Sunday, February 27, 2011

Visiting Iris…again

4th Feb 2011

Believe it or not…this is our third attempt testing our luck to watch the beautiful iris flowers.  Actually, we didn’t put high hopes this time as it has been a long time without rain in Riyadh and just since the past two weeks rain drops.  In order to see the iris flower, it has to be raining in December.

Together with us this time were Shahril and Vijay, our ex-office mate from Malaysia, in Saudi for short project trip.  We thought..”why not let them have the experience of being around in the desert?”

We picked them at from their hotel at around 9 pm and straight move out to Tumayr.  Knowing the way as this is our third time, we keep on enjoying the view of the landscape.  Same like us, our friends were excited when they first saw camels by the roadside.  I still remember how excited we were every time we saw camel by the roadside at the early day in Saudi, taking pictures and all.  Now the feeling is like when we saw cows at the roadside in Malaysia :-). 

At around 10.15, we were in Tumayr and ready for off-road to the iris field.  The place seems to be prettier this time.  Quite some changes being done, even the off-road to go into the area were partially tarred.  The roadside have greater view with the pathwalk being decorated with some landmarks of murals and replicas.

Again, we passing by Dr Othman farm that reminds us with the good memory of Saudi hospitality about 2 years ago. Our intention to go and vist the family is still not fullfilled as they are only there in the farm every Thursday. InsyaAllah, next time.

After off-roading for about 20 minutes, we were almost there. Not far from the spot, we knew we will be frustrated again (though not much, still if it is there we surely be overjoy).  There were no signs of purple flower.  Now, the place has a new landmark, Badwi tents! There were badwi tents put up not far from the iris field, and the worst thing was… they reared sheeps!. there were two groups of sheeps, one being cage and the other groups wondered around. 

As hubby park the car, everyone went out to find any trace of the flower before settling down.   The flower just start growing, maybe 2 or three weeks, i guess.  Seems most of the newly grown iris were eaten by the sheeps.  Hopefully, the flowers got the chance to show it’s beauty again this year or next.


The flowers just grew but seems like the sheeps have eaten them from the look of its leaves.

Felt frustrated (again) and sad, we still need to do this.. it’s time for picnic!  A must do thing when travelling in the desert.  We brought nasi lemak for our special guest as we knew they must missed this Malaysian all time favorite food.  Our dear friends sure were excited to see ‘nasi lemak’ in the land of sahara. 

After enjoying ‘nasi lemak’, the guys decided to climb the surrounded hills to get more views of the desert.  Hubby asked my daughter to accompany me with Amzar at the car.  My 1st son decided to stay instead and let his sister to go.

“Does a teacher like naughty boys more than the good boys?”

While in the car, I start chit chatting with my son.  He first asked me, “ Why does the teachers like naughty boys than the good boys?”

“That is not true.  Why should teacher’s do that?  They should like all their students but maybe they give attention more to the different type of students", I replied to him.

“My PE teacher likes this very naughty boy in class.  Even during review he calld this boy and was very friendly with him”, still my son wasn’t satisfied with my answer.

“Maybe he was very good in sport though he was naughty. “ I told him.  This time he nodded, nevertheless I can see in his face he is still dissatisfied with the situation.

I then start of with a story.  I started telling him,  “When I was working, my boss ask me to get two new staffs to help me with my project.  We start advertising for the position and there were ten applications I need to look into.”  He was listening to me eagerly.  Our son was always excited with stories about work.

To enticed him more, I asked him, “How should I choose from this ten people as they all had same qualifications?” 

He answered me by asking me instead, “Is this your real experience or you created it?”

“It’s my real experience.  My boss wants me to do it.”  In a while my daughter came back.  She went halfway and decided to turn back as the guys were already too far to catch up.

“So, how did you choose?”, asked my son.  My daughter who just arrived asked me to start our conversation again so that she can understand what we were talking about.  I gave a short brief to her and continue my story.

“I surely choose the best who have the experience and the knowledge that I want.  So that leaves me to four people left for me to interview.”

“Then I call the four people for me to interview them with my boss.”  All four were very good and talented but I want somebody special and different.

Then my son asked me, “Why you want the different one?”

“Different makes you special.”, I answered. 

“I asked the applicants to tell me their strengths and weaknesses, what they plan in 5 years time and much more questions“, I continued.

My son asked me again, “What would you tell your boss when he asked you of your weaknesses?”

