Over the last two days I attended orientation in Dhahran, located approximately two-hours north of Udhailiyah.

The Udhailiyah camp is lush with palm trees, green grass, and blooming flowers are plentiful. The taxi ride on Wednesday morning was my first daytime view of the kingdom outside camp. I’ve heard people refer to the region as “the sand box” and now I completely understand. However, don’t be misconstrued, the landscape is beautiful.

I’ve been intrigued by the large formations scattered throughout the kingdom. The formations are stunning and I have an inner urge to climb them. Several formations border two sides of the camp, which compose of beautiful intertwining cobblestone lit pathways. The beauty is surreal both day and night for runners and walkers alike.

I have found the region to truly be a cultural melting pot. There are no majorities. From my experience, all nationalities appear to be represented and all are treated equitably. In fact, my two-day orientation included colleagues from the US, Argentina, South Africa, Ireland, Australia, Egypt, Europe, Philippines, and other countries.

Every day I see things I have never seen before. Regulations are strict regarding pictures in kingdom, so I’m not comfortable posting much until I have a better understanding of the cultural parameters. On the positive side, not being married to a camera allows me to live in the moment and experience everything the culture has to offer.

Each evening I try to squeeze in a 2-3 mile run. I’m amazed how the community comes to life when the sun goes down. During the day, the activity on the streets and in the parks is minimal. They say it is because of the heat, but I don’t find the conditions uncomfortable. The temperature peaks at 100-105 everyday, yet I find the Texas Gulf Coast climate much more brutal. Yesterday I walked 1.25 miles from the Industrial Security office to my house wearing pants & long sleeve shirt, and never broke a sweat. In Houston, my clothes were often saturated with sweat after walking to the mailbox.

Things which I miss: 1) Fans. My house is not equipped with ceiling fans. This is an easy fix, once we purchase floor fans.

Did you know: 1) The weekends in Saudi Arabia are Friday and Saturday. Now you know….IMG_1315IMG_1316IMG_1317

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