Matt Heggli

Joined March 2015
  • Day24

    Back in Riyadh

    April 16 in Saudi Arabia

    We returned to Riyadh on Friday. Our team member abdul wadood insisted we come to his house for lunch. His wife made us a feast. It was great seeing him, greeted by his 4 kids. The 16 month old was adorable , seen in the 1st picture did not want to leave his side. She loved interacting with me.

    On Saturday I found the Starbucks cup/logo for emilie, then at night I found a burrito while walking around oliyah st (Riyadhs 5th avenue). You can see the kingdom tower behind me in purple lights.

    On Sunday we had successful meetings with the ministry followed by an Egyptian lunch with the Egyptian team members
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  • Day21

    Ar Rass and the crew

    April 13 in Saudi Arabia

    Another long day but we are that much closer to our return to Riyadh. Only one nearby wadi survey and then a 5 hour drive. We should have a days rest before we prepare a meeting with the government then we get the crew back together for one last wadi install as the government watches. We had a unique crew this trip and thought I would introduce them.

    The first picture is my driver and leader of the hired crew, "Prince" Ramiz. He Is from jordan and not actually a Prince. He comes from one of the largest families in Jordan. We would talk about the powerful Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi and I soon started calling him Prince of Jordan. He Would laugh so his nickname became "Prince".

    The second picture is Abdul wadood of Yemen. One of the happiest (side note, auto correct tried to spell hottest, haha), nicest and hardest working individuals I have met in Saudi. He moved from Yemen 7 years ago. He hopes to move to the USA as with his wife and 4 kids. His best friend lives in North Carolina, near virginia. He was the guy I could always rely on.

    The third picture is our two Sudanese workers who were in the large equipment truck. Ahmed, on the left was nice but always tried to sleep when we got to our job site. He would sleep on the ground under the bridge or in his car if there was no bridge. He would be constantly woken up when we needed him, until yesterday when he refused to work. On the right side of the picture is Abdul Wahab. Very nice guy and hard worker. He would get upset alot, but in a non threatening way. It was kind of comical like when a kid would act up.

    Though it did not start out smooth, we found our groove and somehow this unique group of individuals were able to work somewhat efficiently by the end
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  • Day20

    Last wadi before Riyadh

    April 12 in Saudi Arabia

    Yesterday was a long day. We surveyed 2 wadis and the team repaired one that had been vandalized. Ended up being a 15 hour day.

    Today we woke up in Hail, installed our last wadi before we return to Riyadh. We should be back tomorrow. This also means I was able to move my return flight to April 19th, following some wrap up meetings with the client. Sorry I didn't take any exciting pictures. The first 2 is the vandalized site.

    Let me know over the next week if there is anything you are curious about or want me to take a picture of
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  • Day19

    Taif and more rain

    April 11 in Saudi Arabia

    Last night we stayed in Taif, the 7th hotel in 7 days. It was not a successful day. Came across more rain and more wadis full of water. I normally i welcome the rain, but it is dreaded for this type of work. We continue to move on because we cannot wait around until the rain stops or wadis drain. Fortunately my team has been training well and will return to these locations at a later date. The last picture is the one that amazed me the most. I installed this station 2 years ago. Since that date, the sedinentation has risen the ground level across the channel by 3+ ft.

    Today we have a long drive as we strive to survey one location along a 550 mile drive north to Hail.
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  • Day18

    Al Khurma

    April 10 in Saudi Arabia

    Kind of crazy day so here it goes. Arrived at the wadi yesterday to see it was really muddy. We went down to evaluate it, telling our equipment truck to wait on the bridge. They didn't listen and get stuck. We drive to near by construction site to ask to use their loader, they refuse. We are in the middle of nowhere, so we find a small village a few miles away. We track down a man that owns the village loader. After a few minutes of the father/son duo playing good cop bad cop on the price we strike a deal. They remove the truck from the wadi. The guy then tells us that every year the water beaches the wadi bridge. This is a huge problem because it would destroy the equipment. So we move on to the next station while making phone calls on what to do about that wadi. We drive 2 hours to the location of a climate station. We finish it as the rain starts.

    When we finish we are uncertain about tomorrow. Will we get approval to install back at that wadi or do we move on. So we position our crew where the equipment truck stays put, relatively close to the wadi and we move north so that no matter the decision we still have a productive day, though it may be a longer day. We arrived at Al khurma, a town I was told had only one hotel, which usually isn't a good thing. Upon arrival the power went out in the town. It makes it interesting walking up 3 flights of stairs in the dark. After the lights came on, requesting them to change the sheets, another power outage, I was finally settled in.

