Published: April 28th 2006August 28th 2004
You have to have a camel picture. A Saudi farm consists of a water truck and a truck for moving hay
As part of working for a living I was able to visit Jeddah, Riyadh, and Halban. Riyadh is a bright new city in the middle of the country. By comparison Jeddah is a 'laid back' city on the red sea. I had seen a recommendation to visit the souq in Jeddah as one of the 1000 places to visit before you die - I found it not nearly as interesting as those in Damascus or Tripoli. All of the interesting balconies, shops and old streets have disappeared, replaced by the new.
Before the trip, friends were concerned about the security situation and how we could live in a place like that. During our visit, Saudis would ask us how we could live in a country with huge forest fires (they were showing them on CNN) and crime.
Halban is a small town out in the desert. I cannot put into words the attraction of a desert - expessially at night with the Moon, Mars, and stars. We were working
outside in the 50 degree August heat, which brings to mind the line 'mad dogs and Englishmen out in the noon day sun'. Our day would start at 5 am;
we would work until noon, and return to the hotel for a shower, lunch and a nap. At about 4 pm we would go out again until about midnight. I would always have a bottle of water in my hand (and one in my pocket) during the day. At night, as the desert cooled down, we would find the 40 degree heat comfortable.
At night the desert comes alive - dragon flies, snakes ants, scorpions, so although it is more comfortable you must be careful.
Saudi men are very generous, considerate and hospitable. I never met a Saudi women - they were always totally covered. As single white males we were often asked to leave public places - such as restaurants or shopping malls to allow families in to eat or shop.
There are more photos below