04 December 2009

A Journey Across Saudi Arabia

Buildings/Monuments in Riyadh & Jubail
If during the Eid Fitri, we were on the trip to Abha, the southwestern region of Asir, the recent Eid Haj break we were on the trip to the eastern part of the kingdom, to Riyadh (the capital of Saudi Arabia), Dammam/Al-Khobar and Jubail

It was the wukuf day that we started our journey at 9 am from Yanbu heading toward but bypassing Madinah before taking Madinah-Riyadh Expressway. There's nothing much to see along the expressway.

Sepanjang perjalanan cuma nampak padang pasir je dengan satu dua tempat nampaklah kebun-kebun kurma serta kawasan penanaman rumput. We safely reached Riyadh around 7 pm and met Haji Fauzi (a friend of a friend) who helped us in making a reservation at one of many service apartments in Riyadh.

Bergambar kenangan dengan sebahagian rakyat Malaysia di perjumpaan Aidil Adha.

So, we found ourselves to be praying solat Aidil Adha in the nearby mosque. Around 10 am, we were invited to join fellow Malaysians residing in Riyadh for the Eid gathering at Haji Zainal's house. Syukran jazakallah for their hospitality.

After two nights in Riyadh, we decided to cut short the stay and moved to Al-Khobar, about 400 km to the most eastern part of the kingdom. Dammam/Al-Khobar and Dhahran are the three adjoining cities known as triplet city making up the greater Damman area.
It was raining heavily all the way from Riyadh to Khobar, felt like driving in Malaysia. We reached Al-Khobar four hours later. It was quite tiring and frustrating when you were stucked in heavy traffic jam while looking your way to find an apartment or hotel to stay at. Finally we managed to find a decent service apartment near to a popular and well known Al-Rashid Mall.

Di hadapan rumah Haji Zulkiflee, Aramco compound, Dhahran

In the morning of the 1st day in Al-Khobar we went to Dhahran (about 10 minutes drive) visiting Ghazali's friend, Haji Zulkiflee at Aramco compound. A totally new environment as if you were not in Saudi Arabia but in America. There you can see women were jogging and without their abaya. Kat dalam tu jugak ada panggung wayang serta padang golf. Perempuan pun boleh memandu asalkan ada lesen memandu dari negara asal.

Back from Dhahran, we went sighseeing the city of Al-Khobar. We even went up to the Bahrain checkpoint at the middle of the Khobar-Bahrain causeway. Kalau lah senang nak keluar masuk saudi, memang dah sampai Bahrain tu. It is well known that people as far as from Riyadh like to come to Al-Khobar as the city is very lively and 'happening'.

Bersama Mokhtar dan Haji Shafiee di Jubail.

The following day we went further up to Jubail, the city of petrochemicals, visiting my friends. We also took the time to tour Jubail Industrial City before heading back to Riyadh again. We spent another night in Riyadh before continuing our journey back home to Yanbu.

Tuan Haji Zainudin Ismail aka Che Din. Kawan sekuliah... datang mengerjakan haji dari Doha, Qatar.
We reached Madinah after 8 hour drive from Riyadh. We purposely stopped by at Masjid Nabawi just to visit my old friend who performed the haj. Alhamdullillah we reached home safely after completing 3500 km journey.