Sunday, July 2, 2017

First Impressions

I have been here in Saudi for just 24 hours and my first impression is this is a harsh land with contradictions.

There is a dusty and warn sense of things to a degree I did not expect.  Cars are caked in wind-blown detritus and an inordinate number show collision damage.  The majority are working class sedans - several year old Hyundai and Toyota models - not the high end rides I expected.  Somehow I thought I'd see mostly Mercedes with the occasional Ferrari, though I expect they are out there somewhere.

Like the shisha that seems to be the evening leisure activity of many, the land's hot and dusty air hits me deep in my lungs.  At the same time there is a sweetness here that invites me.  Like the women, covered in their black burkas and hijabs, the dust and skin of this land seems to hide something potentially beautiful. I am struck that women seem to make up more than an equal share of shisha smokers and exude a level of freedom and enjoyment in their small flocks at the air conditioned outdoor cafes here.

Even the spoken word shows a contrast, with its deep phlegmish "h's" , that seems to mass the gentle, friendly people I have met so far.

As I looked down at the Red Sea reefs from my work window today, I felt a bit teased that I could just walk outside and go diving, but I am looking forward to future exploration under the sea and in the dusty desert.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Soon to be a "Diver in the Desert"

It's time for a new adventure.

After four years here in the beautiful and wet Northwest, I am jettisoning my belongings and packing my bags once again.

In two weeks I will be heading to the Magic Kingdom.  No, not Disneyland.  Saudi Arabia.  While work takes me there, I hope to use my free time to explore the seas around Arabia as well as the historical areas that it surrounds.

Posts with pictures will soon follow.  In the meantime, I'll add some photos from recent dive vacations.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Korea - My last stop for this trip

Seoul was my last stop, and unexpectedly one of my favorites. I found the city and country to be inviting, beautiful and elegant. Since I enjoy woodwork, the temples and palaces were amazing. Food was great as well. I can't wait to go back and see more of Korea.

Awesome paper lanterns.

How many police does it take to guard the donuts? This intersection had hundreds of police in riot gear each day for reasons I do not know.

The cityscape from my window.

One of my favorite buildings - the sliced look.

Kimchi heaven.

How many varieties of dried shrimp are there?

Something that is common in so many countries, but not the USA - a vendor parked on the sidewalk selling fresh corn out of the back of his pickup.

One of the many vibrant outdoor markets in Seoul.

Big drums and colorful costumes at the changing of the guard at the palace.

More colorful pageantry.

Scooters at work delivering pizza. Some day I will travel the world just to put together a photo documentary of scooters.

So that is where all the silkworm larvae go - boiling pots of street food.

Another beautiful palace.

Amazing woodwork and painting.

Great doors. Another photo documentary - doors of the world.

A beautiful temple.

One of my favorite Buddhas.