Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sand-storm hit Yanbu

On Thursday - 21st of February, Yanbu was hit by sand-storm... not so sure about other places in KSA... but I am so sure along the way from Yanbu to Mecca, the condition was so bad.
That morning, me and my family were getting ready for our umrah trip. As the house door was opened, we're shocked to see sand all over places..
[view from the front door]

Anyway, since that was our first sand-storm experience, we thought it was nothing... ok, sand everywhere, it must be blown by strong wind... and we started our journey..
[it looked like 'jerubu' in KL, wasn't it]

Not even 5 minutes driving, we saw the difference... It was hazy, a very bad haze... couldn't even see the sunshine.
[sunlight or moonlight?]

Sight vision becoming nearer and nearer... Hyper Panda / Dana Mall which is supposed to be seen clearly from the main road was not seen as usual..
[main road near Hyper Panda]

Then only we realized "OK.. this is for real - the real sand-storm". But being too naive about the sand-storm, we still continue our journey to Mecca, hoping that it was only in Yanbu.
But we're wrong... it was not getting better but worsen. Hubby could only drove as slow as 50-60 km/h. And at one point, not far from Meeqat Al-Jihfah, it was totally dark... could not even see a car in front until you're exactly behind it. It was nightmare... hubby tried to continue driving, but it seemed to be too dangerous when you can't estimate what's in front of you... so, we stopped by the roadside... then only we saw many lorries were there too... not good... not good... we're thinking, if these lorries dare not continue driving, there might be more lorries that will stop too... and if we're lucky enough to stop where there were no vehicle by the roadside, others might not be as lucky as we were... naughty thoughts started to mingle our mind... "what if ..." nauzubillah...
For our safety, hubby started driving again but at a very slow speed. However, after 1-2 minutes moving, we were stopped in a queue.. not knowing what's going on, I thought it was some kind of actions to reduced the sand-storm effect on drivers [how stupid..hehe] It was actually an accident, involving few lorries and cars. A bad one, I can say.. Just couldn't blame anyone, the spot was really badly affected by the sand-storm. There were even accident at the other side of the road too..
[stuck between lorries]

After Meeqat Al-Jihfah, the whether was a bit better... hazy just as in the morning when we left home.. Only at few areas that need to be extra careful..
[ lorry far in front - good sight vision]

Alhamdulillah, after about 6 hours of a scary-panic-nervous-journey (which normally only took 3.5 hours), we arrived Mecca safely after Azan Asar..

Lesson for the day : if you see sand covering most of your lawn, don't go anywhere!! stay in your house.. safe and sound.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My First Time

Today I wanna share some 'beautiful' moments that I have for the first time ever, in KSA..

1. sand storm
- yesterday (19 Feb 2008) for the whole day there was a sand storm in Yanbu... they called it storm but it was not like the rain storm we faced in malaysia.. To me, it was more like heavy fog, with short seeing distance (just like the 'jerubu' in Malaysia) .

our car going 'through' the storm

sand 'crossing' the road

beautiful view from one of the resort in Yanbu Bhar

strong wind with sand

2. Rain
- during this winter season, rain pouring in Yanbu quite a few times. The first time it rain, we're not in Yanbu. Nothing weird with the rain but as it is rare in KSA (and we ourselves have not seen rain since arrived..), we capture some photos..

view from my apartment

rain drops on the pathway

kids are enjoying the rains

3. R n R

- on 8 Feb 2008, we went to Madinah with another 2 families. Started journey at 8.00 am, we stopped by the road side to have breakfast.

[FYI, there's no RnR along the highway in KSA. However there are different versions of it, which I will write about it later as I managed to get the photos of them]

posing while breakfast

concentrate eating

ready to continue journey

Sunday, February 17, 2008

My Parents are here..

Finally, after 2 weeks of exhausting process of getting visa from Saudi embassy in KL, my parents are here in Yanbu. They arrived on 14 Feb. 2008, Thursday with Malaysian Airline Systems (MAS), MH 150, at 7.00 pm in King Abdul Aziz International Airport, Jeddah. Seeing them at the arrival terminal gave such a big relieved to me and hubby.
You never know how nervous we are from Monday 11/2/08, waiting for the visa to be approved. On Monday, the visa application was rejected because my birth certificate was not included. Birth cert is required to prove the parents-daughter relationship. Tuesday, the form was submitted again and it was ok. Unfortunetly, the officer to sign the approved visa was not in the office, meaning the visa is still partially-approved. Wednesday, same excuse - no officer. It seemed like there was no hope because if need to wait for Thursday and the flight is on the same day!! Praying hard for Allah to help ... and Alhamdulillah, our prayer was answered, the visa was signed ta about 1.00 pm. The travel agency contact person rushed to the airport to sent them to my parents, my parents (who was waiting nevously too - not having food from morning) rushed to the airport from Shah Alam and at the same time my brother was at the airport to check-in my parents names first.
Alhamdulillah, here they are in Yanbu... still having jetlag and adjusting their body clock..

...Alhamdulillah again and again and again...

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Additional Information (for visa application)

salam all,
since we are still receiving questions about the process coming to Yanbu, here is some additional information that might help you guys... these are the requirements from the Saudi Embassy in KL for the process of applying work visa and residence visa (for family).
By the way, do Bank draft from any banks in KL. We had experienced our application form being rejected just because the bank draft is from Bank Islam Ipoh.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Frustration Day

Frust - that is how I feel today. My parents visa application was not able to be processed today due to the system was down the whole day... Well, that was what we have been told by the travel agency.. Not be able to get visa meaning not be able to catch tomorrow's flight. And since Thursday and Friday are public holidays in Malaysia (Chinese New Year celebration), meaning the embassy's office will be closed until next Monday. That means, have to wait another 4 days.... Isn't that frustrating... !! One more issue need to be looked into is the flight tickets - need to be postponed as well... I was told that next available flight will probably be on coming Wednesday and of course need to pay the penalties due to the postponement.. Another 2 days extra - that will be a total of 6 days delay than original plan.. Double frustration !!! [If only the visa application was submitted earlier...]
.. Manusia hanya merancang, Allah jua yang mengizinkan ..