Friends and explorations

I have met two different groups of people here so far. Guys are important to meet as they are allowed to drive! Both groups are up for adventure and I have had a lovely weekend. It felt very much like a weekend at home and every so often I would remember where I was and have a surreal moment.

The first group are here working with the Saudi National Guard.  They came over Thursday night (weekend here is Friday and Saturday) and brought me a grill so we barbequed and got acquainted. 

On Friday I went out to the sand dunes to the east of the city to scout out good spots for sand kiting. I hiked up to the top of the dunes and then ran/slid down them.  It is incredible how much higher they are than the photos do justice.  The wind was blowing solidly (sand was blowing, my kiter friends will understand the value of that!) and I ended up with sand in everything. I poured piles of it out of my shoes and then still had a solid layer in my socks.  You can imagine how much was in my hair, eyes and ears.  I had a very sandy and sweaty abaya. I washed it today but need to get a second one to enter into the rotation soon.  The dunes are incredible. They are constantly shifting sands and are a lot higher than they appear.  Plus, there are false summits due to the weird perspective out there. So just as you think you are at the top, there is a higher one immediately behind it.  There were a few places where the dunes got so steep and the sand was so loose that we had to climb on all fours!

Lots of piles of garbage and construction debris around the city
Checkpoint at edge of city, they don’t appear to actually check for anything, but I imagine they could lock the city down very quickly if they chose to
Camels are frequent sights here
Trying to provide some perspective on the height of the dunes
Alex on top
Jesus almost there
Walking the ridgeline
The haze is blowing sand
Layer of sand in my sock
Those specks are us on the ridgeline
The guys at the bottom, you can see how much our feet sink in
Again, the specks are us, at the summit

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