Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving Day from my Flurry Friends!

The 4th Thursday of November is celebrated in the USA as Thanksgiving Day. This year, it's the 26th of November. The celebration traditionally kicks off the 'holiday season'. Many Britons celebrate it as a warm-up for the Yuletide period. Many Americans think it of it as just as important as Christmas and it is a fact in the US that more people celebrate Thanksgiving than they do Christmas.

A Butterball turkey at BJ's Wholesale Club

So if everyone in North America had Turkey for dinner, my three flurry friends had  Turkey in gravy for their dinner, too. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Hidden Valley (Wadi)

“What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.” ~ French novelist Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry

To an eye that is not used to where I live, the desert is a barren, lonely landscape. But then there are  places and oasis nearby that one can go to for a weekend escapade, if you know how to find them.

It was almost 2 months since I wanted to visit this place. The place was first visited by a group of Filipino colleagues, who got the information from a group of Filipino engineers and electricians who are assigned to install the electrical lines along the area. The photos they posted in Facebook made me green with envy. But everyone was busy and no one can accompany me to the place. Yesterday, Friday the 13th was not a good day especially with the Paris carnage that left over a hundred people dead. But many hours before the Paris tragedy happened, it was a lucky day for me. Yesterday was not just any other ordinary Friday the 13th. It was odder than one would think – 11/13/15. That could have been the reason why so many superstitious people didn’t want to move around believing that it was an unlucky day. Anthony Gilbert who could have totally forgotten about the date and the omen that is associated with Friday the 13th,  agreed to accompany us and serve as our guide to this once elusive place.

No one could tell me the exact name of this place so I named it as the Hidden Valley (Wadi) of Bani Yazed. It may not really belong to to the Bny Yazed jurisdiction but since it is the nearest place showed on Google Map, I named it after this village for reference. Bani Yazed could still be another 10 to 15 kilometers (not really very sure) from where we turned left from the highway. It was difficult because the internet mobile signal is so weak that all you can get along the 4040 Highway is a G (1G GPRS) or an an E (2.5G Edge). The signal at the "Hidden Valley" is dead.

The absence of the internet signal made me one with nature and was able to appreciate the beauty of the oasis. 

The streams and the solid rock pool at the Hidden Valley (Wadi) is surrounded by lush greenery. It’s indeed refreshing and relaxing to spend even just a few hours with nature on a weekend.

Until someone can tell me the name of the place, I will continue to call it the Hidden Valley of Bani Yazed. Whether or not I get to know the real name of the place, It will be a place where I can run to and find refreshing and relaxation on a weekend.

How to get there?

Traveling along Highway 5 (Jeddah-Jizan Highway), turn left at the Raidan Petrol Station and take Highway 4040. It was at Al Baik Al Laith (somewhere near the Corner of Highway 5 and Highway 4040 that I remembered to set our trip mileage at 0. So I suggest that you set your car mileage reader to 0 km while getting your meal pack from Al Baik Al Laith.

Follow Highway 4040 all the way to Ghomegah. Upon reaching the second rotunda (round about) in Ghomegah, take the first exit to the right and drive all the way. By the time you should have traveled around 46 kms, you should be within the vicinity of the Moya Har (Ghomegah Hot Spring). Continue to travel through Highway 4040 which will bring you to the rocky mountain ranges. You will see a long bridge once your mileage is at around 72 kms. Don’t take the road towards the bridge. Instead, take the road on the left. When you reach 79 kms, turn left by taking a dirt road to the left. Follow the road all the way. At km 78, you will see a big rock that will welcome you to the “Hidden Valley”. Follow the green vegetation at both sides of the rocky mountain and you will be at the Hidden Pool by the time your mileage reading will hit 80 km.

Enjoy the dip at the pool!

The Big Rock that welcomes you to the "Hidden Valley"
Another view of the Big Rock that welcomes you to the "Hidden Valley"