Sunday, January 01, 2006

Travelogue: Najd

Last week, the Saudi police forces clashed with wanted terrorists, they captured two terrorists, and lost some policemen. (Link)

What am I talking about? I’m just giving hints…

While the whole world (well… almost) was planning for the new year's eve, I headed with friends to Najd (Saudi Arabia), and there were no signs of celebrating 2006, and to be fair.. I didn’t observe anything related to the Georgian Calendar.

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Day 1:
  • Back from work, packing in 20 minutes.
  • Arriving to Al-Zilfi at night.
  • Sipping shots of Arabian coffee with “Gudoo3”*, or shall I call it “Gulf Tapas”.
  • The ‘Welcome Supper’.
  • Drinking Tea and ‘Asfar’*
  • Chitchats
  • Sleep

  • Breakfast. It consisted of bread, ‘qishta’ (gaimar), honey, ‘fool’, lentils, something like “Tamriyya”*, ‘Mgalgal’*, Milk & Tea.
  • Chitchats.
  • Drove to Al-Jway, a desert place north-west of Zilfi, where we passed through “Hajrat Al-Jway”*.
  • Later on, we stopped near the dunes to have a 1-hour-picnic.
  • Headed to Alaga (“E3liga”)* and visited an elder relative of a friend.
  • Chitchats with the old man. Who talked about his memories of Kuwait, in the second & third decades of the last century.
  • Visited the southwestern side of Zilfi, where Kuwaitis own some ranchs (Al-Nisf, Al-Bader, Al-Sayer & Al-Roumi). The only Kuwaiti ranchs far from where we were are Al-Ghannam’s (the west-centre of Zilfi) and Al-Shaya's (west on the road to Al-Qassim).
  • Heading to ‘Rawdhat Al-Sbila”*. Where we had lunch and a short picnic until the sunset.
  • Back to Zilfi.
  • Dinner.
  • Chitchats until midnight in a freezing weather next to the fire. It was around 5-7 Celsius.
  • Sleep.

  • Breakfast.
  • Visiting “El-Mu6al El-Gharbi”* for a photos session.
  • Lunch at a friend’s relative place. (a Kuwaiti living in Zilfi).
  • Heading to Al-Bkairiyya (West of Braida – Al-Qaseem).
  • Tea & coffee chitchats with another friend’s relative.
  • Shopping at Al-Bkairiyya’s market.
  • Heading to Al-Badaye’ (El-Bidayi3), around 25kms south of Bkairiyya. To visit another friends’ relative, and to have some tea, coffee & ‘Asfar’* chitchats.
  • Back to Bkairiyya.
  • Dinner.
  • Tea, coffee, ‘7abag’* and Hibiscus chitchats.
  • Sleep.

  • Breakfast.
  • Heading back to Zilfi.
  • Shopping for “Sowayegh”* at Zilfi’s market.
  • Visiting a house & a farm.
  • Heading back to Kuwait.
  • Stopping near Al-Dhana’s* dunes. (Photo session).
  • Arriving to Kuwait.
  • Back home, just 1 hour before New Year’s eve to celebrate with the family.
  • Reading around 6 webpages of missed blogs entries in Safat.
  • Sleep.
Happy New Year

  • Today.
Photos from the trip.
  • “Gedoo3”: it was dates in the old time, but now it’s anything sweet to have with Arabian coffee. If you visit “Diwaniyyas” you will know it.
  • “Asfar”: it means yellow in Arabic, and it’s how Najdis call the ginger & saffron hot drink.
  • “Tamriyya”: Mashed dates with some butter/oil and spices, it varies depending on the place/country/region you have it in.
  • “Mgalgal”: A baby-camel stew, that I swore never to taste it.
  • “Hajra”: plural “Hjar”, a tiny village in the midst of desert, the population varies from tens to hundreds. The only thing “Hjar” share is mosques. Schools, police stations and clinics are not always available.
  • “Alaga”: pronounced “e3lega”, the northwest centre of Zilfi, where you can find old houses & farms.
  • “Rawdhat Al-Sbila”: A side of the desert east of Zilfi, it becomes green in spring time due the rain floods in winter that goes down from “Twaig” hills/mini mountains east of Zilfi. “Al-Sbila" is known from “Al-Sbila Battle”, when Saudi loyalists (led by AbdulAziz Ibn Saud) fought the Rebel Wahhabis (led by Faisal Al-Duweesh) in 1929.
  • “El-Mutal El-Gharbi”: a “Mutal” is a high land overlooking an urban or rural area. This one was a towering sea of dunes overlooking Zilfi from the west.
  • “7abag”: are dried mint leaves from Hayel ("7ayil"), boiled to make an aromatic drink.
  • “Sowayegh”: singular “Sogha” are gifts that you bring home after travel, for relatives and friends.
  • “Al-Dhana”: Pronuced “Ed-hana”, is a desert north of Najd, with endless sea of dunes.


Shurouq said...

Ouff..I hate hints! Just spell it out, will you?

:) Happy New Year, iDip
Interesting trip

شرقاوي said...

Zilfi and Braidah, in winter. It must have been fun.

I hope that you will publish some of the photos.

Happy New year...

Anonymous said...

of ALLLL places in saudi.. why elgseem? I wouldn't go there even if they paid me

I'd go to hail though

Glad you enjoyed it and happy new year

AyyA said...

Unusual trip for the New Year celebration , but it sounds like you had a great time :p
Happy new year dear

iDip said...


I didn't get it! (knocking my little-brain-head)

indeed... one word to describe it:

The photos are here:

because it's a 'males-dominated' region. The only time I saw so-called women, was when we spotted 4-5 black clothes walking.

I know, but -to me- it was better than regular weekends routine for 4 days in Kuwait.

شرقاوي said...


Enjoyed the photos.

Here is my two-bit contribution:

'isfir is an herb of yellow color, without any aroma, used for food coloring. A poor man's za'faran.

Habag is mashmoom, or raihaan (basil).

Anonymous said...

I don't wish to be bombed!

iDip said...


thank you, I really appreciate it.

but just to clarify...

the 'Asfar' I mentioned is different from the one people use with rice...

as well as '7abag'

in syria, jordan, palestine and maybe lebanon it's a kind of 'raihan' (basil) but in central arabia it's a kind of mint.

شرقاوي said...


My mistake...

فمن اجتهد وأخطأ فله أجر...

iDip said...



it's not your mistake


BitterSweet said...

It seems to be a breath taking area. Excellent photo's.
What kind of camera do you use, if you don't mind me asking?

iDip said...


thank you

it's a Nikon D50

جنة الحواس said...

I'm looking forward 2 having such a trip ..

Shefek oboy men 7annety al7een ..

I'll show him the pics ..choood yta7ammas .. !