Friday, May 07, 2010

Satu Malam di Thumamah

A new addition to our must do activities list, camping in Thumamah.

Last night, we almost did it but we’re hampered again with our new not so friendly friend, the sandstorm.

After a brief discussion with our Jom Redah partner, Mohd Azman of GMC, we agreed on going to Thumamah and hurrying to camp over night there. At first, it seems to be quite impossible especially with the wife is about 7 months pregnant and 4 kids, + 2 kids of Azmans.

Thumamah is one of the well known place among the Saudis and expatriate alike because of the beautiful red sand dune landscape. Among the activities there are dune bashing, riding a quad bike, camping, picnicking and eating ice-cream ;-)

But the wife said it is OK, she is ready and also would like to experience another camping adventures after 1st time experiencing it in our Rihlah to Oman about 5 months ago, which she was 2 months pregnant at that time.

So, yesterday Thursday, May 06 2010 after Asr prayer off we went to Thumamah which is about 50km from Riyadh. The journey took about 40 minutes.

Along the Thumamah road near the Camel Market, we saw there was still a lot of area ‘flooding’ with water. There were lorries, some fully loaded with with  stuff  and some empty were stucked in the water. And it was already 3 days since the heavy rain hit Riyadh. Can’t imagine how it was on that day itself.

IMG_9040Among the lorries that still stuck in the water.

IMG_9046 This pickup most probably almost fully covered by water on that historic heavy rain day.

We went to an area which were less crowded as we want to spent our time in a relaxing and peaceful manner. It was about 5km more from the 1st red sand dune area which were too crowded with people and activities.

IMG_9050 Azman’s car in front with the para glider on top.


Para glider in a close-up. Kids were very excited about it.


Stomach ache? No problem, as you can already imagine what we can do with this thing ;-) 


We took a few moments to explore the area and trying some “dune bashing” ourself. It was a very fun activites eventhough we’re not too inclined to do too much stunt.


Landscape of Thumamah red sand dune is amazing. Hopefully we can do 4x4 crossing dune activity one day. Should we include it into our 34 Must Do Activities list?

At about 6.30 pm, we settle down at one place on top of the desert over looking the Thumamah road. After some quick discussion on how to set-up our camping zone, we established the area in 20 minutes.

After Maghrib jemaah prayer, we started to prepare our dinner, chcikend and prwan BBQ (Nora) and chicken and beef satay (ourself)  with Kuah Kacaing (Nora). While sataying and BBQing, the wind bringing additional stuff and flavors into our dinner, the sand :-(


Kids are very excited when we said we will make a camp and stay overnight.


Azman was putting up the fire in a split second. See his BBQ set, how rusted the set is? That's showing how much experience he had in using the set.. thus in putting up the fire ;-)


We’re having a BBQ and satays  with additional flavors, sand flavors!

At about 10pm, suddenly the winds stops and we took the chance to feel the beauty of the sky, gazing at the stars that usually almost impossible to do it in Riyadh while continuing our chit chatting about life, experience, recipes, kids, etc. At the same time, our kids were busy playing with sands and whatever their activities.

But the calm moment doesn’t last long. After abut 15 minutes, we can feel the wind is coming again, this time in the different flows. We could see the thick clouds were approaching towards our area together with the wind.


Our kids happily playing with the sand even at 11pm!! Usually they’re already deep into their sleep by now.

DSC00648 Struggling in the storm to dismantle our tents.

At about 11.15pm, what we were worrying about came into reality. Sandstorm attack!!  Its almost the time when we were about to tell the kids to go to their ‘beds’, suddenly the wind becoming more and more strong.. which in turn bringing again, another sandstorm.

After about 15 minutes struggling in the howling winds and flying sands trying to dismantle our tents and getting our stuff back into the car, we finally made a journey home with a mixed feelings; sad, tired, happy.

Yet again at the end of the night we have another experience that we don’t want to forget. Having a chit-chat in the middle of the night with good friends, in the middle of the desert, while  sipping hot ‘teh tarik‘ (albeit too sweet ;-)), watching stars and blue sky… it was just a great feeling moment.

We reached home at about 12 midnight with the determination to try again next time. InsyaAllah, God willing we will have another “tick” in our target activities/places list. Till that time, ma’assalamah.. -th

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