Sri Lankan envoy to leave Kingdom as tenure ends
Sri Lankan envoy to leave Kingdom as tenure ends
In an interview with Arab News, the former mayor of Colombo expressed his sadness in bidding farewell to the Kingdom after an eventful year. He credited government officials, members of the diplomatic corps and community members for the success of his stay in Saudi Arabia.
“I am thankful to all those who contributed to facilitate my work as ambassador to serve the community and promote bilateral relations”.
Despite the envoy’s brief tenure in the country, he played an instrumental role in the relocation of the Sri Lankan Embassy to a spacious complex in Sulaimaniyah last week.
Under Mohamed’s initiative as ambassador, the embassy established a mission to achieve several important tasks such as the preparation of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the councils of chambers and industry of both countries, the exemption of the Sri Lankan International School of Riyadh from the Nitaqat program and to initiate the provision of aid to Sri Lanka from the Saudi Fund For Development.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted a farewell lunch for the outgoing ambassador at its headquarters recently. As a symbol of appreciation and gratitude for his services to the Sri Lankan community, members had organized a farewell for Mohamed in a hotel in Riyadh.
The largest concentration of Sri Lankans, out of the country’s 1.5 million expatriates working in the Middle East, is found in Saudi Arabia totaling 550,000 people.
Height of adventure: Treading the ‘Edge of the World’ near Riyadh
- Cliffs in Tuwaiq were formed as a result of the movement of the Arabian plate toward the northeast because of the spread of the Red Sea rift
- Several prominent Saudi tour companies offer daylong excursions to the site
Thrill seekers and fitness gurus all over the Kingdom will be pleased to know that their choices for weekend activities have increased.
Several tour operators in Riyadh have started offering trips to the area known as the Edge of the World, making the location more accessible than ever.
With the country’s obesity rates on the rise and many citizens growing more concerned about their physical health and stress levels, people are seeking ways to maintain their fitness without having to restrict themselves to the monotony of a gym routine.
One such solution that has steadily increased in popularity over the past year is hiking, which many have embraced as being much more exciting and fulfilling than spending hours on the treadmill. And most popular of all for hiking and other fitness activities in a natural setting is the magnificent landmark of Jabal Fihrayn, more commonly known as the Edge of the World.
Described as a “window framed by rock,” the Edge of the World offers stunning views of the valley below, a lush grove of acacia trees teeming with wildlife and vegetation. The spot is well-known for being a favorite of visiting picnickers.
Hikers can choose from several trails of varying levels of difficulty, making their way to the top of the Tuwaiq escarpment to take in the magnificent views at the top of the trail, where the colossal cliff faces drop off to reveal the dizzying height from the valley below. In addition to the rich wildlife unique to the location, you can also find samples of fossilized coral and raw mineral deposits in certain areas of the valley.
The cliffs in the areas were formed as a result of the tectonic movement of the Arabian plate toward the northeast because of the spread of the Red Sea rift situated 1,000 km to the west of Tuwaiq.
Due to the increasing popularity of the site, the authorities have built a hardtop that leads to the gates of the sites and arrangements are in place to protect the area and its natural treasures.
Several prominent Saudi tour companies offer daylong excursions to the site. The more intrepid explorer also has the option to go alone; though past visitors recommend that solo travelers take an all-terrain, 4x4 vehicle and extra precaution. Visitors can spend the day at the site and leave before 6 p.m. (when the gates are closed for the night) or stay behind for a night of camping to enjoy the sunset and the breathtaking celestial views of a star-studded night sky.
Nora Alfard, amateur hiking enthusiast and two-time visitor to the location, was quick to offer praise about her trip.
“The trip out there was a bit tiring, but totally worth it,” she said. “The views are stunning, and the hiking itself is not that difficult. Most people should be able to make it to the top without too much trouble.” She said she was likely to go a third time, and encouraged others to do the same.
The Edge of the World is roughly 100km northwest of Riyadh, about 1.5 hours’ drive from the capital. Visitors should be prepared for at least 30 minutes of hiking, possibly more depending on your trail and your level of fitness and experience. Previous visitors recommend bringing water and snacks, and stress the importance of dressing appropriately — hiking shoes only!