During a short visit to the Sharqiah Season festival in Eastern Province, a colleague took me to “a place where you’ll experience the real Al-Ahsa region.”
He was not wrong; the moment I stepped through the gate of Oah Yamal restaurant in Dammam, my hands moved instinctively to take photos of every detail, from the intricately carved gate and glass-cased antiques such as cameras and radios, to the colorful geometric shapes painted on the stairs.
The menu selection was amazing too, bearing a collection of Gulf dishes I was unfamiliar with. These included jareesh and harees (made of ground wheat and meat, then seasoned), chicken mashkool (chicken served with rice and mixed with potatoes, onions and tomatoes), mutabeq (pancake stuffed with minced meat or cheese) and momawash (mostly served with shrimp and mung beans).
The restaurant also catered for seafood-lovers, and I found the lobster to be delicious.
Oah Yamal is a great place to impress visiting friends, and I will be back with my family who are big fans of traditional food.
Photographers reveal Egypt’s hidden gems in show for a good cause
Cairo Saturday Walks are a group of photographers who go on adventures every week to take pictures across the city
The team is now exhibiting its work for charity at a gallery in the city
Updated 21 November 2019
DUBAI: The Cairo Saturday Walks team, a group of photographers who go on adventures every week to take pictures across the city, are now exhibiting their work for charity at a gallery in the city.
The exhibition brought together more than 50 local, international, professional and amateur photographers who are displaying their work in the Maadi district until Nov. 22.
All proceeds from the gallery will go to the restoration of a public facility in one of the underserved areas that the group has walked in and photographed during the past, according to the founder of Cairo Saturday Walks Karim El-Hayawan.
This is the group’s fourth charitable exhibition.
El-Hayawan described the practice as an “organic experience,” during which photographers discover the city’s hidden gems.
What started off as a one-man weekly walk is now a practice shared by 500 photographers.
El-Hayawan’s journey began after he took a basic introductory course in photography. “I did not have time during the week to work on my photography assignments. I used to go out every Saturday to take pictures and I used to post on my account. Then a lot of people started asking me ‘Where are these places? Where do you go? We want to join,’ although (these places) exist 10-15 minutes from anywhere in Cairo, but people did not notice them or had forgotten them,” he told Arab News.
The group has a library of more than 15,000 pictures accessible on Instagram through #cairosaturdaywalks.
“We ask people who join us to share their pictures on that hashtag, with the intention of having a long-term documentation of Cairo,” El-Hayawan said. “Everyone takes pictures from his/her own perspective. It is extremely neutral; everyone takes pictures of whatever they want.”
In two to three years, people can go back to this documentation and see that Cairo looked this way at this time,” he said.
A typical Saturday for the photographers starts off at a cafe. “We meet in the morning at a coffee shop and we take a little bus that we rent every Saturday and we just hit the road to somewhere random and we get lost. We call them to pick us up from wherever we reach at the end of the day. The idea is that it has no structure and I really aimed at that from the very beginning,” El-Hayawan said.
The youngest participant is 13 and the oldest is 60, but El-Hayawan said that anyone can join the walk and share their pictures.
“I found out about Cairo Saturday Walks from Instagram. The spirit of people I walk with is just amazing. Also, the fact that I am Egyptian yet I still get amazed by Cairo’s streets is what pushes me to explore more every week,” Yara Wael, a 17-year-old photographer, told Arab News.