Tabuk or Tabouk is one of the oldest cities in the world and exists since around 500 BC, then known as Taboo. Ptolemy (100 AD-ish) has mentioned a city “Tabawa” in the North-western corner of Arabia and the description pretty much matches that of Tabuk. It was a very popular route for the traders and pilgrims alike. It became famous after the Battle of Tabuk for which Prophet Muhammed PBUH went there. There are numerous archeological and religious sites in Tabuk like Wadi Dam, Well of Moses, Almond Mountain (Jabal Al Lawz) etc.
Plus, it has the most fertile soil in the whole of Saudi and there are a lot of fields and greenhouses strewn about on the way. And in winters, this places experiences snowfall! So naturally, it was on our bucket list since I first came to Saudi – a desert country.
We went to Tabuk a fortnight ago as a weekend getaway. We bought flight tickets during the low season and got a wonderful offer. Well, the domestic flights are quite small and cute. Our flight was pretty much the usual uneventful until we reached half way. That was when it started getting turbulent. Now I have sat in many flights and been through turbulence lots of times. But this turned out to be extreme. Maybe because the flight was small or there was a large quantity (?) of air pockets. Suddenly, in one such air pocket, we dropped down several meters suddenly and everyone gasped at the same time! The flight started wobbling and making noises, as if it were fighting against the wind. There were panicked shouts everywhere and fervent prayers on everyone’s lips. One passenger even had trouble breathing after that and he was provided with oxygen. Now, I don’t scare easy, but there is nothing much you can do if a flight is going down, except wait and hope. So, scared, I turned to my solace, T, and asked him quietly if turbulence can cause a flight to go down. He replied in the negative in his calmest voice and I was reassured and we both went quiet after that. Thankfully, we made it safely to the ground, although a bit shaken. Only once we landed, did he tell me that even he felt that this could very well have been our last flight. I could only nod my head in stupor, as somewhere inside, I knew what we both were thinking at that time. But anyway, the worst was over. We reached there Thursday night, got a rent-a-car and checked into a furnished apartment to sleep over the excitement. As Tabuk city is quite a small one, we decided to tour it on Saturday, and proceeded to a resort in Sharma the next morning.
Keep reading to find out what we did next….