Southwest Riyadh 1988-1989
- The edge of a water-worn mesa (cliff-sided plateau), accompanied by hardy acacia trees. This is the Tweig Escarpment on the edge of the Tweig mountain range.
- Tweig Escarpment.
- A dry waterfall. When it rains, this flash floods, and will become a thundering waterfall.
- A taller waterfall, and deep plunge pool. Seeing it in its normal dry condition, it is hard to picture what happens when it rains.
- One of many wild melons, growing from the water flowing beneath the surface.
- The ever-present, and normally hidden deathstalker (I think) scorpion. Its venom is the most powerful scorpion venom, powerful enough to kill a child.
- Closeup deathstalker scorpion.
- Wadis are intermittent rivers, that are normally visibly dry, but flash flood to become a powerful river whenever it rains. Given that it almost never rains, people do not realise how dangerous they can be, and cross or camp in them, and are killed when it unexpectedly rains.
- Despite the danger, wadis contain some spectacular scenery, as they carve through the beds of the surrounding landscape.
- A narrow wadi, with the riverbed clearly visible. The sides are also not safe, as they are undercut and collapsed by the floods. Their shape serves to funnel the water into the wadi quickly, while also making it very hard to climb out quickly.
- A larger wadi. Looks like a nice place to pitch a tent, perhaps?
- The water means that although this area looks barren, it is teeming with hidden life. I am not sure what this thing is, but it has wings like a juvenile locust, and bizzare spines on its abdomen. Whatever it is supposed to be, it is one ugly looking creature. I name it "Ubuntu".
- The long and winding road, that leads to the top of the mesa.
- Nearly at the top, with some buttes and hoodoos in the background.
- The view of the wadi from the top. Several longer lasting streambeds can be seen taking the water from the cliffs to the basin.
- A gecko on the mesa.
- Geckos and snakes are quite abundant in Saudi Arabia, and many house geckos (and cockroaches) will share your home, hiding behind curtains and posters.
The correct name for these formations is "buttes", but nobody seems to know that word, and most only know them as "those things in Monument Valley" (at least, those who know what Monument Valley is - if you don't know, try looking it up on Wikipedia; you will probably find that you know it already but just don't know its name). In addition, "buttes" is a really pathetic word for such awe inspiring formations, and "monuments" is much closer to doing them the justice they deserve.
- A little way south from the wadis, the orange sands of the desert are swept into rolling dunes.
- Behind the dunes and Bedouins, tall cliffs and scree slopes rise up to form a series of mesas, part of the Tweig mountain range on the edge of the Nejd plateau.
- The edges of the mesa break out into enormous buttes, rivalling those in Monument Valley, contrasting against the yellow and orange sands, and green fields.
- A truly beautiful picture; shepherds tending their flock, with the monument towering above the fields behind them.
- Making tracks.
- Leaving the mesa.
- Irrigation systems keeping the fields supplied with water. Even with this water supply, the heat ensures that the fields are still mostly barren.
- An abandoned adobe village at the edge of the valley, once supplied by the fields and irrigation, but not successfully, it would seem.
- The village, with some nearby houses that are still in use.
- Hall of pillars.
- As with much of the open country, the area is also home to camels, such as these deathtraps, looming out of the desert fog.