National Geographic : 1945 Oct
Guest in Saudi Arabia dare enforce such a safety measure. Wear ing a battle helmet, a Moslem could not touch his forehead to the ground in prayer. Not "safety first" but "Allah first" is the rule in Arabia. As we crossed a graz ing area, an Arab came running, his skirt in his teeth. Of course we stopped. We imagined that he was begging for a drink. Not so. He was thinking of his camels. A Royal Pilgrim from Baghdad He wanted to know whether we had found water in one of the string of cisterns we had just passed. These cisterns date from about A. D. 800 and are reputed to have been built for Queen Zo beidah, wife of Bagh dad's most famous ca liph, Harun al Rashid. The queen, who made several pilgrimages to Mecca, also had water ing places built at in tervals along her route. We had to report An Arab S that the reservoir bot- At Mahd Dhahab (C tom wias dry. Back Mining Syndicate. Th< trudged the camel by miners in Bible tim herdsman, pondering American machinery (p some other solution to his eternal problem of keeping his camels' emergency tanks full. Soon after, we were stopped by the drivers of a big truck, 150 miles from its destination and out of gas. Said wavy-haired Walters, newly arrived from Iraq, "These fellows put too much trust in Allah, who gave Arabia whole subterranean seas of oil but no filling stations." Our own gas ration did not provide for stranded trucks, but Twitchell gave the drivers enough gas to get them to Birka, where some other good Samaritan was almost sure to pass. He could carry their plea to Mecca or Jidda, and in a day, or a week, enough gas might arrive to get them home. Smile Creases a Swarthy Countenance Cradle of Gold) he is a foreman for the Saudi Arabian ere he and his men reworked waste material discarded tes. Now they drive new workings underground with age 469). On our last night at Mahd Dhahab, storm clouds hung black over the white-walled cabins. There was danger that we might be bogged down in the desert-in May! We did do some jeeplike puddle jumping amid the grass clumps. But we got safely back over the road which Twitchell had laid out with a pocket transit made in Denver. Trucks Arrive, but Camels Slog On As yet, this is the best road for its length in all Arabia. But with ample supplies of road-binding by-products available, Hofuf, Al Kharj, and Riyadh may soon be as well con nected with Ras at Tannura as Mecca is with Jidda.