“I told him, I can’t stand my work unfinished.  I always did my best to ensure i can optimize my time at the maximum”

He then shouted with laughter,”You’re a show off ummie!”.  My daughter joined as well agreeing with his brother. 

He continued with his comment,”You told us that show off is not nice but you were doing it.”

I have to admit with laughter as well and said, “There are times when you need to do it not to show off but to tell your strength and your capabilities so that people trust you and have confident in you.  I’m not showing off but I was telling the truth of what I can do.”

“That is why my boss likes me very much”, I smiled and laughed with them.

What makes me stress this out because our kids are so ‘by the book’ type of person.  They are so scared if they makes mistake or did anything different where they think others won’t do.  So, this is the purpose why I kept telling them stories to be different is somehow means be someone special.

While we were nearly at the end of our story, the guys came back with a surprise.  Hubby got back with two fossils he found on the way back down the hill.

Well, though we didn’t get to witness the iris flower (again.. well for the 3rd time), still we had a good time chit chatting with old time friends.  And I had a great conversation with my kids hoping they will learned something from my story.  Hubby also got the fossils which we intend to get the previous day where we got lost and just head back home without the fossils which we supposed to find.

It was a great day and we are looking forward a better day ahead.  On the way back, the phone rings from a friend suggesting us to call for a picnic.  Here it goes, that means our picnic continues, we decided to head for Wadi Hanifah at Old Diriyah.

Yeah, seems our day is full for today with more memories to cherish with. -tw

P1000305 P1000298 

Picnic as usual

P1000390  P1000421



Exploring the desert


 P1000439P1000438 P1000431

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Rawdhat Khuraim


03 Dec 2010

Need to warm up after our long break.  We need to start back our exploration.  How time runs so fast.  After coming back from hajj, recovering from the sickness one after another, kids with their mid-term exam, this is the first outing in the winter season.

We didn’t had much option of places nearby to go out to relax ourselves and just to break our legs.  This time we want to try a new place called Rawdhat Kuraim.  The place is a forest reserve by Saudi government because of it’s greeneries.  When we look from google earth, we can see it is the only spot with green color while the rest are mostly brown.

At about 8 am, we move out from our house.  The direction is to go via Dammam highway, taking exit to Rhumah.   The journey was less than an hour drive, about 100 km from Riyadh.  Once we reach there, we found the place was guarded by policemen.  We knew it is the right place as we can see many big trees from afar.

Maybe because it is a reserved forest, they have some sort of control over the place.  Good thing the police guarding the place could speak english.  He told us that we are not allowed to enter the area with our car.  We need to park our car outside and walk in.  With the kids and our picnic stuff, it surely be tiring for us to walk that far.  Hence, we decided to picnic not far from the car park where still there are many good location for us to settle down. 

The temperature were quite low. When the wind blow, we can feel the coldness biting our skin.  As usual, once settle with the picnic spot and had our breakfast, time to explore around the area.  I stay with Amzar on our mat, hugging him to get more heat plus lazy to carry him around.  Hubby and the kids starts to search around the place to find anything interesting to feed their  eyes. 

The actual green area were fenced.  From the fence we could see how green it was inside.  Our picnic spot wasn’t the actual spot.  Maybe the entrance required us to walk further in.  From the net, it was said that there were camping spot and people selling and renting camping gears, foods and stuffs.  However, we can’t see any trace of it around the area,  Not sure whether there are different entrance to Rawdhat Khuraim for camping, picnicking spot than the one we are now but the police guard didn’t say anything when hubby ask him of it.

At around 11 we decided to head back home.  When we were at the car park we saw three cars trying to enter the area with their car which we knew are not allowed.  They look like Chinese expat trying their best to get permission of driving in.  They were making a few calls might be calling people they knew that could help.  Waiting of around 10 minutes, seems like they still fail to enter the area with their car.  If they manage, we’ll try our luck as well. Since it looks like they failed to enter, off we go home.

Still, we get the chance of relaxing and enjoying our time together.  The kids enjoy running around freeing themselves from the walls of our house :-).  Every moment together and experiences are precious. 

 IMG_0446 IMG_0393 IMG_0397DSC01873

 Getting to Rawdhat Khuraim

DSC01853 DSC01845 DSC01847 IMG_0337

Easily to find good picnic spot here

IMG_0313IMG_0330 IMG_0387 DSC01861

Enjoying the surroundings..

 DSC01868 DSC01870 IMG_0352 DSC01854

Always had a great time out from the house.