Archive for Al_Ahsa

Al Ahsa to Dubai

Posted in Al_Ahsa, Dubai, Hofuf, KSA, Middle East, reflection, Travel, weather with tags , , , , , , on April 12, 2010 by leginsky

The trip from Al Ahsa to Dubai takes 7½ hours, allowing about an hour at the border and with a couple of stops along the way.  You get on Qatar road, and pass the downtown slammer to remind you to be good (please click on the thumbnails to se the picture)

As you leave Al Ahsa, you remember why it is there – it is an oasis, with many date palm farms.

As you leave town, you pass the sign for the Pilgrim Yard.  Quite a sight, all those Pilgrims, stacked like so much cordwood.  (“Victor, you don’t know what the Pilgrim Yard, is, do you?”  “I got not clue one.”)

You know you’re on your way when, a couple of hours later, you’re at the Salwa corner.  UAE/ Oman beckons.

And then through the Saudi border (where I was informed that I’d had the wrong visa all this time – it said I was to arrive by air, and I drove – remind me to apply for an “open” visa next time) and into “no man’s land” between the KSA and UAE 

Then the final Saudi gate and the welcome to UAE

Coming up to the UAE customs, you can see the wages of waste, with all the plastic bags caught on the nice green UAE fence, sticking out in the hot desert wind

The drive was good, uneventful.  I didn’t get lost trying to get through all the detours around Abu Dhabi.  The only notable thing was the heat; 42 in the desert in the Emirate of AD!

Not a bad temperature for April 9th!

I will also have to see what the trip really cost me later, given all of the speed cameras in the UAE!


Al Ahsa – Landforms & Camel Camps!

Posted in Al_Ahsa, Animals, Hofuf, KSA, Middle East, Travel with tags , , , , on April 10, 2010 by leginsky

Al Ahsa is the area around Hofuf, KSA.  It is characterised by interesting landforms like these (click on to see)

And amongst these are many camel camps, which feature a tent, some hay and camels, some in pens, some just around

Here is the classic style of tent, and then the same style “housified”

And the camels, the stars of the show …

And the camel people sometimes move with their camels, to take them to a beauty contest or for grazing purposes.  They use mobile tents, like this one


Posted in Al_Ahsa, Hofuf, KSA, Middle East, reflection, Travel with tags , , , , , , , on April 7, 2010 by leginsky

I am in AL Hofuf, part of the Al Ahsa region, KSA.  Please see this Google Earth screen snip (click on pictures to see them)

It is down from Dammam, on the Gulf, towards Riyadh.

Here is the sign you see when you enter Hofuf from the Qatar Road side (from UAE)

The retail of the city mostly comprises small shops

Just above, an outdoor market, with goods hanging

Typical women’s dress

Most people live in villas with a wall around, a driver’s accomodation built into the wall and a maid who lives in the house.  Many are bigger and fancier, but this is typical.

There are many, many grilled food places.  The traditional ones don’t have a family section, so women aren’t allowed to enter, to buy food or to sit inside.  Some newer places have family sections so women can come if accompanied by a male relative (certainly no unrelated male).

Road Trip 2

Posted in Al_Ahsa, Animals, Hofuf, KSA, Middle East, reflection, Travel with tags , , , , , , , on April 4, 2010 by leginsky

Into Saudi, on the road to AL Hofuf (Al Ahsa).

Scenery along the way

Yikes!  Dunes!

This is the Arabian Gulf.  The Salway corner is the only turn in the road from the KSA border to Hofuf.  Biig event … a corner!  You can go to Qatar that way… we go the other way, to Hofuf.

Typical “facilities” along the way 

It was a windy, sandy day along the road to Hofuf – pretty typical – wears the paint off the front of your vehicle

In Hofuf – and the local police want to you to watch out for the faults of others – wise, as no one wants to admit that they themselves may have faults!

Road Trip!

Posted in Al_Ahsa, Dubai, Hofuf, KSA, Middle East, reflection, Travel, UAE life and culture with tags , , , , , on April 3, 2010 by leginsky

Off to Saudi from UAE, destination Al Ahsa – Hofuf!!  Please click on pictures …
Roadside store and men’s rest stop

Leaving UAE – and the UAEs good wishes

Closing in on the Saudi border

And at Saudi border

Then, hooray, thru the border and on to Hofuf!!

Back in the UA…

Posted in Al_Ahsa, arbitration, Business, Hofuf, KSA, Middle East, reflection, Travel with tags , , , , , on September 27, 2009 by leginsky

Borrowing from the old Beatles song, it is “back in the UA … back in the UA … Back in the U eh eh E”.  I am back in Dubai now.  Driving from Al Ahsa in the KSA into the UAE and then past Abu Dhabi to Dubai was like driving into the future.  And not all in a good way, I suppose.  The construction at Abu Dhabi is monstrous, the roads are good and the pace is still furious.   You can see how people might like the sleepiness, the slower pace , and certainly the much lower cost of living of Al Ahsa.  However, for me I enjoy the work I do here, the friends I have here and the variety Dubai has to offer.  I must say that the Saudi people I met were friendly and helpful.  However, if you are not a follower of Islam, there is little to do in Al Ahsa as life revolves around religion and the mosque.  So it is back to Dubai for me!

The Burj Dubai

The Burj Dubai


Posted in Al_Ahsa, Hofuf, KSA, Middle East, reflection with tags , , , , on June 19, 2009 by leginsky

Well, I am zeroing in on the fabled Istimara for our vehicle.  Many references say that it is terribly difficult to import a car to Saudi Arabia.  I didn’t find it terribly difficult (Inshallah; not done yet) but just difficult in the normal sense.  There was the customs part at the Salwa border and then at the port in Dammam; there was the registration part back in Al Ahsa.  Both required an inspection; both inspections were done thoroughly but fairly.  I guess I say that because our car passed!

The former inspection at the Saudi Standards Organization was a bit strange in that when you approach the building you are met by hordes of young men waving bits of paper which turn out to be cheques.  As you have to pay for the inspection with the SR350 cheque, these enterprising fellows take your cash and give you a cheque to present.  And, in my case, because of lack of Arabic (“mafi Arabia”) perform as translator and apologist for the ignorant “american”.

All part of the tapestry.