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Published: November 12th 2008
OK... I continue to try and add pics here.... but all attempts ahve failed. Quick update. Great train ride from Riyadh to Hofuf. Giant train station.... empty. Strange 'first class' lounge with free fresh arabic coffee and dates. Plasma tvs... internet access... and a Sony Playstation??. After 3.5 hours of driving across the worlds most uninspiring landscape we were there. Oh... Tom & Jerry Cartoons and Mr Bean played on the video in our train car to help pass the time.... and more dates were passed around.
Balance of the day was spent trying to make the most out of our sightseeing schedule. Such a headache... as the places we wanted to see were either closed for renovation or inaccesible. Why did nobody tell me that before. Managed to visit some funky caves and a womens market.... only to get shouted at for taking pictures. Grubby 3 star hotel... with 5 star food (what a shocker). Found some internet access last night but Tordes was not allowed to join me... 'men only'. So... i sent her on her way!
Started today with a great viewpoint over the Al Hasa Oasis... worlds largest date palm oasis. Stunning views. Pit stop at a wholsale date market... Saudi dates are said to be the worlds best... so we wanted to sample a selection. Seemed as though only the cheaper varieties were available... but still tasty. Hell, they must have been ok because I dont even like dates. By 1030 we were at the ARAMCO exhibit to learn everything and anything about the history of oil on the Arabian Peninsula! A bit of propoganda involved... but interesting as well. Took a little walk along the corniche to see the Persian Gulf... and then off the airport in Dammam. Time to kill now in Riyadh as we wait to connect to our flight north to Jouf / Sakaka.
We have met some of the friendliest people.... and have been treated to some great hospitality. Dealing with hotel staff is proving frustrating as they don't know how to handle groups..... and the same applies with the airline check in. They really have no clue about customer service and efficiency. But... that is all part of the experience. Drivers here are crazy... and I have witnessed two accidents already. They are maniacs. And .... you can't blame the women here... as they are always in the back seat.
will try again with the pics... wish me luck
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