7/9/12

Saudi Side Trip: Taif

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Here I am....back in the Land of Sand.  Where was I?  In another sandy place...Fabulous Las Vegas.  As a birthday/mother's day gift to me, my wonderful, amazing, loving (there's much more) husband flew me and our girls to see my family in the States.  It was a much needed reprieve and I was so happy to spend time with my family.  
That being said, I have done very little blogging.  We took this trip about two weeks before I left for the States.  It was another great group trip with a bunch of us from Yanbu.  Glad that we are taking time to see other parts of Saudi while we are here.
So, a little background about Taif curtsey of Wikipedia: Ta’if (Arabic الطائف aṭ-Ṭā’if) is a city in the Mecca Province of Saudi Arabia at an elevation of 1,879 m (6,165 ft) on the slopes of the Sarawat Mountains (Al-Sarawat Mountains). It has a population of 521,273 (2004 census). Each summer the Saudi Government moves from the heat of Riyadh to Ta'if. The city is the centre of an agricultural area known for its grapes, roses and honey.
Let me just tell you, the drive up to the town was just flat out wicked.  The Taif-Jeddah Escarpment Road is a marvel of engineering. Absolutely breathtaking, the road rears 6,500 feet in 21 kilometers and 93 bends. However, beware this is a dangerous road to travel considering the local drivers treat it as a sort of Saudi Auto-ban.  

We stayed at a nice hotel...I had heard rumors about baboons, but I didn't pay much attention.  Perhaps I should have.  There were families of them EVERYWHERE!  And let me tell you...they were NOT scared of us.  You can see in the photos how close these guys would get.  At one point, one jumped up onto the railing...sending kids and grownups scattering.  

We got to stop at a local place were we all took turns riding camels and horses.  My daughters could have stayed there all day long.  They loved every minute.  I had fun too!  :)

Every time we left the hotel (we took our own car so the kids would have car seats...others went on the group bus) we had a police escort following us around.  Kinda felt like celebraties.  We took the cable car from the top of the hill all the way down.  At the bottom was a sort of water park...however; the women's section was closed and there was no way I was sitting around in my abaya in that heat watching everyone else swim.  Yeah, no.  Neat to see everything from so high up...the kids really enjoyed it. 

They took us to visit a rose farm, though we were too late in the season and the roses were no longer in bloom.  Afterwards, we went to visit a factory that produces rose water.  Okay, now, I'm sure some people find the smell pleasant, but for me...omg, sensory overload.  I can't imagine working there day in and day out.  We visited an old mansion that one of the King's used to stay while he was visiting the town. 

It was a fun weekend trip and nice to see other parts of Saudi.  Wondering where the next weekend trip will take us!  


2 comments:

Mariam (Saudi | Philippines)

Silly, you know you haven't really stayed in Saudi Arabia if you've never been to the Holy Places in Saudi Arabia, namely Makkah and Madinah.

You haven't really been in Saudi Arabia if you've never had more than ten Saudi friends.

Staci

Mariam, I would love to visit Makkah but unfortunately I'm not allowed. I hear its an amazing place to experience!

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