Tag Archives: ksa

Green Valley, Jeddah

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.

 

I did get some shots of the nearby vegetation.


And where there’s vegetation, there are critters!


And like in every ecosystem, new or old, life is always accompanied by death. And here’s something that reminds me of that!

The Remains Of A Previous Era

That is  “Historical Jeddah” ! A UNESCO world heritage site from 2014.

A visit to this place is a sharp contrast to today’s modern Jeddah.

What really stands apart are the cobbled pathways and the old architectural style, with coral being a major resource used in their construction.

 

The ornately carved doors and the beautiful lattices, windows and balconies are truly beautiful.

Today the area is mostly left alone, with the few dwellers being poor immigrants and cats. An early morning visit here shows how desolate the place has become.

A must visit place for any immigrant in Saudi Arabia.

I have been here 5 years and this is my first visit. And I know plenty more who have never seen the place. A shame really !

You can learn more here:

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1361

A Winter To Remember…

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 !

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Once u descend Aqabat King Fahad, a turn to the right will take you to Thi Ain. A well preserved ruin!

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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.

 

Through The ViewFinder, Today

As usual, I don’t get enough time to take pictures or blog.

So I decided to start a ‘ Through The ViewFinder ‘ Today/ Weekly/ Monthly series depending on how much and when I can shoot.

A big thank you to everyone following my blog.

Enough with the rant…..IMG_0620IMG_0624IMG_0621IMG_0646DSCF7492IMG_0628IMG_0643

On The Road…..

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….

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Please do leave your comments.

Days In Blue

Some photographs from my early morning walks from the last 2 weeks.

This is the probably the only time of day when u find a bluish tinge to the light in Saudi Arabia. Natural light patterns are usually very predictable with little variation !

None of these were taken on the same day.

A few minutes before sunrise:

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The Clouds, a few minutes after sunrise:

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A lamp post in the early morning hours, with the orangish-yellow light nicely contrasting with the deep blue sky:

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A sweeper cleaning the streets before rush hour:

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An abandoned truck in a local car junk yard:

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I will be doing a separate post on this junk yard in a few days.

Please leave your comments and opinions

Looking For Doors..

It was by accident that I stumbled upon ” The Daily Post’s Photo Challenge “.

I never knew it existed !! Anyway I decided to give it a shot.

Early mornings and late evenings provide ideal lighting in these parts. Shooting in the mid day is a bad idea. It’s very hot, very humid and the sun is right above you blotting out every detail in the sky.

I decided to venture out at sunrise. There’s not much time even then. The rise is fast, usually within half an hour and the warmth turns into heat quickly. I don’t have a thermostat, so I Googled the temperature. 34 degrees celsius at 5.46 am!

I live in a relatively old area in Jeddah. There is decay all around. Everything is in various stages of decay. Buildings are old and not very well maintained. It struck me, there were no good-looking doors anywhere. Most of them were the same, as if the entire area was supplied by the same door company. There was just one door that was relatively new. And guess what ? That belonged to my apartment, because its only 4 years old ! Looking around I realized all doors in this neighbourhood are made of metal. I never noticed it or gave it much thought before today. Every door is Iron or iron and glass. This is in stark contrast from my native country – India, where most doors are made of  solid wood .

I’ll stop ranting now and post the images I selected for today –

A Door With Character

Metal Door, Brick Wall

Glass Door

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Door.”

A Day Trip To Taif…

Taif. We heard a lot about this place. It’s a hill city 180 kms away from Jeddah.

Our trip was sudden and unplanned. So we missed most photographically interesting places. But that’s made us decide to make a more detailed trip next time.

Anyway here are some images of Taif…….

The meandering roads cut through the hills

    

Here’s an almost perfect “S” 

  The hills just before the sun sets

  Lit by lights at night   

A late night camper. Camping and picnicking are probably the most common outside activity in Saudi Arabia  

Taif is a preferred destination for people living in around Jeddah. Relatively lower heat and the view of the hills provide a much needed respite from the traffic heavy life of Jeddah.

There is an old market place called Sook Okaz, a nature reserve and a hillside fruit farm – all of which we couldn’t visit. So we’ve left the good stuff for our next visit. Until then…..

Fun At The Beach………….With The Fuji X,

Its been a long while since my last post.

Well, after a rigorous two months of work, I took a break with the family and headed to the beach at Thuwal. It’s around 90kms away from here. Being far from bustling Jeddah, the beach isn’t much crowded and is pretty clean.

There were a few families spread across the straight coastline. Like I have mentioned before, photography isn’t much encouraged here, so I restricted myself to photographing the kids and our immediate vicinity.

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And before i forget, my fun was with my Fuji X cameras ! Amazing sooc jpegs !