Fancy a wedding—not to get married yourself, but to watch the ceremony in a hall in Dhahran? Or how about sampling a dark rice-and-fish dish called sayadiyah that’s famous in Yanbu‘ on the kingdom’s west coast? Or perhaps you’d like to scramble up a majestic dune at Shaybah?
All those things—and much more—happened at the fifth Expatriates Reunion in March. I got to go along with fellow retirees for the latest issue of Al-Ayyam Al-Jamilah. The accompanying daily “photo album” highlights some features of our “Rediscover the Kingdom” trip.
This was the fourth reunion I’ve covered, dating back to 2009. It was the longest reunion ever—two weeks—and it offered more trips than any other. Along with Yanbu‘, places on the “menu” included Riyadh, al-‘Ula, Jiddah and Abha.
The Eastern Province also figured prominently in the program: al-Hasa, Tarut Island, Qatif, Ras Tanura, al-‘Uqayr, Qurrayah, Shaybah … and Dhahran and al-Khobar, of course.
The reunion put us back in touch with our old home for a brief but magical time. It also showed new sides to a country—and company—that many hadn’t visited since the last reunion, in 2019.
No doubt, even more dramatic changes will have been birthed by the time the next reunion rolls around, in 2027.
My thanks and congratulations go out to tireless Ali Baluchi and his equally tireless, adroit team for setting up and managing a wonderful reunion. This one, the 93-year-old says, is his last (of five, dating back to the first, in 2000) as leader. It’s likely my final one, too.
It’s been a pleasure to journey with so many good fellow travelers over the years, grace of Saudi Aramco. Reunion ‘23 was one more piece of what’s been a remarkable trip, one I hope is reflected in these photos.
March 1 Qatif and Tarut March 2 Welcome Lunch, Ambassador Visit March 3 Shaybah March 4 Yanbu March 5 Uqayr, Qurayyah And Weddings March 6 Ithra, Reun. House, Des. Design, Abdul Majid Pk. March 8 Al-Maha Ranch, Safari Baqiq Show March 9 RT Community and SAEA Desert Dinner March 10 Al-Ula March 11 Riyadh March 12 Riyadh March 13 Farewell and School March 14 Al-Hasa March 16 Reunion Appreciation Dinner