Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Hidden Valley

After three years, I found myself in Hidden Valley again. Not lost, mind you, but appalled at how much garbage had been thrown and graffiti had been written in the place through the years.

Let me backtrack a little... Hidden Valley is the next stop to a Red Sand weekend trip of Filipino family and friends in Riyadh. Remember this post I wrote about Red Sand three years ago? At the end of the entry, I promised a Hidden Valley entry next but much like missing Pink Tarha up next posts, I never got around to writing it. My sisters, who are visiting Riyadh for the first time, gave me another reason to visit the place and finally, as in finally, write about it.

We went to Red Sand last Thursday. The weather is perfect. It was a little bit cold for my liking but I like the sun's warmth when we were already climbing the hill. Nothing much has changed. There were lots of Filipinos and there were still the makukulit Saudi youth who kept doing acrobatics in the sand. One of them even removed his shirt and began chasing Filipinas wanting to give them a group hug! His friends subdued him (good for him because other Filipinos were already throwing him dagger looks). Anyway, after a while, we went to the Hidden Valley.

The path to Hidden Valley (mind the tires).
It's beginning to look like a construction site.

Not much has been said about the Hidden Valley (must be because it was hidden? Chos!). It's where most Filipinos have their picnic after walking up and down the red sand hills or riding ATVs. When we first went there in 2009, I was amazed with the rock formations surrounding the place. It creates a dramatic backdrop to a desert experience. Filipinos and other expats climb the rock walls and hills to get an amazing view of the dunes and Grand Canyon-like scenery afar.

A trail up to the sand mountain.
What I did not fail to notice though are the graffiti on the wall. Seriously? Must this be a wall of attendance or a bulletin board of love announcements?!

Are those writings on the wall? Trash on the floor?
I was expecting a better Hidden Valley this time knowing that this place is already an established picnic ground so visitors might have cleaned up after they eat or hang out on the place, right? After all, many expats come here and see this as somewhat like a tourist spot. Oooohkay, that thought bubble burst immediately when I saw the place again. It was dirty. Trash littered everywhere. 

Plastic everywhere!
The dry river bed running on the side (part of the Wadi Nissah), is filled with paper and plastic plates, plastic bags, empty cartons, mineral water bottles, chip bags, and a lot more.

If this dry river can talk...

If that river is not dry, it might have looked like Ilog Pasig by now. Plastic bags hung on the branches of the desert bushes. The walls were covered in more graffiti. Names of visitors were proudly displayed. As in talaga namang ineffort nila masyado ang pag-akyat at pagsusulat! I wonder how they did that. Spiderman much?! Did they bring paint just to write on the rock walls?!

There are more to these on other walls, kaloka!
The sisters were snickering. "This is a tourist spot? You brought us here to see trash?," they said laughing. I was embarrassed. "It was better before!" I claimed. To somewhat steer them away from the trash-filled scene, I told them to pose making the rock formations and mountains as their background. Those magnificent rock formations are salvation.

You're still here! :)
Closer, closer...

I must admit I didn't begin picking up trash right there and then if I'm THAT concerned. However, we all know that there's no excuse in not disposing trash properly. A lot of Filipinos go in Hidden Valley and in Red Sand; make it picnic grounds, even take naps on carpets under the desert bushes. There are no official caretakers of this place. I think only us Filipinos and some other expats know of these places as tourist spots (Saudis usually go to Thumamah for their desert camping trips). Let this quote be our reminder, not only when we go around Saudi Arabia, but when we go everywhere: "Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time."

With that, have fun exploring Saudi Arabia! :)

Much Love,

1 had something to say:

Mumkin Pumpkin said...

It's very sad to see those rubbish scattered around hidden valley. I hope that Filipinos stop doing vandalism hindi sila cute, masyado papansin. This is the Google map coordinates if you want to visit Hidden valley 24.313536,46.327129

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