|Treasures from the Red Sea at the door to my flat|
I'm floating spread eagled, snorkeling over a reef several hundred feet off shore on the south side of the Farasan Islands, in a diving paradise once enjoyed by the likes of Jacques Cousteau who wrote about it in in his 1963 classic The Living Sea. He called it "overwhelming" and one of the most fascinating areas that he explored in his whole Red Sea expedition. He said, "There are only a few Westerners who have seen it and even fewer who have dived there. To learn about the Farasan's reef structures and marine biological richness it would take a lifetime." Knowing that, I took great pleasure in trailing a variety of tropical fish and spotting the sting rays buried in the sand right below me. As tempting as it was to dive down and poke one, my better judgment prevailed and I satisfied myself to watch from the safety of the surface.
|The local Beer (Non-Alcoholic of course...Alcohol is banned in Saudi along with Pork and Porn... and pretty much every other vice known to men...)|
I had a good week. I have completely taken over the Safety Department at work and am in the midst of a major safety campaign; I have been accepted by all of the international "camps" and slowly we are getting a handle on safety, though we have a long long ways to go. Executives flew in from all corners of the globe this week for a "workshop"" and things are coming together.
Otherwise it was a typical week, albeit busy as hell.
Typical driving hazards - Streets of Jizan...
This is the famous Al Rifa'ai house, built in 1341 (Hijri Calendar) (It's currently 1437 so this house is 96 years old... built in 1920 by our Gregorian Calendar). The coloured glass is kind of a big deal and is called Kamaryat made from local sand heated in a special forge.
Leaving the island... via the free ferry ride.
And that wraps up yet another week. I have been here two months now and all is well. I have earned my first two week vacation and have decided to catch a flight to the Caribbean next week where I can engage in some serious R&R in a little island called Antigua. I will be flying out of Abha on Thursday, and coming back around April 1st.