Free Exotic Travel Story: Chestnuts in an open fire….
King’s tomb in Madain Saleh.
This fantastic link discusses the Nabatean culture which previously thrived in the area.

January 27, 1985 from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Dear Mom and Dad,

I finally got to the desert! It was cold and it rained!

Princess M. had 15 tents all set up, with electricity too. It was about 45 minutes from town, in sight of the airport. The tents were: men’s eating/women’s eating, kitchen, sleeping tents (with beds and electric lights) washroom tents (in the sand – no flush or portable toilet) and women’s tea tent, very large with one wall open to the desert with a campfire.

My colleague and I drove dune buggies up and down the sand dunes. It was easy to get lost! We had a large meal with salad and lamb and rice. Lots of fresh vegetables – onions, radishes (regular and white radishes which looked like carrots). Of course we sat on carpets in the women’s tent.

Lots of children were there and a large Black family, including an old man who had taken care of Princess M.’s mother, who was also there. They had been slaves but were now freed, but servants to the same family.

After lunch, a herd of goats and sheep came by. The looked alike, with shaggy hair. The ones with black heads were goats; the ones with white were sheep.

Then, a herd of camels came strolling by. They looked so elegant against the sand and sky.

The book is coming along O.K. But I decided not to buy a printer because it’s so difficult here and the ones I know which will work with my computer cost $600 Dollars! 2,000 rials. The same are sold in the States for $2-300. I’ll wait until I get to France.

Did you get the cassette tape I mailed you?

I also just mailed some photographs from my trip to Madain-Saleh.

The censors inspect all photos leaving the country so that letter may take some time before you get it.

I miss you both, especially listening to your stories, Father, and the good times we had, Mom, talking about Life.

Love always,

XO Alice XO

New show on tv – WKRP! I like it.

PS – On the picnic in the desert – I had, for the first time, roasted chestnuts!


Since women could not drive in Saudi Arabia, I did little exploring. Most of my most delightful photos of the desert are from the UAE and Oman. Here are some Saudi photos regarding Madain Saleh and Dhahran – which looked like Orange County, California!

Camels viewed from a mountain top
Nabatean tomb in Madain Saleh
This is a BBC video.
Saudi has many contradictions – then and now. Here’s a waterfall in a wadi, a dry river-bed during the dry season, but a real waterfall like this during the rainy season – mostly December and January.
Saudi sold beer in grocery stores – beer flavor but no alcohol.
Stop sign in Dhahran
Before international banking was available, we teachers were paid in cash each month. I loved the site of so much money in cash! Eventually, I wired it to my sister who then put it into my own bank account.
Pictoglyphs from ancient times, Saudi Arabia

Saudi as a tourist site:
Ushaiger Heritage Village: Perfect Day Trip from Riyadh

This photo appeared somewhere years ago, so I cannot give the photographer’s name or the publication it was in.

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