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 withTRhotel.jpg (28891 bytes) 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 door. He 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, were 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.

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The next 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.

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What I found is covered in only four pictures.  Where it all ended up in only two !

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The 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.

In the 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.

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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.
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     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 storiesTRemir2.jpg (28250 bytes)  of things we remembered from the past.
  He told me that he now had a new compound north of the pipeline road and
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 hadTRemir.jpg (30034 bytes) arrived in Turaif.   His housing compound is very large with much green  
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 belt.                                                                                   TRsaleh.jpg (31185 bytes)

After I returned to the hotel to get ready for the dinner given in my honor that evening
had a nice surprise, Saleh F. Yassir who used to work in the Turaif Messhall was waiting
for me.  Saleh was well known by all Turaif residents because he always approached
everybody with a smile and was always ready to help.

The 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.

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TRdinner6.jpg (34162 bytes)

I 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 proper name.

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The 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 license plates:
                                                                 " You have a friend in Pennsylvania "

                                                To all expatriate Tapliners I can say: " You have a friend in Saudi Arabia. 



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