Archive for Hofuf

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

Hofuf

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!

Istimara!

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.

Living In Al Hufuf (Hofuf)

Posted in Al_Ahsa, Hofuf, KSA, Middle East with tags , , , , on June 14, 2009 by leginsky

I have not blogged in a while.  Let’s put it down to the myriad things one has to do to adjust to living in the KSA.  We live in Al Hufuf or Hofuf now.  A good description here.

It is a character place.  Wacky driving, some ramshackle amongst the new villas, very friendly people.  Westerners are an oddity here.  I had no access to the hocky playoffs.

More on our area and King Faisal U. later.

Moving to Saudi (3)

Posted in Al_Ahsa, Hofuf, KSA, Middle East, reflection with tags , , , on April 12, 2009 by leginsky

I am learning a lot.  First, I get the sense (after being here a whole 13 days) that KSA is a very complex, layered and interesting country.  The people are very friendly and welcoming.  They want our talents and skills.  The society is hungry to grow and develop, and not waste the resources (both human and natural) with which it is blessed.  On the surface, it is an uncompromising monoculture.  However, there are so many progressive people here, eager to get things done, that often accommodations are made to ensure that we are comfortable and get what we need.  I will be more forthcoming later.

I appreciate this place.  The learning will be more subtle than it was in Dubai (of course no one ever accused Dubai of subtle!!).

More later.