Time is Sacred

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By Nourah Al Khunaini

Learn the art of time management during Ramadan.


Between fewer working hours, needing more time for worship and trying to keep up with the overflowing social calendar, it’s no surprise that time becomes the most valuable (and scarce) resource during Ramadan.

Use the following tips to get a handle on your time this holy month:

Set goals for yourself and make them clear:
Be specific about what you want to achieve. Break your goals down into digestible steps to make it easier for you to accomplish.

Plan your day in advance:
Allocate time for your personal goals, work and spirituality. Keeping a planner can definitely help.

  • Try to work on tasks that need a lot of focus and concentration early because that’s when you have the most energy.
  • Take advantage of the early hours of the day when you’re up for suhoor. Might as well use your time efficiently.

Plan your meals:
Write down what you want to make for each day of the week. If you can prepare for the meal a day before, do it.

Three things to avoid:
Procrastination, multi-tasking and complex recipes. All you’ll end up with is a lot of stress, very little productivity and a lingering sense of being overwhelmed. Who wants that while they’re fasting?

Don’t pass up suhoor:
Skipping it is only going to punish your future self the next day with zero energy and a lot more stress.

Prioritize and sacrifice:
You’ll have to sacrifice some of your usual activities in Ramadan. Figure out your priorities and find the balance that works for you.

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Simply Suhoor

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By Zonaira Chaudry

Go-to guide for a quick and easy suhoor.


What’s one of your worst fears in Ramadan? If you’re like us, it’s not waking up for suhoor or just waking up five minutes before dawn with no time to prepare something to eat. Well, here are a few quick, power food ideas for your next fuss-free scrumptious and fulfilling suhoor:simplysuhoor_khobar_2017_aa-2

Oatmeal:

Oatmeal, being low in fat and a rich in fiber is a quick and healthy choice before fasting. You can make it the evening before, store it in the fridge and heat it when required. For extra taste and texture, add some berries or nuts on top. You can also opt for Instant oatmeal; just mix it with some milk, heat it and it’s ready!

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Eggs:

A favorite breakfast, eggs are an inexpensive and nutritious alternative that can be made in a variety of ways. From omelets to scrambled and hard-boiled to sunny side up, the choice is yours. Eat it alone or pair it with some leftover salad for a yummy, healthy and smart meal.

Pro tip: Boil eggs the previous night for a super fast option.

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Mezze:

Middle Eastern mezze is famous all over the world. When you’re pressed for time, this is an excellent alternative for suhoor that lets you avoid any cooking stress. Enjoy humus, labnah with olives and pita bread and you are good to go.

If you don’t mind a very quick bout of cooking, toss in some foul for the full mezze experience.

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Peanut Butter:

This healthy fat makes for an amazingly quick and easy meal. Spread two tablespoons of peanut butter on whole wheat bread and garnish it with some sliced bananas, apples or strawberries. A mouthful of deliciousness and satisfaction guaranteed for an entire day. What more could anyone want?

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Yoghurt:

A favorite tried and true pre-dawn meal. It’ll keep you energized and full throughout the day. Eat it on its own or chop in some fruit or dates for an enhanced tangy taste! If all else fails, there is always flavored yoghurt to turn to.

Happy suhooring!

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Sharing is Caring

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By Lamies Ali

DS-recommended Eid gifts guide.


For the auntie you’re visiting:

You’re in the Arab world, you can’t show up to someone’s house empty-handed! Kahraman Dates are the perfect go-to gift, striking the right balance between traditional and modern.

Mob: +966-539344566
Web: khramandates.com
Instagram: kahraman_dates

For the woman that deserves some pampering:

We all have a sister, mom or friend who needs a break. Well, Treat Nail & Hair Spa now offers gift vouchers! It’s good for the body and soul.

