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I Flu from Oman

Does anyone recognise the unknown Arab below? It was taken on an expedition a very long time ago into the heart of Saudi Arabia, following in the path of T.E Lawrence, along the Hejaz railway from Medina to the northern border with Jordan. Why the disguise? In those days, even with Interior Ministry permission and a travel warrant, one could be arrested and disappear because the local police couldn't read. In fact, we made multiple copies of the pass, because they would stop you and take the travel pass, unable to grasp that without it, one would be immediately arrested and incarcerated as an Israeli spy at the next desert checkpoint without one.

Looking the part Posted by Hello



It was best to blend in as far as possible and that way one was normally ignored.The flu or heavy cold I collected in Oman has left me facing a flight of stairs as if it was a climb to the peak of Mount Everest. Arriving home with some kind of ailment after a long international flight appears almost inevitable these days and one can understand why the Japanese often travel wearing surgical face masks, which has always struck me as a little obsessive but if it works, don't knock-it! Posted by Hello


The beach at Westgate on Sea

In contrast with the white sand, palm trees and mountains of Oman last Saturday morning, I've been out, here on the beach at Westgate-on-Sea in Kent, taking photographs. No palm trees in sight as they appear to have migrated south for the winter but plenty of seagulls. Posted by Hello


No- It's the beach in Oman and not the North Kent coast in December.

Last night, there was a ferocious gale. One couldn't get near the sea-front and the waves were breaking thirty feet high over the sea wall. It's quieter this morning but unlike last Saturday morning, I don't think I'll be going swimming. Posted by Hello


Westgate on Sea looking West

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I mentioned in the last post, the 1981 expedition that took in Median Saleh, the ruined Nabatean city in Saudi Arabia


A temple carved from the rock from Petra's sister city.

By coincidence, one of the most important train stations on the Hejaz railway sat next to the ruins and when Lawrence of Arabia blew the line in 1917, the trains were trapped there and are still there today, gathering dust and with "Krupp" on the engine casings.


One of the trains, sitting where T.E. Lawrence left themwith Dr Paul Garnett as the passenger

Below, you can see one of the fortified train stations that Lawrence attacked along the Hejaz railway between Damascus and Medina.



More photos Medain Saleh can be found on THIS Site - Apparently you can catch a tourist bus these days, rather different from risking life and limb to cross an unfriendly Saudi Arabia twenty years ago!