Yeah. Sorry. I don’t find it that exciting.
Mostly it’s a pain in the rear because the only time I know it’s the king is when I get stuck in traffic due to his caravan transiting through rush hour traffic. I have a great deal of empathy for the people who live in, and drive in, Washington, D.C. Probably, it’s the same in any capital city.
Today was a perfect example of what happens when the King passes by on the road.
There’s a huge interchange near where my compound is located. The North Ring Road runs east-west across the top of the city, toward Dariyah in one direction and Dammam in the other direction. The East Ring Road runs north-south, toward Al-Kharj in the south and King Khalid International Airport to the north. Just to the north of the interchange is the exit for the road that goes to Jenadriyah (remember that).
This afternoon, after leaving work, I aimed toward the compound using one of my several routes between work and the compound. This one takes me along the North Ring Road as I near my residential compound. Today, I wanted to go to the pharmacist in Grenada Mall and get some antibiotics (you can buy amoxicillin OTC) for this nasty sinus infection I’ve been nursing this week, which simply won’t go away. There’s a shortcut you can take that avoids the traffic on the freeway by running along the service road to the turnaround that takes you back to the other side of the freeway and the mall. As I veered off to do just that, I realized that the traffic for the curve off to the freeway was backing up, and the curve I would have taken to get to the compound was blocked by police. I knew immediately one of the royal family was passing by. And, sure enough, the other side of the freeway was completely – and I mean completely – empty.
As I neared the turnaround, a police car with flashing lights went speeding by in the empty lanes, and I knew everyone else would not be far behind. Maybe 30 seconds behind the first cars, solid black SUVs (I never get close enough to tell if they’re HUMMERs, but that is what I think they are) went whizzing by…then…came…the HUUUGGGEEE tricked out bus…followed by more SUVs…a fire truck…an ambulance…another HUUUGGGEEE bus…more SUVs….and another cop car bringing up the tail.
That is how the King of Saudi Arabia travels. He was either on his way to the Royal Airport, which I don’t think was the case; or, he was on his way to his horse ranch just outside of Jenadriyah, which is much more likely. That’s where he takes important visiting dignitaries, like the US president or the Brazilian president (who visited just the other day). I think the second bus must be for his wife and her entourage.
Oh, I forgot the two helicopters overhead.
A bit ostentatious, but it gets him from one place to the other.