Location: Sihamiya Tower, Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Rd., Khobar
Mob: +966-503837838
Instagram: treat_sa

4For the flower princess:

This person is too cute and sweet to get a plainly-wrapped gift. Make the gift extra special by stopping at Jau’s Flowers and asking them to do their wrapping magic.

Location: Firas ibn Al Nudur St., Khobar
Tel: +966-13-8949096
Mob: +966-538578018
Instagram: Jau_flowers


dressFor the fashion rebel:

Drastic laces, unexpected cutouts and statement pieces. If you know someone with this style, then the only place to find their gifts is OZ Closet. There’s something for every body type.

Location: Khobar Mall (Gate 8), King Fahd Rd., Khobar
Mob: +966541969109
Instagram: theozsisters
Snapchat: ozsisters

For the kid at heart:

Sure, most of us grow out of loving dolls, but thankfully there are still those, like Aisha, that are looking out for the rest of us. Aisha takes custom orders, right down to the clothing and hairstyle.

Location: Dammam
Whatsapp: +966-598698400
Instagram: creative_work_shop
Snapchat: Aish-MAY

For a good cause:

Trahum is a committee which rehabilitates prisoners and released prisoners, as well as helps their families. One of its projects is a booth in Al Rashid Mall that sells gorgeous handmade products made by some inmates or their families.

Location: Al Rashid Mall (2nd floor – Next to Paris Gallery), Firas ibn Al Nudur St., Khobar
Tel: +966-13-8115250
Web: trahum.org
Email: info@trahum.org

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Ramadan Across Borders

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By Zonaira Chaudhary

Unity through drums, lanterns and bathing.


Muslims around the world are celebrating the most awaited month of the Islamic Calendar. Thanks to the multitude of cultures that observe Ramadan, the spirit of enthusiasm, generosity and spirituality comes out in the most beautiful and unique ways. Ramadan rituals around the globe (from the exotic islands of Thailand to the ancient civilization of Egypt) still embody a sense of unity across any cultural differences between the Muslim populace.

Thailand

thailand-source-photo-www-traitstimes-comA popular tourist destination, Muslims form the second largest religious group of this Southeast Asian country. Thai Muslims raise money all year round in each city or village to construct a new mosque during Ramadan. Another interesting custom is that Thai Muslim families offer sacrifices on the first day to mark the beginning of this auspicious month.

Indonesia

indonesia-balimauIndonesia, the world’s largest island country, is also home to the world’s largest Muslim population. To greet the holy month, Muslims perform bathing rituals known as Balimau or Padusan in the River Kawung, the Kalianda Sea, as well as various springs, believing that it will purify them before they start fasting.

The word Balimau is from the Minangkabau language, literally meaning “bathe with shampoo”. To continue the ancestral ritual, straw or rice-straw ash is used for shampooing, while other areas use limes to bathe with. The ceremony starts in the afternoon and ends at sundown (maghrib time).

Egypt

hurghada_main_street_of_the_bazaar_in_el_dahar_at_night_during_ramadan_egypt_oct_2004The famous traditional lanterns that are lit all over the land of the Nile during Ramadan is a vibrant sight. The tradition dates back to the year 969 when the Egyptians greeted Fatimid Caliph Al Mu’izz li-Din Allah in Cairo by lighting lanterns. A few decades later, the Caliph Al Hakim bi-Amr Allah wanted the streets of Cairo to be well illuminated with these lanterns, a custom which has continued for over a thousand years. Even now, young children can be seen carrying colorful lanterns and singing songs in the street.

Turkey

turkey-36-wordpress-comTurkey is an Islamic country filled with diverse ethnic traditions. An old Ramadan custom is to wake up Muslims for suhoor by beating drums before the dawn prayers. The drummers are dressed in Ottoman costumes as the tradition traces back to that empire.

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Reforming Saudi Women’s Sports

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Women’s health takes center stage in Khobar forum.


Under the patronage of Princess Reema bint Bandar, Vice President of Women’s Affairs of the General Authority of Sports, the first Women’s Health Forum took place in Khobar March 23-24.

