It’s always a fun evening Ten Pin Bowling with friends in Riyadh and, surprisingly, there are a number of bowling venues available that women are able to use. (It’s been almost four years since I arrived and still the emotions get a little rattled when I have to add the phrase ‘available for women’. But moving on….)
Expats jest that Saudi’s are clueless when it comes to customer service and the following scenario is a classic example of why. To ensure we had our lane pre-booked the UBC website was Googled one morning and the advertised phone number dialed The soothing sounds of Koranic verse were playing over the line – obviously, no-one was at the office yet so I hung up.
(Oh buggar! Don’t tell me this is another Male-In-Saudi fruitcake randomly dialing numbers looking for love!).
Me: Can I help you?
Him: You rang
Me: Errr, I did.
Me: Ummm, when?
Me: (racking my brain, who did I call?). Are you the bowling guy?
Me: From UBC?
Me: Ohhhh. OK….
Mystery Man identified!
It turns out, reservations are not required at UBC Family Section if you’re going bowling early in the evening, though peak times after last salat and weekends may be a different matter. The UBC number, in case you’re wondering, is +966 505 269 788.
Ten Pin Bowling is available at the Intercontinental Hotel, also on al-Ma’adhar St. They re-opened a couple of lanes to women fairly recently, however to bowl there women have to be happy being stuck behind a wooden screen which, in my mind, is not conducive to fun and relaxation. According to the bloke at the counter, the Intercontinental venue is often used for bowling tournaments or booked out for groups so it always pays to phone first to check availability. (The Intercon number is 014655000).
However, if your style is anything like the guys in this vid, which, by the way, is quite informative re: how to bowl properly, then no, an abaya is not the best gear for bowling. I can tell you from personal experience…
…that a fast moving, swinging arm easily gets hung up in a loose, robe-like over garment; and the ground hugging nature of said garment often causes one to stumble mid-slide on the way to the foul line; and you can imagine how difficult it is to get height and/or width on your follow through leg wearing an abaya.
As a completely different issue I ought to mention this ‘thing’ that has happened every time we’ve gone bowling in Riyadh. We use house balls when we bowl and, for some reason, other people who turn up for an evening of bowling think it’s OK to walk up to your ball rack, assess the balls sitting in it and then pick up, and walk off with, whichever ball has taken their fancy without asking if your group is using said balls, which they are, which is why they are in the ball rack at the start of our bowling lane! What’s with that?
Anyway, if you do decide to go bowling at one of the bowling venues in Riyadh, the centers don’t open till 4pm, which is a bummer because I reckon a Ten Pin bowling coffee morning every now and then in Riyadh would be a lot of fun for we female types.
Location of UBC Bowling Center
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