While the visits back to Dhahran during my school breaks were temporary, the joy of comfort foods I enjoyed at the local spots in Dhahran was permanent — never could I forget the taste of my favorite Chicken Tikka Masala from Olive Garden-Tandoori House, and I still, to this day, seek that same taste whenever I order the dish at different restaurants.
Golf was the love of many Americans and it was no surprise to find that in Dhahran as well as some of the other larger Aramco communities, this sport had been catered for in some rudimentary fashion since the early days. Over the decades, the standard of the courses had gradually improved and areas of hitherto barren sand had undergone a remarkable degree of landscaping…… they were however still sand.
Back in 2017, we ran a series of articles featuring decorative hardhats that some Aramcons have been fortunate to count among their possessions. Recently, we received additional photographs from someone who obtained the hardhat in a storage auction purchase.
One of the many benefits of working for Aramco in the diving sense at least, was that we could freely use company aircraft to fly across the country to the Red Sea coast at Yanbu which, similar to the town of Jubail on the Gulf coast, had been transformed from a quiet fishing village into an industrial city with a deepwater port.
I first became intrigued with tents when I discovered a friend in Riyadh had a traditional Saudi tent in one of the rooms in his house! Like many of our homes in Kingdom, the rooms in his house were on the large size. With all that space, you need to be innovative in how to decorate, and he had decided to turn one room off the entry way into a tent.
We’re excited about being together for our Hafla 2022 Cruise Oct. 31-Nov. 5. Come join us! For our Hafla cruisers, it’s just four months until we see each other. Plan to arrive in Miami early to socialize and greet your friends. Some of us have already booked our rooms at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay...
With its headquarters in Dhahran, close to the shores of the Arabian Gulf, the company had its own private beach and yacht club at Half Moon Bay. Entry to the beach was restricted to employees and their families, while membership of the yacht club was dependent upon owning a registered boat.
There’s a reason why groups and associations rooted in overcoming challenges are as special as they are: AA, support groups for health conditions, groups centered around shared activities, etc. The bond of shared experiences transcends — or more realistically...
I lived in the temporary house on 16th Street for about eighteen months until I eventually accrued sufficient housing points to bid on some permanent housing. Although I had enjoyed my time in the temporary house and made some good friends, I wanted my wife to visit me occasionally and this would not be possible until I found permanent accommodation.
The company had a very active employees association called the Aramco Employees Association (AEA) which organised many activities and trips. Self-directed groups under the auspices of this organisation were given funding by the company and allowed the use of various company facilities. These groups were many and varied with activities ranging from traditional sports, to handicrafts, art and drama, even including the unlikely ‘Arabian Hoedowners'.
In 2002, facing imminent repatriation back to the U.S. and wondering how, after so many years, I could stay connected to everything and everyone I had grown to love during my time in Arabia with Saudi Aramco, I formed the notion of creating a website...
The reunion committee has secured rooms at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay for either one or two nights before boarding the Celebrity Summit on Monday, October 31. If you want to come early, please make a reservation using Marriott's online link for the Hafla Reunion 2022.
For some years now, the contemporary arts scene in Saudi Arabia has been mushrooming. While Jeddah remains the Kingdom’s art capital, Al Ula has captured much of the spotlight following the recent Desert X installations by 15 Saudi and international artists. Al Ula is truly an amazing space for art, and the artists involved cannot help but take inspiration from the stark beauty of the surrounding plains and sandstone cliffs.
The life and career of Ali Al-Baluchi has been richly interwoven with those of his many friends from around the globe. Consequently, he has attended nearly every Aramco Expat reunion held in the United States since inception in 1958. When the idea of an expat reunion in Saudi Arabia was mooted in 1998...
While growing up in Saudi, I distinctly remember one feature of the compounds that I have never encountered anywhere else: snack bars. No matter which compounds you were on: Dhahran, Abqaiq, Ras Tanura, or Udhailiyah, the snack bar was the stop in town to catch a tasty meal after swimming or an afterschool sport.
These are the wishes my wife Amira and I hope to share with each of you in October when so many of our Aramco annuitant friends will board together for the upcoming Hafla Cruise.
By the late 1970s, Ali Al-Baluchi had risen through Aramco’s Community Services to become Manager of the Food Distribution Department, where he was proud to employ one of the company’s first Saudi female employees. The following extract from Heart and Soul details how this opened a door to further training in the United States.
A Saudi shopping mall was on fire Friday engulfed in smoke after a blaze broke out in the early hours of the morning. Plumes of smoke could be seen billowing from the Mall of Dhahran in Alkhobar — the largest commercial market in the Eastern Province — as emergency crews battled to contain the fire.
As Ali Al-Baluchi worked hard to establish his credentials within the Aramco workforce, opportunities to study overseas began to arrive. With his cordial personality and winning Saudi charm, Ali quickly formed friendships wherever he went, and even found himself representing the Kingdom in international student forums.
Ali Al-Baluchi was born in the Arabian Peninsula soon after the unification of the Saudi kingdom. Against the backdrop of a conservative society confronting a rapidly increasing pace of modernization, he has witnessed and participated in decades of great social and economic change.