Jeddah the gateway to Mecca is said to be the largest cultural melting pot in the world, and that this is the reason for its chilled vibe. I don’t know if this is true, but I do know that in the almost 4 yeas that I’ve lived in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that those 3 days I spent in Jeddah were relaxed I’ve ever felt in the the Kingdom.
I call this visit to Jeddah “My Trip of Firsts.” It starts with the trip itself, it was the first time that I’ve traveled around Saudi Arabia and it was my first time to Jeddah. On my way to the private terminal (I was flying corporate; gotta love that!) we past a herd of wild camels. I was like OMG!! It was so cool. Unfortunately my camera was in my bag that was in the trunk of the car. :( Oh Well…next time. But, it was my first time seeing a herd of camels.
Our room was right on the corniche with a view of the Red Sea. We stayed at the Jeddah Hilton. Which I would recommend, and I would stay there again. All of the staff that I had interactions with were pleasant and helpful. My pet peeves with this spot: I would expect an American hotel chain (that accommodates both male and female business travelers) to have the “Man Section” of the hotel clearly identified, and their fee for the internet ($10/hr or $40/day) feels like rape. But…what could I do, I paid it.
Once I started to unpack my bags, I realized that I had done another first. I had left the house and forgot every single charger I would need. LOL That’s two chargers for my phones and one charger for my camera. Oh yea, and the battery that was in the camera had one bar of energy left, and I left the charged back up battery I always carry at home as well. I have never ever forgotten so many things. I think I’ve been doing so much traveling lately that I’ve gotten lacks in my departure procedures.
The following photo is the view from my room. The deal is I spaced it and didn’t let my camera acclimate (cold inside the room and 100 degrees +75% humidity on the balcony) and I got lens fog. But, at least you can see my view. Nice huh?
Before I arrived in Jeddah, I put out the question on FB as to whether I should go or not and whether or not it was wort the hassle. Considering I had just gotten back home after traveling around the US for the last 5 months (Jan – May), I just want to relax for a minute. Well…the consensus was that I should go. And, out of those responses one turned into a dinner invitation from two American expats living in Jeddah, who were followers of Black Chick in Saudi on FB. Susie (Susie of Arabia) and I had actually had a few exchanges via email. This was starting to sound fun, and I already had a play date set up.
On my play date we went for dinner at Il Villlaggio. I completely enjoyed hanging out with these two ladies. After much food and enjoying the double apple flavored sheesha, the next thing we knew 4 hours had passed. :) So, here I was again, at another first. First of all, I had never eaten out in public in Saudi Arabia. Yea…I know. But, where I live at I don’t know of any good places and I hate chain food (i.e. Chili’s, Applebees, Red Lobster, McDonalds, etc.), so unless I go to Bahrain, I just cook. I’m not adventurous with my food. Well…not only did I go out to dinner, I smoked sheesha on a restaurant deck over looking Al Andalus Street, I was able to loosen up as if I were not in Saudi Arabia. Another first.
The next day we hired a car to take us to Old Jeddah. We walked the streets, took photos, and meandered through the sougs of Al-Balad. Sadly the old houses are unkept and dilapidated.
As I was taking photos of one of the old city gates (Jadeed Gate) and I heard some thing kinda slamming down, so I walked over to the side of the gate and there before my eyes were a group of older men slamming down dominoes. I couldn’t believe it!! These guys were slamming dominoes down like they were Black at a backyard BBQ. I couldn’t believe the scene. I think they saw the curiousity in my staring and invited us over. I asked if I could take a photo and they all turned for me. It was so cool. Which again was another first!!
On my last day in Jeddah, I had two hours between my late check out and the arrival of the car to take me to the airport so I thought I would just hang out in the hotel lobby. After setting up my computer and getting comfortable, I was told this was the men’s section and they escorted me to some dark closed in room, that was the family section. I’m like “How was I suppose to know? There’s no sign!” So, that was another first, I got kicked out of the man section. LOL
I completely enjoyed my time in Jeddah and look forward to visiting again in the future.