Sons of The Desert

Scroll through these photos to experience the trip I took to the Edge of The World on Inauguration Day, Friday, January 20, 2017.

My train was to depart at 8:35am. When I arrived early to the train station I was ushered directly to the train which was surprising because I was allowed to board nearly half an hour before departing. In Korea, unlike Saudi Arabia, ticketed passengers are ushered to the tracks no more than ten minutes before departure. Saudis have fewer train departures which may explain why they do this.

The photo below was taken near the tracks inside the Saudi Railway Station in Dammam.

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As I approached the train I snapped a couple of photos. I noticed that the train has fewer cars and the maximum speed is about 100km/h.

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For the next four hours I listened to James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time audio-book  or slept. My seat was comfy and I was served coffee and Arabic dates. The Evian water was also complimentary to first class passengers. Though the water was only available at the train station’s first class lounge.

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After my train to Riyadh, I took a taxi to the Granada Center Mall where I waited to meet my tour guide, Ghazi. He, his brother, and cousins rent SUVs and guide tourists to the desert regularly. Their expertise in driving over soft sand, and navigating the desert helped them earn the title ‘Sons of The Desert.’

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After a couple of hours we arrived at the Edge of The World. Perhaps the guard post is there to warn tourists of the edge so they do not fall off. Our envoy had no trouble passing their gate. Our vehicles were ushered in without being inspected.

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After entering the area near the Edge we still had a ways to go. Our guides informed us that it would take about twenty minutes to arrive there, but it took us nearly two hours. Though out guides are quite experienced they still managed to get lost. The sameness of the desert is to blame for this mishap. Luckily, we weren’t trying to navigate the desert at night which would have been doubly difficult.

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Although this photo was taken after out trip, I decided to insert it here to show you the vehicle we rode in.

After safely traversing soft sanded desert floors, bumpy terrain, and bypassing needle sharp brush that would puncture a tire, we arrived at our destination. The Edge was just before me, but I turned around to get a glance at the distance we had covered.

As I surveyed the terrain around us I snapped a few photos before approaching the edge. I thought this was as good as it was going to get. I was wrong.

Here is one of the first images I took of the edge. At the Edge you first encounter this opening which looks like it perfectly frames the landscape. I thought this was all that the Edge had to offer. But as you move closer you are presented with ever more beautiful views. It’s important to hike quickly to take it the Edge from every possible vantage point. As I learned this was only one vantage point from which to appreciate the view.

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I took this photo while I moved up the mountain.

In order to truly appreciate the Edge of The World, look at the picture below.

I snapped the next picture to give you an idea of the massive size of plateau we stood on.

As sun continued to fall, I continued to snap photos. It disappeared quickly behind the clouds just above the horizon. I was still able to capture some memorable photos of my time at the Edge.

I remembered to get a photo of my feet at this location. This is a quirky habit I began in the Philippines. I have my feet in a photo of me kayaking and standing at different locales. Below you can see my feet as I reclined on the mountain while I gazed at the sunset.

Another tourist — somebody more adventurous then me — decided to sit on the farthest ledge. Envious of his courage and accomplishment I snapped his photo. What a marvelous image he posed for. I wish I had a friend to capture this same image of me.

The closest I got tot he above image is the one below. There I was lying on the rock. It may look as if I laying on a rocky surface, but just a short distance from my head is a steep drop. Also, what you see at the top of the image is not more rock, but actually the desert floor that is hundreds of feet below. Those lines in the top left are dried up rivers!

I was lucky to have had these pictures taken by one of my fellow travelers. I give this trip two thumbs up.

Here is the another view of the sunset from atop the Edge.

In the distance you can see a group of tourists atop the Edge.

I imagined that one of my photos would become my Facebook profile image. This one almost made it.


 

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