Drag panorama to scroll
Milestone 15: Shoreline
On the pilgrim trail from Cairo to Mecca | October 29, 2013

Porcelain sky, indigo sea. A shore the color of weathered bone. The oldest of roads. Imprinted on brain, on skin, on wet sinew. Ticking with time. How we love these triptych horizons.

  • Milestone
  • Day
  • Mile
  • Coordinates
    27°1'14" N
    35°53'41" E
  • Elevation (ft)
Browse the interactive Map Room

Abdulaziz Salim al Bilawi

Private in the Saudi Arabian Border Guard (Coast Guard), Age 20

Who are you?

My name is Abdulaziz Salim al Bilawi.

Where do you come from?

I am from Duba.

Where are you going?

I work here. But I want to take a vacation. In the sea. Fishing. I grew up fishing. I was born to the sea. My father was a fisherman. My grandfather on my mother’s side was a fisherman. The sea is the place to go.

View more video Glances

Thirty-four tweets, thirty-one individuals, one bear. This sample represents just a small fraction of the tens of thousands of tweets posted and tagged near this Milestone location and within days of Paul’s visit. It reveals conversations about regional politics, international news, sports, religion, the beauty of nature, a mother’s love. Many of them were Islamic prayers, timed by special Twitter applications to be released at regular intervals, earning the individual “good deeds” for the afterlife.

In a country that has seen over 3,000 percent growth in social media usage in recent years, others tweeted about technology — from an iPad ruined by a baby brother, to the pros and cons of WhatsApp, Blackberry Messenger (BBM), and other messenger services. Women’s right to drive, a domestic debate in Saudi Arabia that has made international headlines recently, was a much-discussed topic. Most tweets voiced opposition. Along with issues great and small: a few photos of the Red Sea and the sun setting overhead.

Dispatches from the Field
via National Geographic

The Out of Eden Walk's journalism is produced in partnership with the National Geographic Society. Follow exclusive dispatches from the trail at outofedenwalk.nationalgeographic.com.