Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Update and Interview

Hi, We have been dead for quite a while now, not uploading anything or doing much except for post the weekly image on our insta, which has been due to 2 reasons:
  • Wordpress is a much harder site to use than I originally expected it to be and I have spent several hours simply trying to understand the template and the ways to program our page on this site.
  • We have been busy, more or less and it has affected our gigs.
So, we apologize for not uploading any content in quite a bit
In other news, we also landed an interview with The Bohemian Blog which you can view here.
I would say that it went well and the author is surprisingly good at it, even though he said that it was his first time interviewing a group. Do have a look at the interview and check his page out.
We will be uploading more content soon.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

We have a new site!

We at WATA have decided to move over to a new site due to a better UI and more customization.
At this point, This blog is effectively closed. Our new site is:

The posts from this site will also be exported there. 

Thursday, 28 July 2016



Urban exploration (noun) (often shortened as urbex or UE)  
 is the exploration of man-made structures, usually abandoned ruins or not usually seen components of the man-made environment.

 The only picture we could find where all of us are together, apologies for the bad quality.

We are a group of Urban Exploration enthusiasts living in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. 
The name "WATA" is a collection of our initials. Though we started as a group of 4(hence the name), due to personal reasons, 2 of the initial members do not go Urban exploring with us anymore, hence, it is often just TA more than WATA. Exploration done by the full group will be signed by WATA, if done by just 2, it will be signed in a similar fashion. I, A2, handle the blog and the other domain( I will get to that in a minute). 

Our instruments of choice for exploration include, but are not restricted to:
  • Nikon D3200 with 18-55 mm standard lens
  • Manfrotto mini tripod
  • Canon 1000D with 18-55mm standard lens
  • Speedlite EXII
  • 2 Mediocre Flashlights
  • SPERIAN N95/N9105 Particle filters
  • Caterpillar gloves
  • Of course, basic knowledge of the locations and what to expect, etc.
Though we are relatively limited our instruments and locations to visit compared to the Urban explorers from other regions around the world, our ambition is not. I quite reckon that we are one of the (possibly) 2-3 dedicated urban exploration groups in this entire region.
We abide by the rules of Urban exploration worldwide, most importantly:
  • Leave only footprints.
  • Capture only images, take no souvenirs.
  • Do not share information to the Public about location specifics (this is due to the fact that these locations often become targets for Drug addicts and arsonists).
We also also post images and respond personally on our Reddit handle, which is , where you can also PM us for any questions.

Our links:

Become one with your city, explore it.


Exploring an abandoned apartment part I

April 14, 2016

It was a cool, breezy day, Perhaps the coolest in the month. Eyeing the abandoned apartment block for a week, we carried out our own recce runs and determined that the best time to get in would be around sunset as the chances of being caught would have been minimal. Though, we had to leave around 2 hours later as that would be the only perfect window of opportunity to escape unseen (prayer time).

Breaking in was the easy part, there is a reachable balcony that has a negative of being in open view of the public. After a hasty entrance, we had to turn on our flashlights as almost nothing was visible. After prepping our gear up and putting our N-95s on, we headed on towards the inside.

At the lobby of the apartment block, we tried to take a picture of all of was staring at the ceiling but the image got botched due to lighting issues. 
Lighting issues and borderline butchering of the exposure effect

The ground floor was mostly empty, there were signs that people had broken in but it appeared that very few people had actually gone further. We mused that it must have been due to a supposed fear of jinns(google the term if you do not understand). After walking around a bit, it felt that our searches for anything interesting would not be fruitful. Heading in upwards, it suddenly turned pitch dark, after all, the place was abandoned for >20 years....

In an earlier visit, we had explored the first floor but left soon due to that one cat(mentioned in a earlier post). This time, we headed straight for the rooftop. The third floor was a penthouse which only had one door, albeit locked. After my failed attempts at opening it, which left me with a scratched up. Grudgingly dragging ourselves along the roof while simultaneously hurling curses at the door.
Walking around large swathes of grime and what I can only assume were dried bird droppings, we reaches the roof. T was taking pictures, though we were fumbling with all the gear. We crashed at the top, which was a small 2x4m platform raised above the penthouse.  A large portion of the city was visible from the rooftop. We decided to chill there for half an hour. Listening to deadmau5 tracks like Slip and Faxing Berlin, it felt like a perfect moment.

