Sunday, April 17, 2011

Road Trip: al-Khobar

On our road trip, we saw this escaped camel cruising down this little road.
A minute later, we saw a poor fellow chasing after the runaway,
but it didn't look like he would catch him any time soon.

Since we are in a fascinating part of the world, we had hoped to be able to travel both within Saudi Arabia and to the surrounding countries. Unfortunately, our work schedule doesn't allow for vacations (except the two Eid holidays which were both at the beginning of the year), so we have to squeeze any trips we want to make into the space of a two-day weekend. With two kids in tow, weekend trips are practically nonexistent for us.

However, in March, for a double-birthday surprise for Josh and me, our friends (fellow teachers) conspired not only to book us a resort hotel in al-Khobar for a night, but also to babysit our children for the two days we'd be gone. It was a nice weekend, albeit far too short! We headed out Thursday, making the five-hour drive through the desert to al-Khobar, a city on the eastern coast of the country close to Bahrain. On the way, we enjoyed watching the changing desert colors and, of course, taking photos of camels like these.

Electric lines bring modernity across the far-flung regions of the Kingdom.

Beautiful red dunes.

Red changes to white. We pass a ferris wheel in the middle of nowhere. Very curious.

A farm edged with striking green trees.

When we stopped for a bathroom break, we met these camels and a dog poking around the garbage by the restroom.

Final Destination: the beautiful Holiday Inn resort at Half Moon Bay. This is a popular spot for Saudi families to come and enjoy the beach. We even saw women in abayas riding the jet ski!

A romantic grilled dinner for two.

The next afternoon, we had to head back home, but not before taking a little scenic drive of the area. Wooden boats decorate the land along the coast of al-Khobar.

If you look closely, you can see the causeway leading to Bahrain, a once-peaceful little island kingdom connected by bridge to Saudi Arabia.

A glimpse of the city of al-Khobar.

I realized what made this city different from Riyadh was its sculptures. Riyadh has no artwork to speak of, completely void of sculptures of any kind.

Starting the drive back home.

Are these the same camels we passed on the way out?

Upon seeing these mountains, we started to have doubts about our road choice. We stopped and asked a Saudi guy in a random car, and he assured us that we were heading toward Riyadh. He either failed to understand our question or purposely sent us on a misguided tour, because at the next checkpoint, the police recommended a u-turn.

Finally, some reassurance that we are going the right way this time!

Passing the camels on the way back. These do look familiar.

Red sands outside of Riyadh.

Oil tankers on the outskirts of Riyadh - just another common site in the Arabian desert.


Bill said...

Whew! must have been a relief to see that road sign to Riyadh! Sounds like you had a nice time together.

Bill said...

Riyadh doesn't need sculptures--they have the malls!

Tammy and Josh said...

That's true - they probably have more malls in Riyadh than in the rest of the country!

Fahad Busafe said...

Thanks for the sharing