The forum, which was organized by Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Women Development Fund (PSFW), aimed to encourage women sports, raise awareness toward adopting healthy life habits and create more opportunities for physical fitness in Saudi Arabia.

“On this day, we are proud of the achievements of Saudi women in all fields, including sports,” said Hana Alzuhair, Executive Vice President at PSFW. “However, we pay special attention to sports as it’s so important for the wellbeing, health and fitness of women. The great impact of this on future generations is unmeasurable.”wowevent_khobar_2017_aa-3

The forum included several sessions, the first of which, The Concept of Women’s Health in the Gulf Region, hosted five leading women who are pioneers in the field of sports and fitness from all GCC countries. They discussed the challenges they faced regarding women’s sports in their countries, how they overcame them and what potential partnerships can be implemented to provide the best possible environment for Saudi women.

The second session, titled International Olympics, included three female champions: Mariam bin Laden, a Saudi swimmer; Luna Al Omair, a Saudi fencer; and Balsam Al Ayoub, a Kuwaiti fencer. They discussed previous Saudi participations at the Olympics, the importance of these participations and the impact of this on our societies.wowevent_khobar_2017_aa-4

The third session, Investment Opportunities in The Sports and Athletic Fields, was led by Princess Mashael bint Mohammed, founder of The Empowerment Center; and Sheikha Shamsa Al Maktoum, President of the UAE National Olympic Committee for Women’s Sports. They addressed investment opportunities in the Saudi market, how to encourage investment in this field and how to sustain development.

The final session was a special talk on happiness and positivity that was given by Sheikha Intisar Alsabah, Chairperson of Al Nuwair Positive Initiative (NPI). She discussed the effect of sports on people’s attitudes and lives.

The second day of the forum comprised of workshops in sports, health, entertainment and nutrition, as well as educational activities for kids and people with disabilities.wowevent_khobar_2017_aa-7

The Women’s Health Forum is of special importance as it marks a major reformation of the Saudi sport world. It marks the beginning of granting licenses and creating female-only gyms, when previously women’s gyms only operated unofficially under salon and spa licenses.

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Food Truck Fever

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Delicious food roams the streets of Sharqiya.


Back in the day, the only “food truck” we’d see around our neighborhood was the ice cream truck (if we were lucky). Now these trucks are all the rage and come bearing all kinds of decadent goodness. From burgers to waffles, we’ve rounded up a list of our favorite food trucks.

Make sure you visit the trucks’ Instagram account to know where they’re usually located.

Carnival

Like what its name suggests, Carnival is all about the delicacies you’d find at carnivals, such as waffles, crepes and ice cream. Our personal favorite is their churros. We can’t get enough!

Instagram: carnivaltruck

Code Truck

With Code Truck, you’ll find a selection of sandwiches, burgers and fresh cut fries. Everyone has been drooling over their mouthwatering grilled cheese and mushroom sandwich.

Instagram: code.ers

EAT Truck

With its selection of burgers, fries and shakes, you can think of EAT Truck as your portable diner. Our personal favorite is their classic burger with their special sauce. Filling in the best way possible!

Instagram: eatburgertruck

Pin Burger

This food truck is one of the first to grace our streets and they’re still going strong. Their patties are a delight for carnivores, topped with caramelized onions that make us come back for more any chance we get.

Instagram: pinburger

Rajo Karak

Rajo’s food truck is the new kid on the block and we’re in love with it! Their main attraction is Karak tea, with an array of yummy goodness such as chapatti.

Instagram: rajokarak

Wabel

wable_khobar_2017_aa-1What attracted us to the Wabel food truck is their brightly-painted exterior, depicting landmarks from our beloved Sharqiya. Their menu also consists of burgers that get our seal of approval.

Instagram: wabel_sa

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The Rhumba Revolution

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Dancing your way to a fitter life.


