We are being well entertained while staying in Jeddah, waiting to move to KAUST. THursday afternoon and night was planned 4x4 expidition in the sand dunes just south of the city. Don't worry mom, dad, and Cari, KAUST students were not allowed to drive.
We were treated by the Jeddah 4x4 club to sand-dune riding. The 4x4 club, as I understood, is a group of off-roading enthusiasts who meet up and take these trips in their own private cars every so-often. There were many jeeps of all different types, some toyota landcruisers, and some suburbans all bouncing and sliding around in the sand together. Our driver told us, after he sunk the front end of the truck into a sand dune, that when he travels with so many jeeps, he doesn't have to worry about getting stuck because anyone can pull him out again. (We got stuck two more times after that).
The desert is not completely deserted. We drove by a heard of camels, and this Bedouin rancher with his flock of sheep. I wonder what they eat out here?
And here are a few pictures of our convoy.
This expidition was all guys. For social reasons, Saudi women are not comfortable hanging out with guys in public and the girls had a seperate swimming and yachting retreat which I heard was quite fun. My American friend said that when the girls were away from men and far enough from shore, the abaya headdresses all come off and they feel free to talk and swim and joke with their girl friends.
Sunset in the desert was beautiful, but this sand dune was in my way. The KAUST students on top got some great pictures too.
There was one turbocharged jeep which was not part of our group that climbed some amazing climbs up a steep sand-dune. When he gunned the engine, it boomed and like thunder, was accompanied by a burst of light and flame... from the tailpipe. The driver enjoyed spraying hapless students at the top with sand from his spinning tires. Someone said he was a relative of the king.
After tiring ourselves out on the dunes, we were served a Bedouin style cook-out and ate under the stars. Just sitting around and talking that night was a lot of fun and the food was delicious.
One last novelty from the trip - this falcon which was well trained and stood still as a statue all evening while we ate until its owner took it up and showed it off.
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