|The main square in Al-Balad. On one of the signs |
it says "Historic Hajj Rout West".
|Drinking tea on the top floor of a historic|
building with Mr. Sami Nawar.
|View of historic Jeddah from the rooftop.|
|The private beach on the Red Sea.|
|All the girls at the private beach!|
Jeddah is a city with a lot more diversity that the rest of Saudi Arabia, with it being the principle gateway to Mecca for Muslims from around the world. This international influence and exposure gives it its more liberal reputation. We've met Saudi citizens with Turkish, Filipino, and Pakistani backgrounds. Once again I realized how ignorant I was, imagining that all Saudis are Arabs coming from families who have lived their for hundreds of years.
Later in the day we returned to Al-Balad to go shopping. The streets had completely filled up and the place was transformed. I was really surprised how crowded it was and I couldn't believe that we were in the same area. We grabbed dinner at Al Baik, a sort of Saudi Arabian version of KFC that is incredibly popular. The place was packed because it was right after prayer time, with lines going down the street. The girls had to wait in the "ladies line" which was much longer with only one cash register. It was worth the wait to see what all the fuss was about though.
|The crowded streets of Old Jeddah at night.|
|The Al Baik ladies line.|
|Our guide Abdullah from the Ministry of Higher Education in the center|
with the guys in our group. His face was priceless when he saw them wearing
traditional Saudi clothing.
|Random Saudis on the street taking pictures with the guys.|