Rumba is a physical exercise discipline born out of South America and is currently enjoyed all over the world. Its popularity stems from its flexible nature, where all the practitioner has to do is enjoy the music and have fun with dancing.fitnesspick_khobar_2017_aa-2

Benefits of Rumba

  • It has a pain-relieving effect on the nervous system, pumping you full of endorphins that leave you feeling happy and satisfied.
  • It alleviates stress and helps you feel more relaxed.
  • It increases your energy, making you feel invigorated and ready to take on the world.

fitnesspick_khobar_2017_aa-4Due to the variety of movements in this exercise, it increases your body’s flexibility, tones your muscles and sheds off your fat.

The difference between Rumba and many other physical exercise routines is that you don’t need weights or accessories to do it; all you need is a little music, a little creativity and a lot of fun as you bust out those dance moves.fitnesspick_khobar_2017_aa-6

For the best experience, use a room with wood flooring, a decent sound system, and a playlist of your favorite music for an hour.

If you’re a beginner, we advise that you start with basic moves until you achieve better flexibility and increase your cardiovascular and pulmonary strength.

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Bussing Around Bahrain

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By Ahmed Almulla

Exploring Bahrain on a public bus.


This is for all you public transportation aficionados out there, as well as transit visitors that want to explore Bahrain for the day.

Starting early morning from Bahrain International Airport, I rode the bus that takes you to Muharraq Terminal for a 300-fils single ticket. At the terminal, you can get a Go-Card with a full-day pass for an additional cost of BHD 1.100.

Leaving Muharraq Terminal, I took the bus to my first stop, Manama Souq, reaching there within 12 minutes. Then it’s only a couple of minutes’ walk to Haji Café (Gahwa) where I had breakfast. This place is more than 60 years old and serves all kinds of Bahraini foods; I ordered a traditional eggs and tomato dish along with tea with milk (Chai Haleeb). This came down to only 800 fils and it was delicious and filling, especially since the dish comes with a couple of complementary Naan breads. Orders are usually served fast at this place so don’t expect to spend more than 15 minutes here.img_0371

Leaving Haji Café, you can take a walk around the traditional souq market nearby, beginning from the Bahraini landmark, Bab Al Bahrain and going all the way up to Gold City and beyond. Here you can shop for all kinds of souvenirs, spices, sweets, electronics and clothing.

Next, I headed to Beit Al Quran in Hoora, arriving there within five minutes and walking for about half a kilometer. Entry at Beit Al Quran is free of charge but people are encouraged to donate in support of the museum. It hosts some of the most valuable Islamic art collections and Quranic manuscripts that go back for centuries, showcasing some beautiful calligraphy from across the ages. Expect to spend about an hour here.

Next stop on my bus route? City Centre Mall. This took me around 40 minutes. The mall experience is pretty self-explanatory; cafes and shopping, cinemas and restaurants.bab-al-bahrain

Bahrain is rich with history, so for my next stop I chose to go to Khamis Mosque, which is the oldest mosque in Bahrain. To reach there, I took a 20-minute bus ride from City Centre Mall to Manama Bus Station, then switched to another bus that took me to Khamis Mosque in about 20 more minutes. Khamis Mosque is a heritage site that’s free to explore and I encourage you to soak in the history and culture of this location.

I soon after made my way back to Muharraq Terminal by taking a bus to Ras Rumman, which took 25 minutes, followed by a 10-minute ride to Muharraq Bus Station. There’s a lovely spot here, Al Rayyan Café, which serves an excellent Machboos Hamour or Safi dish until 5 p.m. (cost is between BHD 1.5-2.5). I also recommend checking out Halwa Showaiter, a shop that specializes in traditional Bahraini sweets (get a box of mixed delights for BHD 2-3).

I made my final leg back to the airport in 10 minutes. The entire journey was convenient, affordable and, above all else, enjoyable. Highly recommended for all tourists.

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Spotlight: Short Saudi Film

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By Rawan Nasser

Newly produced “Tongue,” screened at the Saudi Film Festival.


