17-Oct-2003 -- We planned visiting at least three Confluences (29N 45E, 28N 45 E and 27N 45 E) as the part of the kickoff winter season of 2003 during the weekend of the 15th October 2003, before the Holy Month of Ramaḍān (Muslim fasting month) commenced. The total round trip would be about 2000 km from al-Khubar since the available Confluences are now way beyond 600 km from here. The two families travelling out on this adventure would be the Brays and the Mahmoods.
Although disappointed of not reaching the Confluence 28N 45E, we were happy of knowing that we gave our best shot at it. It was Maġrib (sunset) time when we hit the tarmac road at Samuda again. We headed towards the village of Umm Jamājim, where we planned to camp nearby. It took us less than 3 hours to get there. Having literally travelled the whole day, we were just simply too exhausted to attempt to find a camping spot, so instead chose to sleep at the "Turkey Hotel", the best hotel in town. The manager (cum cleaner/chef) even had to evacuate some people in the rooms! In any case, having our own bedding helped to us to have a comfortable night's sleep.
Early next morning (having been awakened by a noisy cockerel) after a breakfast of Shaikh-Shukh (omelette) and tea, we headed off road towards the town of Mišlaḥ. The terrain was a mixture of gravel, rocky, and sandy. We had to circumnavigate some of the dunes of the al-Dahnā', but managed to keep on track towards the Confluence. We passed the only Bedouin camp we have seen during the whole weekend, and were amazed at just how the sheep they were rearing managed to survive in this desolate place. Anyway, we reached the gravel plains comfortably, in which the Confluence rested.
Once again the area surrounding the Confluence was nondescript. After having a short rest at the Confluence, we headed directly south towards the village of Jirab. On the way we saw at least three large Dhubbs (Ḍabb, Uromastix spinipes, spiny tailed desert lizards), which bolted into their burrows as soon as we approached them. Our futile attempt at catching one of them ended up only seeing a tiny baby Dhubb crawl out of the burrow. We named this area (north of Jirab) as the Valley of the Dhubb. Further on, we had to criss-cross dried up wādiys strewn with the bitter Ḥanẓal (Citrullus colocynthis, apple sized, but looking more like a miniature water melon). We arrived at Jirab and were glad to be on the tarmac again! The roads led us towards al-Arṭāwiyya and then from there we travelled south to al-Majma`a where we had a wonderful Saudi style lunch of stone barbequed chicken. From here we headed back to al-Khubar as the sun was going down.