Posted by: Leap of Faith | October 19, 2007

Al Hofuf Adventure


We are at the tail end of our 9-day vacation.  I never thought I would be looking forward to finally having our normal routine back.  Hmmm, don’t get me wrong… our vacation in Al Hofuf here in the Eastern Region and in Bahrain were just short of being great.  But our schedule during the Eid holiday was just so hectic.

We started the holiday doing major house cleaning in preparation for the arrival of our good friend from Riyadh, Raffy Clemente, who slept in our flat for two days.  Before he arrived, though, we drove to Al Hofuf which is arguably the largest desert oasis here in the Kingdom.  Eager to reach our oasis as soon as possible, the Megas and our other banker friends decided to hit the road by 830 am (the drive is around 2-3 hours long).  Guided only by our trusted “Lonely Planet” and verbal instructions from friends who have previously been to the place, our journey was hassle free – that is, until we missed our exit!

What happened next proved to be one of the major highlights in our newest desert adventure – our car got stuck in the sand!  Since we missed our exit, we decided to make a u-turn at the nearest dirt road.  Confident on the features of our SUV, I plunged our car, Sandy as my family lovingly call her (and note how appropriate for our situation then), directly forward to what seemed like hell.  We were stuck in the desert for more than 30 minutes just trying to dig ourselves out of this really sandy situation.  I was becoming desperate – nothing seemed to work.  I felt that this was the beginning of the end of our vacation – push, push, push… dig, dig, dig were all we can do even though we knew that every sweat that came out of our bodies were all made in vain. God is good, though, and He really does answer prayers.  After allowing all of us to undergo our daily dose of exercise, He sent a tow truck out of nowhere to save us from that ugly situation. Whew!

We are so bored! Get us out of here. 

 Trapped

We finally arrived in Al Hofuf, the most over-rated desert oasis in the planet (note: this is only the first oasis that we’ve been too).  Picture this… acres and acres of green palm trees to shade you from the heat of the desert sun, a wide fresh water lake to cool your now overheating body and a hammock tied between the palm trees so you can rest and enjoy the strong cool breeze.  NOT!  AL Hofuf was just like any other place in the Kingdom! Old, worn-out low-rise buildings covered in dirty white paint (hint: picture Iraq footage of CNN) and the leaves of the palm trees looked drier than the desert. The lake and hammock? Asa pa kami!

Fortunately, we found what were the real jewels of the province… an old fortress (two, in fact), a roadside store and the Al-Hasa National Park (aka Judas’ Cave amongst the Pinoys), which is a very impressive natural rock formation with cave. These places served as the backdrop of our photo shoot (note: more pictures to be uploaded by Pinky in our Multiply site).

 Old Fortress in Al Hofuf

Roadside Store

 Al Hasa National Park

The Cave Entrance

Al Hofuf proved to be a place worth visiting after all – for day trips only.  The long drive was worth it, if only for the three places that we’ve seen.  The next few days of our vacation were spent discovering the jewels of Bahrain, which Pinky covered in her blog Bahrain Rediscovered. Hope you guys have time to visit her site and read up on our vacation.

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Responses

  1. keith, your adventure sounded so much like an episode of “the amazing race”…missing an exit, getting stuck in the sand. 🙂 in the same way that i got you with my “bent spoon”, you got me with your oasis. nanlaki ang mata ko when i got to the “acres and acres of palm trees….fresh water lake….hammock tied between trees”. hahaha! mirage lang pala! 😉 anyway, it’s nice that in the end, you still had a fabulous time. sayang naman ang drive ano?! 😀

    Oh, what a great description… it was really so Amazing Race like. The oasis was a major let down. The images I had before we went there were all pretty and nice but then again this is Saudi Arabia! All in all it was a great vacation/adventure. something worth documenting in my journals.

  2. wow what an adventure! the kids seemed to have a great time, hehe! cute ng posing nila… parang power (desert) rangers. 🙂

    hehehe… yup they are so into that power (desert) rangers thingie… bagay yung backdrop, mukhang anytime may kalaban who will suddenly come out of the cave. I look forward to hearing about your vacation too… mukhang Nina (and your husband) had a blast with those birds.

  3. Another good thing that came out of this adventure was that we met a good samaritan in the unlikely person of an elderly Arab man driving a black Yukon GMC – just imagine if we hadn’t bumped into him at the roadside store? Walang mag-guide sa atin papunta sa “Judas Cave”! We definitely wouldn’t have reached the Al Ahsa National Park and our trip would’ve been a big letdown… God does work in surprising ways! 🙂

    Oh yes, how can I forget him?! He was truly heaven sent.

  4. adventure na adventure hah! i guess getting stuck in the sand for a while was part of it. but glad you guys had so much fun, specially the kids! they seem to enjoy it a lot 😉

    Quite an adventure talaga, Nell. Yes, the kids had a blast… feel na feel nila ang pagka-power rangers.


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