Or “The Day I Learned That Camels Like Bananas”
Waking up the kids on a weekend takes tactical decision making. Any activity you have planned had better be well worth the drama and heartache of ruining an entire day of Xbox and compound-roaming with friends. To find the perfect weekend adventure, I cruised the internet until I found The Edge of the World. It sounds like an ominous apocalyptic prophecy, or maybe a cheesy Tom Cruise sic-fi movie, but it was near the top of TripAdvisor for Riyadh, so we made plans.
Early this morning, we harassed the munchkins and loaded them into The Beast (our rented Suburban) and headed for the rendezvous point. Fifteen minutes late, but that’s not bad for a Saturday.
Our amazing tour guide, Maz, advised us that the day would completely revolve around our every whim. With that new-found freedom, we voted for breakfast. This, you might guess, was not a drive-thru fast food joint:
After enough carb-loading for a marathon, we jumped back in the truck for the 80 mile drive into the desert. I was glad we had hired Maz, as the directions I found on the internet included references to GPS coordinates and bringing extra supplies. As it turns out, once we were in the vicinity, we could’ve just followed the herd of SUVs:
Along the way, we crossed paths with the other indigenous species of Saudi Arabia, the camel. Our guide expertly paralleled the nearest group, and lured them over with a banana:
He was then rewarded with a kiss. I think he had mixed feelings about the camel’s amorous overtures.
The other camels soon figured out the scam, and wanted in on the action…
and wouldn’t take “I have no more bananas” for an answer..
Before the kids could really amp up the “are we there yet” chorus, we reached the end of the trail. No signs, no ranger stations, and certainly no guard rails or amenities. The hiking and views were, however, world-class.
We discovered an invasive species of mountain goat that is notorious for leaving granola-bar wrappers strewn throughout their habitat:
Most importantly, we had quality family time without losing anyone to a long free-fall.
Maz gave us a bucket list of places to visit in the Arabian peninsula, and we can’t wait to take everyone along via the blog. Saudi Arabia doesn’t issue visitor visas, so we are looking forward to unspoiled wilderness and many opportunities to ruin our kids’ weekend social lives.