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Published: November 9th 2008
Yes... we are in Saudi Arabia. Crap... I can't beleive it. This tour has been a long time in the works.... and I truly am finding it hard to believe that we are really here. WOW WOW WOW. I have had a tour to Saudi planned in my head for ages.... and finally got it rolling a year ago. All the planning and plotting... staring at the map... reading ... and now I am in Riyadh.
Chilled in Dubai for the morning... including the always mandatory mall visit... and then headed out. Met with the group for an orientation meeting before leaving for the airport. Spent an hour prepping them for what to expect and what not to expect. So much is contrary to what one usually experieces or is prepared for when travelling. Can't do this... can't go here... can't eat and drink this.... can't photograph that.. etc etc. Really, such a well traveled bunch I have with me....they take everything in stride.
So... glad we left for the airport 3 hours before the flight. Our hotel is just 5 km from the airport and it took us about 35 minutes to get there. Passport control was soooo slow. By the time we were in the departure lounge there was less than 1 hour left. The Dubai terminal is simply a massive modern shopping mall disguised as an airport.... go figure. Really, the favorite pasttime in Dubai is shopping... or simply put.. spending money. Nice flight on Saudi Airlines... 1.5 hours... nice lamb dinner.. smiling staff. Big 777 - full. Listened to the prayers of Allah piped through the sound system and watched a docu-flick about X-files. Too funny. Landed... and were quickly swept through passport control and customs... all pretty easy really. Actually, it was slower to get out of Dubai than it was to get in here. But, all they customs official had to see what that hard-earned Saudi Visa... and that was it., we were in.
45 minutes to the hotel.... 45 minutes fitting the ladies into their abayas.... and that was it. Quite the fashion show as the 16 ladies tried on their abayas / swapped abayas / moaned about having to wear an abaya.... too funny. Not bad... 11 out of 16 fit. So, just need 5 'larger' sizes. They just arrived a minute ago... delivered by the local agent. Tordes is going to rummage through them tonight and pick the best one!!! Ha
Anyway... off to get a good night of sleep... the first in 4 days. Was at the airport until 0300 last night picking up the last of my group members. Tomorrow we begin... a Riyadh city tour... and lots of surprises no doubt.
sorry... still no pics.... hopefully tomorrow night.
m & t
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