I took a short trip to the Eastern Province of Saudi--Khobar, Dammam, and Dharan and it was such a nice change. The sea alone is lovely and the humid air felt nice after months of dry Riyadh heat. We stayed in a nice, modern hotel in Khobar called Park Inn, which was a five minute drive away from the corniche.

The people there seemed to be more open and laid back. The men didn't always have a shmagh on their heads (the red checkered scarf), which is a big faux pas in Riyadh. It is seen as immodest in Riyadh (from what I'm told it's the equivalent of a Saudi woman not covering her face). I saw that piece of cloth as a metaphor for the general attitude of the men there (it was a school vacation, so there were many Riyadh residents in Khobar). The Riyadh boys wore theirs high on their heads, in a proud, uptight manner. The pattern of the scarf was intricate and busy. The Eastern boys wore it loosely around their shoulders, which symbolized their laid back, relaxed dispositions. The cloth was usually all white, the pattern modern and minimal.

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