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The modern hotel where I stayed in Riyadh was enclosed in its own compound. The high metal fence around it was superfluous for there is very little common crime in Saudi Arabia. Even now, thieves get their hands cut off if they get caught.
Our hosts invited us to an afternoon at the royal racetrack. In the first row of this picture are the Canadian ambassador, Mr. Joron, the minister of natural resources of Quebec and a Prince whose name I have now forgotten.
Arabians race arabian horses of course but they also race camels. I was astonished to see how fast these ungainly beasts can be.
Below on the left, a large mosque in the center of Riyadh and on the right, an Arabian child in a nearby oasis.
That's me going for a stroll in the same oasis.
Central Riyadh is very modern but some of its suburbs are more traditional.
A bird's eye view of the Al Hufuf oasis shows the jumble of twisting streets and lanes that make up the town surrounded by green plantations that soon give way to the endless sands of the desert.
Here is one of the production units of an oil field near Dammam (probably the huge Khafji field)..
Al Jubayl is a petrochemicals industrial center and oil shipping port a few km north of Dhahran-Dammam
Modern Dhahran, next to the older Dammam, is the home of the expat oilmen that do the actual work of running the country's oil industry. This is just one of the buildings of the University of Petroleum and Minerals. It is the only photo I brought back. A pity because there was also an extensive expat city that looked just like anywhere in Texas.
I did ask the butcher for his permission before taking this photo in the Dammam market but there was a "religious police" nearby and he angrily came at me as soon as he saw the flash. It was quite a scene with this old geezer screaming at me in arabic getting more and more excited as I tried to respond in english which he did not understand. Fortunately some bystanders took up my defense and I managed to slip away while he was busy arguing with them!