It’s November. It’s Jeddah. It’s raining! First rain for me here this year. Yes! First! It’s panic time. Parents were told to keep their kids home from school. Really? Why? Well, it’s like this.
There is no provision to deal with rain water run off. Why build a sewer system for rain once a year. It works…until it rains. A leaky roof never leaks in bright sun. Then there is no where for the water to go. Before I got here I was told about water rising and cars floating. Rain equals panic around here.
It’s like a couple feet of snow in New York. It’s a mess. Cars immediately stop and traffic jams appear everywhere. Water overflowed the curbs. And it came as high as the bumper. I actually considered that getting home might be a challenge.
France is in the news but the US Embassy sent the weather advisory to my email instead. It was bright blue sky in the morning. An hour later it was raining and by afternoon it was over.
One day a few hours, no more rain till next year. I don’t think there will be a sewer system either. Rain is for fable and legend. It’s not a lot of water unless it has no where to go.
There is a such a thing and it is “rare as a blue moon.” I won’t go into more detail than to say that is it a full moon that occurs twice within the same month. I was online chatting this evening, well actually my 5AM, and I noticed. And it occurred to me that it was the second such so soon after the recent. How do they do this? Anyway sure enough the whole world but me knows.
Now to tech. The moon is very small in an iPhone 6 plus. And it is large in a Nikon D610 with 80-400mm lens. And it can be enlarged even more. But the trick is that the moon is very bright. Bet you knew that?! So it means that the exposure is manual and the setting is 1/200 shutter and about 500 ISO and f stop about 7.
Now to the romantic. It is indeed a rare event. And in the time I took the pic and we traded photos across 6000 miles, the moon has set. It’s cloudy and stormy on the other side. And here the grey sky of dawn has obscured the moon. So it is indeed ephemeral as it is rare. That is enough to make you believe in magic. Yes, this is a real time post. Photo were taken minutes apart miles apart only moments before I made this post.
And now for the piece de resistance! The moon came back for me! So I got a dawn shot with a blue grey sky. Same exposure, use 1/200 and F7 and ISO 500. It got me there. It is counter intuitive. But the moon is bright. Manual exposure is the only way to go. For once you have to actually control everything. Imagine that.
And now! It was also a supermoon too! That is when the moon is closest to the earth and appears larger. Not much but it is so. You can’t tell and neither can I. But it is . So the blue moon is rare, the next will be Jan in 2018. So this was an event you missed if you did not see it a few days ago. The last coincidence was in 2012. The great and mighty Oz does not say when the next coincidence will be. No matter, this was a lot of fun. Alas there are only 12 blue moons over the next 28 years.
I guess I just had a very special night. I shared it then. And I share with you now.
The world’s tallest flagpole has a very large flag.
The flagpole is 170 meters high, breaking the previous record held by Dushanbe Flagpole in Tajikistan, which is 165 meters tall. Previous record holders included the 162 m (531 ft) National Flagpole in Azerbaijan, the 160 m (525 ft) Panmunjeom Flagpole of Kijŏng-dong in North Korea, and the 133 m (436 ft) Ashgabat Flagpole in Turkmenistan. The flag weighs 570 kg and is 49.5 meters long and 33 meters wide. Wikipedia
Hey, there is the world’s tallest fountain nearby too! Once in a while the flag disappears. I don’t know why. Maybe it goes for cleaning. I’d like to know where you have a washer than can handle that load. But here you are. The flag is at half-mast. I am told that the flag is never lowered unlike the USA where the flag is lowered for somber occasions. So I figure this photo is showing the flag going out for cleaning. Maybe the pigeons got it. Either way this image is not often one to capture. And as you can see I was speeding around the traffic circle with my iPhone in hand. No! I am not more crazy than the others whizzing around.
This was the first place I tried and the last place for this review series. I was racking my mind for another place to try. There are Chinese buffets. And there is an oriental one off a main street near to Pizzeria Uno. I don’t remember the name and don’t fancy the drive and traffic. And last year during the world cup there was a special running at Tuesday’s. But it was suspended during the match. And Tuesday does not appeal to me right now.
Here’s a place that I just found when I was wandering around. I had eaten from their menu at a school dinner which Pan Jan catered. I simply could not find the restaurant until now. It is Asian fusion style. They offer nuts – two kinds – sweet and hot. The lunch special is a series of choices. I chose Mongolian beef, vegetable fried rice, and chicken gyoza. A drink is complementary. The lunch arrives in a Bento box and is very attractively presented.
There is a salad, of course. And the dessert is spectacular. It was fried banana with two dipping sauces and vanilla ice cream. Anything is better with chocolate dipping sauce.
The manager stopped to ask if everything was good. It is a very nice habit and touch. The staff is nice and efficient. I would definitely return and make my way through more of the offerings.
