Big Round Rock Camp to Police and Pay Camp, Abha, Saudi Arabia, December 16, 2022
I ended up sleeping flyless last night. The wind was whipping my fly around and making a lot of noise. One clip also came off the tent so I was worried I might lose the whole thing. It was a warm night so it was fine and apparently the wind died down before midnight. I was lucky too that this morning my tent wasn’t filled with sand but the mesh must be fine enough that it keeps it out.
Lena doing breakfast dishes-
It was a four hour drive to our first stop. Along the way : such random shelters out in the middle of nowhere-
Desert and rocks-
Rocks and desert-
And then baboons! They are Hamadryas baboons, native to the south western tip of the Arabian Peninsula! What on earth do they live on and what are they doing in the desert?
We stopped at a lookout-
There are buildings for restaurants etc but it’s been closed awhile. It was so rubby-
We carried on to Al Yanfa which is built on the slopes of the Sahn Tamniah mountain range. The homes are built with mud overhangs and small windows to keep them cool in the scorching summer heat-
I went wandering, looking for something to eat but no luck. We are very close to Yemen and there is very little English spoken. I played charades with a couple of guys and eventually hopped in a truck with a man who drove me about 5 miles to a restaurant. I had no idea where I was and I just hoped he’d be waiting to take me back when I came out with my food! He was and took me back but to another street different from where I’d come down the hill. He sat and watched me go and only had to yell at me once to go the other way. Returning to the coach, I ran into some of the group who had just been invited into a home so I joined them. The man was 42 and a local art teacher; we were in his Mom’s house. We sat in the living room and had mint tea and whole wheat flat bread-
He showed us the tv room-
Even the ceiling is painted bright colors-
Another picture of Mecca-
He teaches oil painting and showed us his work-
Then the tour was over. We never saw the kitchen nor the bathroom. Back at the coach everyone was hungry so I showed the drivers where I’d been taken so we could eat. It’s so weird to me that we wait until 2 pm to have lunch and then have supper by 6. I eat very little at supper which is unfortunate. I was on cook group and we had rice, buffalo filets, broccoli and carrots. We eat very well!
An unfriendly man was hanging around our camp site so I went to talk to him. He was calling the police to have us evicted unless we wanted to pay! That’s very un-Saudi. Normally they are super friendly and would never ask for money. We thought maybe he wasn’t truly Saudi and not the owner but eventually the police did show up. We are lucky to have drivers who speak Arabic, (even though they are rude assholes some of the time) to translate. Karen ended up paying $36 so we could stay.
It’s foggy and misty-
so it will be a cool night but hopefully it won’t rain. We are also up quite high so it will be a much different temperature from last night. I’m grateful for my warm sleeping bag.
Tomorrow we will explore Abha and stay in a hotel!