We sat down with the film’s young director, Mohammed Al Salman, to learn more about the process of creating a film and what this creative outlet means to him.

As a 26 year-old graduate of KFUPM and Colorado School of Mines, Mohammad Al Salman has shifted his career from electrical engineering to the risky business of making films, a passion that grew with him from a young age.

Where did your journey start with filmmaking and what was the first film you worked on?
I joined a student-run art club while I was studying at KFUPM. We were a group of like-minded people that explored many forms of art such as music and theater. The first production I worked on was a short film that shed light on traditional craftsmen in Saudi.lesan-film-20

What can you tell us about your second film?
The story of “Tongue” revolves around a simple farmer who is battling a number of issues and finds himself being led down a path that puts him face to face with his darkest fears.

The film was shot over a period of five days and we focused predominantly on the visuals and presenting a new, authentic experience for the viewers.frame-from-the-film

Where did the idea for the film come from?
I was visiting a farm in Al Ahsa and the beauty of the area captured my imagination. I knew I wanted to film something there. I had been interested in cults at the time, the anthropology of magic to be more precise. The history of magic in different cultures fascinated me and I decided to explore this topic through film.

What was the significance of the location in the film?
We wanted to capture a certain time in our history, when life was simple and people weren’t as distracted as they are today. We shot many scenes outdoors because there were lots of captivating elements: a randomness that only nature is able to produce.lesan-film-5

Isnt magic a controversial topic to delve into?
We are presenting it as a dark comedy. Besides, this is a topic that we often discuss in society. In any family gathering you will find people reciting stories about scary incidents that they swear happened, while others think it’s nonsense. The purpose of the film is to reflect a piece of our culture, to pose a question and let the audience answer it for themselves.

“I was fortunate to have a passionate and hard-working crew, without their creativity and hard work this film would have never seen the light of day.” – Mohammed Al Salman

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Hidden Side of Bahrain

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By Ahmed Almulla

Check out the island’s surprising spots.


There are many hidden gems in Bahrain that I love exploring and sharing with others. Not your typical fare, but rather out of the way spots that each offer their own unique experience.

img_0134Farm Life

I began my exploration with this beautiful farm that’s located just behind Bahrain Fort in Karbabad, growing everything from cabbages and potatoes to onions and more. The farm is publicly accessible with no entry fees and you can witness firsthand the hard work that farmers endure to harvest the land. You can also get some fresh vegetables and fruits from one of the booths located in front of the farm. Sunsets are especially magical and you can use the opportunity to even do some horse-riding if you want.img_0184

Opposite the farm is a seaside village called Karrana with a spectacular view of the whole city of Manama. Don’t pass up some of the local street food, including the highly recommended harees.

Forest Fun

img_0231On another day, I explored the Ras Sanad Mangrove Forest. Although the site is in dire need for more attention, it was an excellent place to experience some solitude and serenity. The site is accessible to the public and there are no marked signs but you can easily find the location on the map. Once there, you’ll marvel at the giant mangroves that run across a small water spring in the middle of nowhere. Up ahead in the distance, there is an old mosque and a few farms that make this place a perfect spot to enjoy a peaceful sunset.

Bays and Lagoons

img_0312Finally, I want to share with you the wonders of Bahrain’s natural reserves. First up, there’s Tubli Bay. Here you can appreciate the beauty of the sea and enjoy some very underrated birdwatching. Seagulls, flamingos and so much more to watch and pass the time in nature. Another excellent natural reserve is Dohat Arad Lagoon and it is open to public for free at all times. Here you can enjoy a lovely time with the family or get some exercise in by walking their rounded 3km pathways.img_0325

Bahrain is such a beautiful place to be, and exploring these hidden gems has its own rewards. For me, it was the solitude and the sense of appreciation to the surrounding environment. This experience is invaluable and I recommend all readers to try it!img_0319

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