It's about 45 minutes away from Al Quwayiyah and there's nothing but a couple of camps around it, so we decided to climb sans abayas.
We climbed up to the top to take a look around. I fell a bit behind because I chose to wear flip flops (I guess I wasn't thinking about going *up* the rock). Just as I reached the top, Some of the girls announced that a pick-up was headed our way.
We froze and hoped it would turn and go somewhere else, but it was coming for us. Ryan ran down to the bus to retrieve our abayas.
The white pick-up pulled up to the rock, parked and two men got out. Ryan was derailed from his abaya operation and was know speaking to the men. We crouched behind the protrusions, hoping not to be seen, heard or sensed in any way. Of course, our bus parked down below was a pretty obvious indicator that we were there. They asked Ryan what we were doing there. Were we throwing rubbish around? Were we carving 'cock and balls' into the cliff? And, most importantly, how did we get in?
You see, the entire formation is surrounded by a fence with a locked gate. We climbed through a sizable hole (that well predated us, for the record) in said gate. Not only were we "Saudi-naked," we were breaking and entering. The men didn't seem happy with the old "hole in the fence" answer. And, based on the tone and volume of their voices, they seemed to be getting less pleased by the second.
Unsure of what to expect (hopefully not a phone call to the police, or worse, the matawa), we continued to hide up on top of the rock. Samira (our lovely Yemeni IT teacher who was wearing her abaya, hijab and niqab) bravely went down to talk to them. Meanwhile, Ryan managed to get us a pile of abayas. But we were short Kirsten's, so she was trapped.
Luckily, that didn't matter. Samira convinced the men that we were not, in fact, misbehaving. Yes,we had come in through a hole in the fence, but we did not put it there. We were only looking at the glyphs, not making more. Then, she invited them for a tour of our schools sometime.
Apparently happy with this, they told her to contact them if we ever wanted a tour of the area. One of the men was the local Sheikh and he is "in charge of the rocks."
It's probably best not to wonder what could have happened without Samira (and Ryan's abaya rescue).
Instead, here are some pictures from our adventure (none of the pick-up truck men, though, I was too nervous to remember to take pictures of that).