Thursday, September 26, 2013

My second trip to Riyadh - III


Please DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT use the photographs here or share this post on social media as the site visited by me belongs to the Government of Saudi Arabia and we are under instructions NOT TO POST THE PHOTOS ON ANY SOCIAL WEBSITE.

In my previous post, you got a glimpse of the excellence that represented the organisation of the conference. I still have to tell you about the car, but please wait while I talk to you about the evening program on day 2 of the conference - which, for me, was the first day of attendance. They took all of us by a specially hired SAPTCO bus (the public bus service of the kingdom) to a place that was a long way off. We drove past busy city areas, reaching the more secluded airport area, and then went past that and drove for another forty-five minutes at a "convoy" speed, led by police cars and followed by many official and other cars. Finally, we reached the end of our journey at a place where one of the princes of the King has created a complete real-size replica of the original palace of King Abdul Aziz bin Saud. The replica is made with original constructing material, which is a mix of mud and some kind of lime, and spans over many rooms, alcoves, the royal kitchen, the sleeping rooms, the armoury, the towers, the school (which, incidentally, was the first school started in KSA), and several other utility areas. We were greeted by decorated camels mounted by professional camel riders. Then, we walked through an entrance lobby adorned with old clothes, ancient muskets and rifles, ceremonial clothes and many decorative items  to reach a huge "hall" with many pillows and seats set against all the walls. Here, they served us a glass of juice. There were many rooms leading off this central hall, and there were guides who took us on a tour through the entire structure. 

The welcoming camel

Traditional wall decor in the corridor leading inwards

A decorative door to an inner room

King Abdul Aziz bin Saud

A battle picture from the mid-forties of the last century

The central hall

The tall king stands among his soldiers at the battle-front

The ground plan of the replicated palace with nine watch towers

Tools of the kitchen

A bore-well in the center of the kitchen

The larder

The oven

I don't know, but they look like treasure boxes!

The arms at the bottom of a watch tower

The steps go up to the observation platform atop a tower

I get the opportunity to ride the camel to the party-dining area

This Japanese kid (son of a conf. delegate) is really living it up

The receiving area for the party with more scenery

The "royal" toilet for guests at the palace

An alcove within the toilet space

Traditional "qahwa" being made here (this is Arabian coffee)

Qahwa server

Photos of previous kings adorn the inner walls of the "majlis" (sitting room)

This and many other photos of the King or his prince with world dignitaries 
(Here, President Jimmy Carter)

Majlis ceiling

Majlis wall with arms

Super cool velvet decoration window
We visited the various rooms, and then, we were escorted outside, where a few among us got to ride the camels to go to the next entertainment area where we would be served the traditional Arabian coffee (known as the qahwa) and then be escorted through a replica of the old town of Riyadh. But, more of this in my next post.

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