Rusty Elevator engine

    ince we didn't have much time left, we hurried downstairs to explore the rest of the building. Each floor had two apartments. At the second floor, we split up into 2 groups; I(A2), along with E explored the left bloc while the others explored the right one. T found a furnished living room, complete with an Arab style lounge. There was a layer of dust several centimeters thick and in some areas, the tiles cracked if you put weight on them, probably due to heat damage. I, along with E had found several remains of dead pigeons. We drew an upside down pentagram on a nearby mirror as it fit the moment

That's where we found the hoarder's paradise.
A room, chock full of abandoned 90s memorabilia. Cassettes, magazines, books, even old pepsi bottles with the PEPSI-COLA logo. 
We tried to film the entire visit, but many areass were completely dark and could not be shot. We had taken a few pictures which we uploaded and posted onto reddit.

On June 23, 2016; we(A2 and T) decided to visit the location again, this time in broad daylight. We found much more and condensed 1h30m footage into a 15min video. We took much better pictures on that day compared to the ones from the earlier expedition. Some of which, we posted  here 


Tuesday, 28 June 2016

23 March

The Second Attempt

Normally we explore abandoned buildings but at the time, we had no knowledge of any within our reach so we decided to explore buildings soon to be destroyed and those under construction.  Restricting ourselves to these parameters, we left at sunset to explore some buildings we had in mind.

At the first site, it was almost empty yet there were 2-3 people buzzing around. I spotted the Haris(watchman) and we had a choice to make; should we leave or simply ask for permission to take a look around? In the end, we decided to take the latter as the view from the the building would have been of the whole city. 

Walking up to him(the haris), we were confused at first about his nationality, exchanging some broken words in Arabic. Soon we realized that he was Bangladeshi. Failing at my attempts to speak in Bengali, we just showed him our cameras and equipment which made him assume we were engineers of some sort. We had access to the building now and had an undisturbed view of the entire city. 

Heading upwards, we walked around a bit. We even managed to see the Jeddah flagpole(50m), the tallest of it's kind on Earth. 

Since we were new to urban exploring, we didn't mind that we were simply exploring construction sites at that point. The views were amazing though.

Heading on to a second site we planned to explore, this one was 20-30m higher than the previous building and was much harder to explore as it was pitch dark. What made it worse was the occasional random perfectly shaped rectangular holes in the building, possibly for piping, etc. They were around 4x3m and were hard to see in the darkness. T nearly had a close call at one point. Dazed, he asked me(A2) to film "dude, it's gonna be me recording or me saving my life". To which I asked him to follow my footsteps and not to deviate as I wanted to give a bit of commentary. Needless to say, I too nearly fell into the cavity for the elevator. 2 flashlights didn't seem to be enough.

Once we reached the roof, we managed to take a few long exposure shots of the city, the flag in full mast about 1km away.

Experimenting with long exposure and a flashlight

Later that night, we headed towards a building abandoned a few decades ago in order to explore it. Entering the building was quite a difficulty as there were people around, including a security guard but we managed to get in nonetheless. It had an eerie calm to it, the one that demanded one speak in whispers. The one that raised your hair on its ends. Climbing to the second floor, we saw a white cat casually staring at us with an intensity I cannot define. T froze and I tried to get closer but it didn't move an inch. It just craned its neck towards my face.

At that point we were running out of time as soon it would get too crowded outside to exit safely so we decided to leave, spooked by the cat. Though we were not quite fazed, Jinns are said to take the form of cats and are said to engage in eccentric behavior if so.

Later, we visited the apartment building on separate occasions, one to explore and the other occasion for filming a video, this time at night.

The video is up here:


Friday, 24 June 2016

Abandoned Printing press in Jeddah

Abandoned Printing press

I have no set date for this entry. We have tried and tried but repeatedly failed to access this site. I would love to give as many pictures as I can but once again, I assume it would be easily recognizable from the surroundings. 

The building I speak of, is an abandoned printing press, or so we believe it to be one as its ceiling appeared to be made of noise absorbing material, the kind you would usually find in a printing press. Though its current owner is unknown to me( no information on the yellow pages either), there appears to be a small amount of development on the site since the past 2-4 months which has hindered our exploration.

Lets start with an introduction to a site which has caused us both elation and sadness. It has been an object of our curiosity since 2010 and the structure has more or less remained the same.

December the 25th, 2015[(the same day we visited the abandoned mall)mentioned in an earlier post]. Me(A2) and T decided to take a recce of the building. There were two possible entrances. The one in the front required scaling a fence, which was no problem. The problem was that the fence was exposed and it faced the public while the rear area was not quite, though a road went alongside it. 

We found our window of opportunity and jumped the fence. Our recce was short and brief and we did find out the layout of the building. I managed to take a picture of the building plans.

