A few months ago, we heard about this new locale in Jeddah. Green Valley! A place teeming with water. Green grass. And life.
People rave about this place. Some say its a natural water body in the middle of the Arabian desert. Some say the water is processed waste water. The truth is, nobody knows. The latter theory is the most probable.
Anyway. There is water. Flowing water. Maybe a mile long. And there’s fish too. God knows where they came from! An entirely new ecosystem has sprung up. Probably wild dogs are on top of the food chain. And lots of birds. Pity I didn’t have my telephoto.
What could be more satisfactory after a meaty meal!!
I have been in Saudi Arabia for 6 years now. This has been my favorite winter.
This winter I drove down with my family to Al Baha. I’ve been wanting to visit this place for a few months now. Information about this place from people I knew was almost non existent. Not many people have been there. All I could find out about this place was from Google and Wikipedia.
What really piqued my curiosity was the thought of a hill station in the middle of the desert !
Saudi Arabia has been a revelation to me. Al Baha has only furthered that. Before Saudi, my concept of a desert was a huge barren land filled with sand and dunes. KSA showed me deserts can be rocky.
Anyway, Al Baha is a picturesque piece of land lying a little over 2000m above sea level. Temperatures during our visit peaked at 11 degrees Celsius in the morning and went as low as 4 degrees Celsius at night. The mornings were mired in fog and mist. It is around 420 kms from Jeddah by road via Taif. The roads are long, winding and with very little traffic once you pass Taif.
We found a lot of viewpoints along the way up hill, all of them deserted. It’s as if no one wanted to see this beautiful place.
Lying below the hills of Al Baha, is the Tihama plain, which is more like the desert we are familiar with. Here, close to the small town of Al Makhwa, is a 400 year old abandoned village, named Thi Ain ( use these exact letters to search for the place on the wonder that is google maps). The road from Al Baha to Thi Ain village, called Aqabat King Fahad is spectacular to view. The entire stretch serpents along the the mountain face with numerous tunnels and bridges.
Once u descend Aqabat King Fahad, a turn to the right will take you to Thi Ain. A well preserved ruin!
I hope more people find time and make their way towards Al Baha – A must visit place for the Saudi expat. The tranquil drive and the surrounding scenery and the cool climate alone is reason enough in this hot desert.
A few photographs on the way To Al Lith, approximately 175 kms from Jeddah.
We actually went to visit the National Aquaculture Company, which has the largest integrated shrimp farms in the world.
Unfortunately, I dont have permission to post pictures taken from there.
Instead, here are some images made during the journey. On the road….
Please do leave your comments.
Welcome to Briman Car Junk Yard, Jeddah!
This is one huge junk yard, with old and scrapped cars lying in heaps and bunches.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a lens that can capture the length and breadth of this place.
A lot of people come here to scavenge for tyres etc.
That yellow machine probably compresses those cars to metal pulp:
So much Metal:
And to conclude, a beautifully rusted underside !
It’s been a year since we went anywhere as a family. And we didn’t have enough time to plan a long exotic vacation.
So we decided to spend a few days in Medinah and visit the Prophet’s Mosque.
Medinah is a peaceful city. You have to visit here to understand. Unfortunately I cannot put this feeling into a image. It’s crowded and yet peaceful. There is something about this city. A tranquility I’ve never felt anywhere.
I decided to travel light and thus only took my much loved X100s and the TCL-X100 that I have been itching to try out.
We found a hotel, 5 minutes away from the mosque. The first thing I wanted to see was the view from the window. Not much, except it was just after sunrise and the city was slowly being washed in light.
Here’s another one, taken a few minutes later. Both were taken through very dirty windows, which I couldn’t open.
I took my 4 year old for a walk about an hour later and he was perfect to give the place a sense of scale
He also found this covered man hole interesting
The hot afternoon sun was perfect for shadows ( always a weakness for me)
We were back at the hotel during sunset and this was taken from the same position as the early morning shots. But I somehow managed to open the window this time.
And here’s my favorite camera