There are at least two restaurants. The one I tried was near the Stars Mall. It is a lunch special that was crowded. I eat in the singles area and it was completely full. I had the chicken special. There were several choices to be considered. This is the one that struck me. A large salad bowl was filled with iceberg lettuce of course.
There was a corn soup – warm – tasty. And there was a garlic baguette with olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the table.
The chicken was covered in cheese and marinara. The four cheese penne was swimming in its sauce with some raw green leaves torn over it. Skip the leaves and soak the sauce with bread. The penne was not memorable but quite edible. The chicken was fine. It was actually not too dry. Too sweet iced tea accompanies. And dessert is any flavor gelato. I could not think of any flavors so I asked for and got hazelnut and chocolate in a waffle cup.
Ambience was silly. I sat a few feet from an oversized fountain. But anyone who knows me also knows that I joke about fountains. The noise of running water either makes you want to relieve yourself or makes you serene. Go figure.
This place was very good value at 59SAR and I would return.
I actually have a small following here in Jeddah. So the news of specials at restaurants is news. And there are a few who follow up and eat there. I recently discovered that this is a hidden gem of lunch. You get a pretty good spread for less than full price. A bargain! Keep in mind that he prices are generally less than what I expect in the US. But hey!
Here’s a classic French Bistro. There is a founding branch in Paris. At least there is a promotional video that says that it is from France. The baked goods are pretty French but lack true pizzazz. But hey! It is a decent menu and I have enjoyed many a Croque Monsieur there. The hot chocolate is very different. It is thick and almost like drinking a liquid chocolate bar. It’s good!
Lunch specials are 48SAR and are varied by the day of the week. So when I appeared on Thursday the special was a grilled chicken burger. This was a grilled piece of chicken in a very nice roll with lettuce and tomato and pickle. The chicken was dry. The best thing was the roll. I will applaud the baker. A wimpy lettuce salad was forgettable. No drink but coffee and dessert were included. The coffee wired me. it was expresso and I was definitely wide awake. The pastry was a mille feuille and was filled with custard that was overly sweet so that the sugar was the dominant taste. Of course the pastry shell was tasty.
Service was subdued. This is a nice restaurant at different times. Late afternoon lunch was not special and I don’t have much interest in the other offerings. I would return for the a la carte menu.
There has been a banner for a long time at this Outback on Thalia St. It offers a business lunch special starting at 33SAR. That would be for chicken strips. I was more or less set to have a piece of meat – steak? The setting has outdoor seating in an air conditioned mall with a high glass ceiling. It is exceptionally quiet and not exposed to road traffic noise. So I give the place high marks for ambience.
The steak special includes steak and I chose one with pepper corn sauce. I asked for it to be red – medium rare. Around these parts, everyone eats well done. Unfortunately the style of meat is also very lean. So there is no way to be really flavorful and tender. This steak was definitely way lean.
Salad, cream of onion soup, bread, and bottomless iced tea were included for 59SAR. This was a nice meal. The good news is portion control so you do not leave overly full. I’d try this again. But I am still looking for a tender tasty steak.
In no particular order I am writing about a custom here in Jeddah. It is the so called business lunch. I sort of found it by chance when eating at a place called Rossopomodoro. It is an Italian restaurant chain. The location in Stars Mall has gone to another location which means it is likely out of business. I described the place in my blog a year ago. It offered a very nice meal – salad, soup, pizza, and main course with beverage. These special menus are available during lunch hours usually from 1pm till late afternoon.
Capo Grillo is Italian on Thalia St and has a large banner sign so it will be a permanent go to place. There are two lunch offerings at 40 and 50SAR. The 40SAR was lasagna and I had a sudden craving for pasta so I went with it. The 50SAR was a chicken main course. Salad and soup accompanied my choice of soft drink. It seems that restaurants like ice berg lettuce a lot. Otherwise the salad had lots of slivered carrots. The lasagna was quite a large generous portion served in a casserole dish. It was enough for two. But I was hungry and pushed myself to eat it all.
I think the place is very quiet. The service was decent. And the food was okay. I would like to try the chicken but otherwise I am not putting this restaurant on my regular rotation.
I attended a karate match. Brown belts, they were among the best students. You score for landing a punch or a kick on the pads in the front or on the side. You are not allowed to strike high or low. As I said there were no injuries during this match. It just looks like something happened. Ouch!
Jen doesn’t swim. She doesn’t have a driver’s license. She had never been on a quad. And if I recall correctly, she doesn’t know how to ride a bike. So she’s getting a quick lesson on riding and operating a quad. Gee, I did not know the thing had brakes for the first 30 minutes I was riding. Just turn uphill and you stop, like snow skiing. And she wanted to ride on back of someone. No! We made here do it herself. Darned if she did it. It’s kind of funny because all the quads they gave our group were green except for the black one I rode. Odd man out again, I ended up on it. I was not the leader but I had the odd bike anyway.