My editing in Paint is beyond basic

The building had a barren, empty lobby caked with dust. All the doors inside the lobby were locked or chained. There were signs of dilapidation as the ceiling caved in one area. We were careful not to disturb anything. Not finding anything of interest there, we decided to explore further and walked within the perimeter of the fence. Immediately, we stumbled upon an emergency exit to the basement. Excited with our find, we found out that the lock was broken. Can this day get any better?

Proceeding further, we met with an eerily quiet staircase. The wind rushed through from behind, creating sounds I can only describe as eerie. There was no light, so we took our flashlights and walked further. Heading upwards, we stumbled upon a board stating ممنو ادخل (employees only). There was no one present.

Opening another emergency exit, we met with a rush of air which was cooler than the surroundings. It took us a minute or two to grasp the size of the place. It was much bigger than any of our previously explored areas. Overwhelmed, we took a short recce of the area and left, vowing to return once we planned everything to the end.

We returned on March 19 to the site, this time it was me(A2) and T only. Once we managed to jump the fence up front, we met with a shock; there appeared to be development in the site and the emergency exit had a new lock. We had taken 2-3 scouting runs before the 19th and had probably left of red flags to whomever owned the place. Disappointed, we tried to explore the lobby but there wasn't much to it, save for layers of dust and caved in ceilings. 

We left the place, but then an idea struck us;What about checking out the rear entrance route?  It was much more exposed and there was a security guard nearby. I took the jump. Heading further, I called out for T to arrive as the coast was clear. Receiving no clear response, I decided to hide behind a bush as it was the only possibility in that case.

After a minute of waiting in the dark, he called out my name with an urgency I never noticed before, heading upwards, I realized that we had to leave immediately and we ran. Apparently a Police car was cruising the area and it was unsafe at this point to go any further.

Soon, they installed a security guard at the site. There went any of our plans to visit the site in the future.


Ps: We are working on a Youtube channel as well, expect videos soon!

Monday, 20 June 2016

Exploring an Abandoned mall

Exploring an abandoned Mall

December 25th 2015
It was Christmas, though it was not the cause for our joy. It was the first day, we as WATA decided to explore an abandoned mall(or at least try).
Though the details are foggy as the place is old, general consensus was that the establishment was abandoned in the mid 80s and was wired off in the 90s. 
Normally, it is quite awkward to hang about there as it is smack in the middle of a residential area, yet we decided to see if we could enter.
All shuttered up and barred
Hitting a few rounds around the mall with a car, we could not find any suitable spots. None of us had any idea on possible entrances and it was the first time any of us decided to go urban exploring, so our approach was best described as haphazard. Looking back now, we did so many blatant mistakes that I am surprised about writing this. I could instead shelve this away into the depths of the internet, leaving it unpublished, but though it was not much (or anything at all), it was an important experience for us.

Well, to me, your first time exploring is a lot like the first time you have sex; its awkward, you have no idea what you're doing but in the end, its fun and memorable.
After our little scouting run was over, we decided to walk around the entire structure on foot. We found no exits and/or possible entrances.
Looking at it now, it seems obvious that the place had no entrances. Its been allegedly abandoned for decades so of course it was barred up!
The mall was surrounded by a fence, lined with Barbed wire at the top. 
It was at this point where we decided it was a do it or leave moment, we requested WA to sit in the car and we [me(A2) and T)  decided to explore on our own. They did so without question. The main problem was that it was a residential area and we had no intention of being spotted.

While trying to enter the mall, we came across what appeared to be a seating area. Oddly, the central area was filled with books. In the darkness, my eyes could vaguely make out an Islamic theology book, a few books in Arabic and one book in English whose subject I could not remember.
I wanted to take a picture, but even under the flashlight, my camera was not focusing and we were attracting attention. Some children even threw some sticks at us and some guy from his window was shining a red laser light at us. At that point, we decided to move to another spot.
As we moved, we encountered this:
Not exactly the best thing to stumble into

Needless to say, we immediately left. Though it might not mean much, we decided to leave.

We decided to breach the fence and at that point it started to get scary, people were looking at us and some even pointed. We hid behind what behind some well placed decorative rock and it was at that point we decided against the entire idea of exploring the place. The only possible entrance was high up and accessible only by a fire exit. What was worse was that it was in plain view.

At that point we decided to just leave. It was a disappointment but it was our first experience with Urban exploration, so it really didn't matter. It did teach us one thing; prepare for every possibility. A tip which greatly helped us in our future Urbex runs.

We did take some pictures of the mall, but after discussing it with the other members; we decided not to upload them as it would reveal the location.


PS; To those who are asking, I will update the blog every few days.