We travelled round the Middle East in 1980 and 1981.


The UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Sudan, and a few years later, Oman.
(See map on the Saudi Arabia page)

We visited most of the United Arab Emirates in June 1980 ....

Abu Dhabi Fort
Abu Dhabi Fort, apparently the only building in the city more than 20 years old.
Dubai Diera souk
Dubai Diera souk.
Dubai creek
Dubai creek.
Repairing dhows on Sharjah seafront
Repairing dhows on Sharjah seafront.
Sharjah New Souk
The 'new souk' in Sharjah.
Beach Hotel Ajman.
At the Beach Hotel in Ajman.
Ajman Fort
Ajman Fort.
Umm Al Quaiwain fort and mosque
Umm Al Quaiwain main square with fort and mosque.
Khor Fakkan harbour
Khor Fakkan harbour, in Fujaiera Emirate.
Sand dunes
The desert - sand dunes between Dubai and Al Ain.

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We drove to Doha in Qatar in July 1980 ....

Doha clock tower square
Clock tower square in Doha.
Doha harbour
Doha harbour.


One weekend in September 1980 we went from Riyadh to Bahrain by train and boat. On Wednesday we caught the 3pm train from Riyadh railway station to Dammam. The first-class fare was 30 Riyals each, the carriage was air-conditioned and comfortable and there was also a restaurant car.  We arrived at Dammam station in the centre of town about 10pm and stayed at the nearby Balamar Hotel, 225 Riyals for a double room. In the morning we got a taxi to Al Khobar seaport (20 Riyals) and got a dhow over to Manama in Bahrain. At that time there was a regular service twice a day, before the causeway from Saudi to Bahrain was opened in 1986 ....

Aboard the dhow from Khobar to Manama
The dhow had an engine, but otherwise was a genuine old-style wooden-built one. It cost 60 Riyals each (we paid the captain on board) and he didn't mind us taking photographs, in fact he wanted to be on one!
Manama seaport Bahrain
In Manama seaport.
Bab Al Bahrain
Bab Al Bahrain in Manama. We stayed at the excellent and central Delmon hotel who did a 'breakaway weekend' deal which was good value.
Ain Al Adhari Bahrain
The hotel organised a sightseeing tour of the island and we visited Ain Al Adhari (the Virgin's Pool) where local boys were diving in from a great hight .....
Bahrain Awali oil well
... and saw a 'nodding donkey' oil well. The direct flights back to Riyadh on Fridays were always booked up way in advance so we flew back via Dahran.


In February 1981 we drove up the gulf coast to Kuwait ....

Kuwait from porthole of SS Marriott Hotel
We stayed in the 'SS Marriott Hotel', formerly a cruise ship called the SS Santa Paula originally built in 1958 for the Grace Line, then berthed in Kuwait harbour. She was damaged by fire during the Iraqi occupation in 1990 and finally scrapped in 2002. This is a view of the city through our porthole.
Kuwait Towers
A closer view of the Kuwait Towers.
Magsab Gate Kuwait
Magsab Gate standing in splendid isolation with the remains of the city walls.
Kuwait post box
A colourful post box on Fahed Al Salim Street.
Desert Storm cafe Kuwait
I revisited Kuwait in 1996 after 'Desert Storm' to find the appropriately-named Desert Storm cafe in the souk ....
Kuwait bridge to Bubiyan Island
.... and the broken bridge to Bubiyan Island.


In March 1986 I came back briefly to Riyadh, the Emirates and Oman ....
 

Oman fish market
This is the fish market in Mutrah near Muscat, Oman.
Ship at Mutrah harbour
A rather leaky-looking ship at Mutrah harbour!
Muscat royal palace  
And the royal palace in Muscat.


In March 1981 we flew to Sudan for a weekend in Khartoum and Omdurman and stayed at the Grand Hotel (now the 'Grand Holiday Villa') on the banks of the Blue Nile ....

Nile Ferry Khartoum
Ferry on the Blue Nile at Khartoum.
Tuti Island Khartoum
Tuti Island, Khartoum.
Khartoum market
In Khartoum market.
Omdurman market
In Omdurman market.
Mahdi Tomb Omdurman
The Mahdi's tomb in Omdurman.
El Nile Mosque Omdurman
Sunset at El Nile mosque, Omdurman.



To see our other travels, click here ...... globe