Arabian Vistas

hezaz mountains – saudi arabia

By Sept 2011 it had been more than seven months since I had left Libya.The civil war there was winding to a close .It was time for me to return to Benghazi.I had evacuated in a hurry in March 2011 and was anxious to get back to my job.

arabian desert

Kissing my bewildered son a midnight goodbye I presented myself at the immigration desk at Bengaluru international airport.After some fifteen minutes of patient explanation from me that I was going to Libya and not Liberia and hence did not need yellow fever vaccination I was let through.I and two of my friends boarded the Air Arabia flight to Alexandria.A low cost carrier and one has to pay for even water.I dozed off and got up just in time to see the plane descend into the desert city of Sharjah.I tried in vain to locate the cricket stadium ,the venue of many an epic India – Pakistan clash in the 80s and 90s.After a quick changeover of planes we were off to Alexandria.

port suez and the suez canal

The skies were clear and the landscape below was clearly visible.The desolate sandy Arabian desert stretched for hundreds of miles with a couple of oil installations the only signs of civilization.Crossing the rugged Hezaz mountains of Saudi Arabia we flew over the Red sea and the gulf of Aquaba.The lifeline of world maritime trade the Suez canal was next as we flew over Port Suez.As we reached Cairo the desert topography dramatically turned from brown to green.Not for nothing is Egypt called ‘the gift of the Nile’. For centuries this river has cradled this ancient civilization.Finally the blue of the Mediterranean was visible as we descended into the ancient city of Alexandria.The first leg of our journey back to Libya was over.

entering the nile delta – see how the desert greens
nile river – egypt
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