    Not sure if I made any sense in telling that story. Oh well, off to another day
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  • Day16

    Rain rain go away

    April 8 in Saudi Arabia

    Today started out slow since we had to meet with the local ministry to find a suitable location for a climate station. This meant rather than starting the day at 6am we had to wait until the ministry opened at 8am. An Arabic coffee, a cup of tea and 1.5 hours later they provided us 3 potential locations. 2 hours of driving around we had our site. What is odd is the site we ended up installing at was the 2nd most suitable location. The best location they told us we could not install at. I am still confused why they even showed us that site if we weren't allowed to install there.

    We were able to get the station 1/2 way installed when we were hit with hail and then on and off rain. We would jump in and out of the truck when the weather would break, often for less than 5 minutes at a time. This continued for about 3 hours. Notice the ground in the 1st picture compared to the 5th picture.

    I also find the first picture comical. If you look at the detail, I have 4 one handed workers. Tonight we are staying 30 minutes north east from last night, in Al Aqiq.
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  • Day15

    Flash Flood

    April 7 in Saudi Arabia

    My last post I posted too soon. Shortly after i posted, while we were driving to our hotel we hit some of the largest downpours I have seen in Saudi. We were on some back roads and came across flooded sections of the road. One of the more significant flash floods I posted a picture of. As we were winding our way through the mountains and along the wadis it was neat to see water in them and see locals flock to the stream. It was more people than I'd ever seen out and about in these rural areas. They were wading in it, taking pictures and picnicking near it. This is the 3rd rain event we have come across this trip, fortunately we have always been finished with our day when they occur.

    Today we installed one wadi and attempted a climate station, which had poor site selection at the peak of a mountain. As you can see in the pictures the view wasn't bad though. We are now in Al Baha
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  • Day14

    Stuck in the sand

    April 6 in Saudi Arabia

    It's Friday! Surprisingly my team was willing to work today. I was better prepared with food this friday since I knew everything would be closed until after noon. I bought a pizza last night at pizza hut(the same pizza hut we got kicked out of a few years ago by the Haya, the religious police) and only ate half, saving the rest for morning.

    The day started out with some extra obstacles as both our trucks got stuck in the wadi. We found some wood planks to put under the tires of the small truck to help get grip. The big truck we had a backhoe tow it out. Not sure who they knew to call but it showed up. After that delay we were able to knock out the station in about 5 hours, then we installed a rainfall station. Tonight we are staying in Sabt Alalayah, west of BishaRead more

  • Day13

    Tathleeth

    April 5 in Saudi Arabia

    Yesterday we installed the wadi station where there was water and then we drove north for 2 hours to Tathleeth. So far our trip has been pretty good when in comes to lodging. 3 of the first 4 locations we have been able to stay in a hotel for multiple nights and all have been decent places. Tathleeth is the start of the grind where we will be in 11 different hotels in 11 days. The hotel in tathleeth wasn't bad compared to what I have stayed in the past, though the bed sheet was more of a box spring lining without any mattress pad. So I decided to sleep on top of the mattress.

    Today we set out with the ambitious goal of installing 2 wadi stations that were 35 minutes apart and in route to tonight's lodging in Bisha. The first wadi went well. The team has been catching on quick. This allowed me to focus on surveying, allowing them to work on the scaffolding, as you can see in the pictures. Our Sudanese driver of the equipment truck you can see trying to nap whenever he wasn't needed. It was nice to take a day off from working on the scaffolding. The 2nd wadi we drove to and there was no wadi. They had the wrong coordinates. Fortunately it is near tonight's hotel so we will try in the morning.

    On a side note, Devon would like the shower I in my hotel tonight because it truly makes sense to pee in the shower (picture explains it)
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  • Day11

    Asir

    April 3 in Saudi Arabia

    We set out today to install a wadi station but we had rain last night. What are the odds. At least we were able to check to see if our newly installed rain gauge worked. That location got a whole 1.4mm of rain. When we arrived at the wadi, there was standing water which would have made it extremely difficult to install. Rather that waste a day we went to install another climate station. This location is in the high desert, just over 7800ft elevation and the furthest south we will be.Read more

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