Feb 7th, 2010 |
If you read the previous post, Climbing Bin Huwayl, you remember that our expedition could definitely gone a little better. Tired, exhausted and delirious as we were, things could’ve been a lot more difficult had we not happened upon a hunter in the mountains who led us back to camp. The hunter, as it turns out, was no normal bedouin. He owned the entire valley. Or at least, his father did. The Emir of Turaif.
Now to avoid confusion, the title Emir does not necessarily mean prince, as most people may be accustomed to. In this case, Emir means General (of an army).
We thanked Ayman profusely for getting us out of our predicament as we reached camp, but as it turns out, we completely underestimated the hospitality and magnanimity of the Emir. He invited us to visit his home, in the town outside the valley. And he would not take no for an answer.
See it BIG
Make it small
Before leaving, Ayman bin Muhammad, the hunter, left us with a number to call before heading out of the valley so he could direct us to his father's place. No, dont bother calling it, theres a digit missing there somewhere ; )
As it turned out, we didn't even have cell coverage in the valley. Theres little we could have done to get in touch with the Emir or Aymen at theat point. We just decided to head out...
Offroading in the rocky valley can be ver bumpy. And by bumpy I mean enough to jar your brains into liquification. Though this was our only way out : (
As it turns out, no phones were needed. The Emir had sent Ayman to wait for us outside the valley since early morning. He insisted we come see the Emir!
Note to self: Never again think of turning down an invitation from the Emir...! This is the room that greeted us when we made our way into the Emir's home.
The Emir's father, the original Emir of Turaif, had participated alongside King AbdulAziz in military campaigns. A showcase in the guest room displays a number of old weapons he gathered during the time.
The Emir called this rifle a "British Gun". it bears a manufacturing date of 1894 from a factory in Austria. It had some decent weight on it! Steyr AUG exists to this day and is a manufacturer of guns and munitions.
And this sword belonged to King AbdulAziz himself. The scabbard is marked with various symbols and seals.
I proceeded to horse around with the royal sword. King AbdulAziz would be proud ;P
A fire crackled in the fireplace at one end of the room, where the Emir himself was busy preparing tea and coffee for his guests.
A commonplace in most Saudi gatherings. Bukhoor chips are put into a burner and lit so incense can fill the room.
The burner is passed around the room, as tradition dictates.
And thats when the storytelling began. The Emir (on the left) told us the story of his family line. Of their campaigns with King AbdulAziz and how his family was given the valley after them.
Boo! Haha scared ya ;P I loved listening to the Emir speak. Though most of it was in Arabic, me and Hasan had little difficulty understanding and translating for the rest of the rovers.
Standing in front of mountain goats he's hunted.
Sadly though, we couldn't stay for long. We still had to offroad through the dunes to the nearest highway. One final groupshot, as the Emir asked is to let him know of the next time we would be in the area so he could arrange a proper feast !
No related posts found
Liked this post? Subscribe to my RSS Feed or add me on Twitter for updates.
Or share it with your friends!