Midnight (Education) City: Adventures, Friends, and Moments with the Dorm Folks
Updated: Nov 13, 2021
It’s very safe to say that Education City, especially in the daytime, is boring. This is especially true in the interesting times we live in, with the masks (sometimes) and closed buildings. The only places that seem to have any life are the Student Center and the adjacent Oxygen Park, where you see people playing football, parents chasing children, or students in pajamas with groceries. These close after ten though, and one might imagine that there’s nothing going on after dark. Then you remember that there are people who live here 24/7, and they must be doing something, right? We are, and I genuinely think that the EC at daytime doesn’t hold a candle to the moments of laughter, struggle, and adventure that take place once most people go home.
To start, I don’t think I can explain any moments of social interaction after 10pm without mentioning the edge of the fountains in front of the dorms. In front of both dorms, Janoubi and Shamali, there are always a half dozen people who just loiter there. If not directly at the edge of the fountains, they might be sitting under the lights at the cul-de-sac where you drop people off. But there’s always people there. From every university, from every year, from every gender, all present and enjoying each other’s company at any hour before sunrise.
What do we do? I don’t know. Talk, I guess. I wouldn’t say we speak to each other- that would imply that we have some genuine intent to say something and that something is of worth to say to each other. We talk more, babble mildly coherent thoughts just to keep the dead air away. We talk and order Tea Day to have the energy to talk some more. It was born out of the fact that they got rid of our tables and chairs in order to curtail crowds in front of the dorms. I can’t say it worked since we’re still outside. These makeshift Majlises are sort of the hub of talk. And even if we decide not to go out, we do decide to talk there.
If you’re a bit more adventurous as I am and bored with constant small talk, then there’s a lot of adventures you can go on to discover Education City by yourself or with a friend. There are tons of small gems you can find yourself in the area. You just need to have the right company and the right know-how. While everyone has their own special place in Education City once they look around, I want to share some of my special places to show that there’s quite a lot to see once you start exploring.
The first place that I think everyone should pay more attention to is Al-Shaqab, which is an obvious one, but hear me out: the horses next to Oxygen Park are most lively at night; you see them prance and play and patter around, and it is honestly quite entertaining to watch. They’re beautiful beings and very well taken care of.
Another place that I adore that is not on everyone’s radar is the Seeroo Fi Al-Ardh Carousel, a glass house made for Art Exhibitions in Education City, south of Shamali. If you’re lucky, you can catch the exhibitions from the outside. There have been no exhibitions for a while though, but at night you find that the place has an ominous feeling to it. Empty, but brightly lit, you can’t help but feel like it is abandoned.
Finally, the last little gem that I like to show is not a place, but a journey from Janoubi to the Mathaf, or the Arab Museum of Modern Art. Spanning a West to East tour of Education City, you catch all of these stunning buildings, from the ones you know and are used to (like the Universities) to the ones you don’t (like the Education City Stadium). It’s a slow jaunt that really reminds you of how beautiful Education City really is. For this walk, I have made a Spotify Playlist to help along.
I would like to point out that at no point should you trespass anywhere in EC, especially places like the Education City Golf Club. At no point should you go over through the side mounds and onto the fairways, nor should you find the paths that take you around the area. You should not go and sit near the pond and watch the ducks as well. And you should not stop and admire the beautiful flowers and plants around the area. That is absolutely prohibited.
EC at night is a lovely place, full of good people to spend your nights with and full of moments worth making. If you live in the dorms, I recommend trying to see some of these places mentioned. If you don’t, I recommend staying the night once when this pandemic is over. If that is not possible, I hope your friends here can tell good stories of this place. It’s kind of unique once those who can’t stay go back.
Spotify playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2DBCKF8d2hJgVqf2L0MuZh?si=zuzBTEIlT_qDlyB3xS75hA