We arrived in Turaif after dark and went to the Al Mudwah hotel which
is located about 800 yards from the junction pipeline road
and the "new" road to Qurrayat. The hotel looks nice and it
was quite busy with people who were
passing through from the Eastern Province and beyond
for the holidays and or homes in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. The room consisted
of two large bedrooms, a small lounge and a large bathroom.
The grond floor of the building is used by the Ambulance Service, a small restaurant owned
by Daifallah, two other shops and a branch of the Riyad bank.
The next morning Daifallah passed by and we had breakfast in his restaurant next
also gave me a car so I could drive to wherever I wanted to go.
We drove to the station to have a look around, I was curious but apprehensive at
the same time. The Customs facilities have
not changed very much. Opposite is the enlarged Aramco Bulkplant and next to it
is a new Ministry of Agriculture building.
As soon as we passed these buildings one look was enough to tell me that Turaif
Station had ceased to exist, except for some of the industrial buildings and the
Community Center. The Office looked different than it was when we left Turaif in
1986 as did the Storehouse and Central Shops. I would have thought that the
Quanset buildings would have disappeared, but they are still there albeit empty.
The contents of the E & I Shop, including the steps that led to the Mezzanine floor,
moved to Badanah. From CMS only some of the equipment was moved, some
lathes and other machinery that were excess to future requirements were sent to
Aramco. The Garage with its few pieces of machinery moved as well.
thing to take a look at was the Housing area. Daifallah gave me some pictures
which he took in
1997 just before all of the buildings were torn down. Only the C.C. Building is
still standing ,everything else ended up in a heap of rubble south and downhill of the
crude oil tanks.
What I found is covered in only four pictures. Where it all ended up in only
Pumphouse is empty, not only have both turbines been removed, the BJ pumps were
removed as well.
All of the piping appears to be intact. Pictures of the turbines being removed
can be found in the Picture Gallery.
afternoon when everybody had their siesta, I drove down the Gurrayat road
as far as the dry lake where I used to fly my model airplanes. There are many gas
stations alongside the road and the town stretches quite far down that road as
well. The expansion of the town has progressed well past the camel trough. Quite
a change from the early fifties when we hunted gazelle in that same area !
Later in the afternoon Daifallah came back to show me some of the pipeline
repairs that were made when the line was decruded. The major problem was
internal corrosion caused by the water that had separated from the long
stationary crude and had collected in the low spots. The following picture is
taken near Km. 737 where the many small pinhole leaks were simply banded
with narrow bolt on bands. At this particular location there were fifteen bands
in all ! At other locations damaged line sections were cut out and
replaced by flanged spool pieces.
When we returned to Turaif we
stopped at Daifallah's house where I met his two grand children.
After drinking tea and looking at some old photographs we drove around the
new sections of Turaif town. The new houses are well built and it is
obvious that some planning controls are in place.
The new industrial area is on the east of town and we ended up
in the area where all the
garages and spare parts shops are located. There we stopped at what
was known as the Zayyoud parts shop. The person in that shop is my good friend
Al Khal and it was a pleasure to see him after so many years. I did miss the
little stools he used to have in front of the old shop on the main road just
past the old Khodari garage. Many times I used to sit there drinking tea with Al
Khal and some of the other Tapline employees.
Once back in the hotel, Kamal Hran was waiting for me and we decided to pay our
respects to the
Emir of Turaif,H.E. Farez Nijr Al Othaybe. He was very pleased to see me
and recall stories
of things we remembered from the past.
He told me that he now had a new compound north of the pipeline
about 4 km. from the station. He was free that evening and invited us to come
and visit him.
We obliged and had an enjoyable evening, he asked me if I had spoken to my wife
and he picked up the phone and called her. Anne was very much surprised of
course but also pleased to hear that I had
arrived in Turaif. His housing compound is very large with much
and many trees around. The water coming from a well on the property.
When we left he made me promise to come back to Turaif for another visit so that
I would not forget the many friends I obviously had right here after living here
for so many years.
The next day was spent just going around town and we paid a visit
to some of the shops we all knew, like Abu Tabeeg who unfortunately was not
there. Hamad Khamees was in his shop, located further down the road than
his old shop. He showed me the bakery next door, belonging to one of his twelve
sons. It was running full blast and an seemingly unending stream of fresh Arabic
bread coming from the oven via a conveyor
After I returned to the hotel to get ready for the dinner given in my honor
had a nice surprise, Saleh F. Yassir who used to work in the Turaif Messhall was
for me. Saleh was well known by all Turaif residents because he always
everybody with a smile and was always ready to help.
dinner that evening was a success, Fahat B. Al Anizi and Ashraf Ali came from
Badanah and there were other ex employees who I had not yet met. The following
pictures were taken after dinner when we had the traditional coffee.
must explain that the first picture is of an ex-employee who left Tapline back
in the early 70's. Dughayem worked in Turaif Storehouse for many years and was known
to all by the name of "Texas". Some of the old timers may remember
that we had several employees who had acquired names, another employee in Turaif
Storehouse was known by the name of "Jackson". His real name
was Abdel Mohsen.
Many years ago I asked Abdel Mohsen how he got that nick name
and he told me that it was given to him in the very early days at Ras El Mishaab
because the construction people had trouble pronouncing or remembering his
next morning we had scheduled my departure for Amman for 10 AM. Kamel Hran, Ali
Farhan, Daifallah and several other old employees came by to tell me Good Bye.
For me it was an emotional moment because during the trip I realized that
Tapline had played such an important part in the lives of us all, not only
because it provided employment but equally important it made us a part of one
big international family. This trip proved that very clearly.
It is a pity that quite a few of that "family" were not in the area at
the time of my visit.
As with everything
else, I did have no say in the transportation from Turaif to Amman. Ateek
Ghanim was in true form and accompanied me in the taxi ride to Amman.
During the taxi trip I remembered the slogan on the Pennsylvania car
" You have a friend in Pennsylvania "
To all expatriate Tapliners I can say: " You have a friend in Saudi Arabia.