Tag Archives shopping

Hidden Gems and Treasure Troves in Saar

Hidden Gems and Treasure Troves in Saar

Posted on

Once in a while you’re pleasantly surprised by locating a shop with really nice stuff packed into it. A treasure trove really, and I’m not talking about those second hand shops or a car boot sale. I’m talking about shops that are elegantly designed and fitted, but recessed and tucked away from the normal beats. That’s what I discovered this afternoon.

Saar, like the rest of Bahrain, has tremendously changed over the last ten years, let alone over 30 or 40 years. Maybe it’s a bit late to catch up with the various other areas of the island probably due to the mass exodus of the majority expats who preferred this area of the island and made it their own, especially in the seventies to the naughtees. They were so prevalent in this area then, to the extent that a phrase was coined to identify some of those busy-body expat women as “Budaiya Betties” or “Saar Sallies”; spaced-out and closer to fishmonger-mannerisms than class and royalty they proclaim to have. Anyway, to each their own.

So Saar has developed into a business attraction lately. First came the Najibi Centre, then a little down the road we had St Christopher’s School and between the two several shops, restaurants and even shopping malls popped up. The latest addition to that class of properties is the quaint Saar Mall, just a few steps from St Chris and Alnakheel Mall, the second mall to be inaugurated in the area, I’m not counting the Country Mall, it’s on the Budaiya Highway of course, but not in the Saar area.

Saar Mall has quite a number of shops already open, we thought of exploring a bit before we had our coffee at Costa, our preferred coffee destination. This mall sports the customary food hall which is quite unexpected. I was under the impression that “provincial malls” are more low key affairs. They do contain restaurants of course, but I didn’t expect a full fledged food hall. Or maybe it’s just me.

Upstairs in the food hall, they have quite an attraction: a huge fish tank with salt water fish. Nimo and the like. Though I’m really unsure why that tank also has mollies and guppies. I thought those were fresh water fish, no? Maybe they’re food for the little shark with its permanently attached sucker? A weird feature on both sides of the main tank are open sub-tanks with fish in them as well. I shudder to think how those fish will fair. I have a vision that people will be trying to catch them, or “feed” them by tipping their food trays in, or even squeezing their left-over mayonnaise and catchup packets there too. I hope no one does. It will be a shame to vandalize that feature. It would be good too if the mall management spent some time properly cleaning that installation. The green algae is building up, and the water, as of this afternoon, is a bit murky.

It is on the same floor that we discovered quite a nice shop. Innovation Bahrain. I must confess that I have a fetish for interior decor and furnishings shops. I love nicknacks; though I’m banned from buying any because Frances says that our house is stuffed and can’t take any more. I ignore her once in a while, and she tolerates my “rebelliousness”, but I know that she has the final, silent, word. I notice the disappearance of some of the items I purchase sometimes. I am also pretty sure that the BSPCA thrift shop has been the beneficiary of some of my trinkets too.

Anyway, have a gander at this lovely treasure trove:

Panorama of Innovation Home in Saar Mall

Quite cool right? I’m definitely going to visit again, if not to buy, then it will be for inspiration.

As to the mall itself, I just hope that its owners become a bit selective to create a nice variety of shops. There is an indication that is not on their mind at the moment, with three phone shops and two phone pods upstairs, something that the nearby Alnakheel seems to be much better at in their selectivity. I also hope that it keeps its cleanliness and not transform into a villager backwater where no one would choose to visit unless they’re compelled to do so.

It was a pleasant afternoon.. and the coffee was good too.




Shopping!, originally uploaded by malyousif.

I decided to get another computer, because (get this!) I wanted to give my daughter my older MacBook. So what to do other than going to the Apple store in The Fashion Mall next to our hotel and getting:

1. Apple MacBook 2.4GHz, 2GB, 250GB, 13″
2. 1TB Time Capsule
3. 500GB Time Capsule
4. Apple TV
5. Firewire cable
6. Replacement battery for the old laptop.

I came back to the room, hooked the new laptop up to power and within 2 minutes connected the two laptops together with the firewire cable and clicked the “continue” button to copy the data from the old to the new and off I went to a meeting.

I came back later in the day and everything was copied, down to the cookies of the browser. I shut down the other computer, restarted the new one and logged in and just started working, with all the applications and their settings loaded, there wasn’t a single moment that was wasted!

I’m looking forward to connecting the Time Capsules; one for the office (the 1TB) and the other for home where movies and music and other good stuff will be on it ready to be shared to the Apple TV to enjoy the digital media on our TV.

This is a leap year day to remember!

Me happy!



Posted on

Shopping!, originally uploaded by malyousif.

A Friday is not Friday if I don’t go visit some garden centres. Fortunately, as it is “the season” they do have nice things and it is the best time to landscape in Bahrain. The stuff you see in the back on my car all went into the “Oriental garden”.

I spent the whole day out of the house, the first few hours were spent in garden centres getting what I needed (you only see a small part of what I got in this picture!) and then the remainder of the day working over the Frangipani Patch which is now an integral part of the Oriental Garden. I’ll post some pictures of my efforts tomorrow.

Other than the stuff in the back of my car, I got deliveries this afternoon of 1,000 kgs of river stone, 8 big pots, 4 bags of 50 ltrs compost, 175 petunias of various colours and I an awful lot of backbreaking work, and the patch is still not finished!

Have a wonderful weekend my friends… a bit later than usual I know, but I hope you understand.


Seef Mall extension panorama

Posted on

Seef mall extension panorama

Seef mall extension panorama, originally uploaded by malyousif.

They’ve just opened the new extension at the Seef Mall in Manama. This extension cost around $40 million!

I went for a quick visit this morning and I was impressed with the newly created spaces. There are hardly any shops open at the new extension other than a couple of coffee shops, but just walking along naturally lit marble and clean and spacious areas make me want to shop!

This mall, by the way, is 30% owned by Bahraini needy (poor) families. They were granted that ownership shares by the king, because of the number of families involved, they don’t receive much dividends, but for a poor family, any money is good money.

Anyway, see that guy (guard) who is coming out of the main gate? (You might need to see the full sized picture to see him) He wasn’t happy about me taking pictures and walked with determination toward me (whistling and shouting “hello hello”) I completely ignored him and continued to take the pictures. When he came next to me he told me that it wasn’t allowed to take pictures. I politely told him to bugger off. He can’t stop me from taking pictures of a bloody building. The ready excuse that it was an instruction from management came out, to which I told him to gather all his managers and bring them down to take a nice cooling dip in the nice fountain they’ve just built and that I am not ready to respect such a law.

He was utterly confused, but smirked in understanding and left me alone. I can understand if they did not allow teens obviously taking pictures of girls as they might have ulterior motives, but banning people from simple snapping pictures of buildings they admire is a bit, well, dead-headed.

Regardless, I’ll wait a couple of months for the shops to actually open, and then I might go and take permission from them to shoot a vlog inside the new extension.

For the technically inclined; I’ve shot a series of 6 pictures on my Sony Ericsson K810i mobile phone and then stitched them on my MacBook using a program called AutoPano.