the hotel, we asked the hotel if there was a rooftop we could go to for pictures.
From there we decided to check out a local mall. In Saudi Arabia, this is the big social event to do. The mall we went to, Moda Mall, was ridiculous by American standards: Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Dior, IWC, this place would have fit in near SMU.
We headed back to the hotel, then got ready for dinner. One of the other members of the Crushing It Crew had suggested we check out The Meat Co.
This was a perfect suggestion. The food was immaculate. We both had the boneless short rib. #Delicious
After dinner, we wandered around and hit some other nightlife spots.
Taking Care of Business
We woke up Sunday and hit the road. By the time we got to the Pakistani Embassy, there was already a line forming… actually it was a crowd or a pack. Inside, Ali worked with the officials to understand his Visa problems. Ultimately, they informed us that we needed to go to the Passport and Visa building.
After multiple floors and different desks, talking to many people who seemingly contradicted themselves, we got the answers we needed. It was now time to grab breakfast and head back to Saudi for work.
Breakfast in Bahrain was great… and they served pork…. mmm Bacon.
We made it back quickly and safely and were able to still put in some work. Ultimately, it is nice to have something so close. One of my best friends from high school is moving there in 5 weeks, and I am stoked. I look forward to many more trips to Bahrain.
I will post more of the pictures in a subsequent posting. But this trip has helped grow my understanding of world travel. I am loving everything I am learning. I really hope anyone who wants to, is able to travel and see the world.
Until next time.