Although I pride myself in being an educated woman, probably like most people living in the United States, I never imagined a beach vacation or time on the water with Saudi Arabia was possible. With images of “Lawrence of Arabia” or some random desert movie in your head, many people probably associate camels with Saudi Arabia more than water. When I had the chance to visit last December, was I ever in for the surprise of my life. Who would’ve thought that you could ever see an image like this one in Saudi Arabia? But it’s true, you can enjoy a leisurely day at the beach or ride a jet ski and still be in KSA. How cool is that?
Our host was kind enough to take us to “the Creek” otherwise known as Ob’hur Creek or Sharm Obhur. Reaching 27 km from the old city center, this expansion of the modern city provides an alternative to the hustle and bustle of everyday city living. Upon arrival to the marina, we jumped out of the car with anticipation as the heat was already getting to us and looked forward to a few hours on a boat with cool breezes.
Where else can you look at the incredible back drop of Saudi Arabia with its amazing architecture and beautiful sculptures that line the highways while taking a leisurely day trip on a boat in the Creek? Feel like something more adventurous? Jump on a jet ski or do some diving in the Creek as it extends all the way out to the amazing Red Sea. I was completely content with sitting on the boat with my camera and taking pictures of the water, the houses that line the Creek, and the many people on their boats and jet skis clearly enjoying themselves as much as we were. I couldn’t have asked for a better day and never imagined a way that we could top the Creek.
But wait – there was a way to top it and that was by spending a day at the beach. An amazing beach for foreigners, we were one of only two sets of people there on that particular day so we had the beach pretty much to ourselves. Our driver took us there and got us in and then we were able to sit back and relax at the beach. The beach we went to had palapas to sit under and many, many beach chairs so there was certainly enough room to lay out and enjoy ourselves.
If I showed you this picture and didn’t tell you where it had been taken, you might say it was a Caribbean island or maybe even Mexico. I sincerely doubt anyone would guess a beach in Saudi Arabia and that is what I loved the most about it! Beautiful soft sand, crystal clear blue water, and yet you are in Saudi Arabia. There were a few people windsurfing and making their way around the area at a quick pace.
My husband, the overachiever, felt it necessary to swim out to this little island some ways off from the beach. I think you might be able to see his head bobbing near the island’s edge. He said it was a lot harder than it looked as the current was quite strong so I was glad that he is an excellent swimmer. We love the water no matter where we travel throughout the world so to have the opportunity to swim in the Red Sea was just another opportunity to cross something off our to-do list while enjoying an amazing day at an unexpected beach spot.
Seeing these pictures I hope will make you think of places that you might otherwise have already made judgements about, either from your own upbringing and education or from the media, and maybe open your mind to all of the possibilities that foreign travel can bring to your life. If we travel to the same places every year and do the same things over and over, how do we really enrich our lives? By getting out there and meeting new people and visiting new places, we truly open ourselves up to incredible possibilities! Let me know if you agree or disagree and while you’re at it, why not share some of the unexpected places where you’ve visited?