Jeddah is a city located in the middle of the eastern coast of Red sea and it is considered as a tourism capital of Saudi Arabia. The government, civil and criminal laws have enforced a moral code, so all women are obliged to wear burqas, in fact they don’t have any rights and they can’to do anything of the things that are accepted as ,,normal” in Europe. They can’t get driving licenses, talk to strangers or go out alone without their husbands or families. Despite all these strict laws the country is more tolerant to women tourists who are not obliged to wear burqas, but they are advised to wear long clothes which should cover their ankles and shoulders, so they could not be seen easily. That is why Jeddah is the ,,most open” city in this country and because of the large number of tourists there is no morality police as in Riyadh – the capital of Saudi Arabia.
It was three years ago when I was informed I had to go to Jeddah to work for Arabian airline called ,,FlyNas” for a couple of weeks. Our airline had a contract with FlyNas Airlines, they needed two more aircrafts and flight attendants as well, because they had too many flights and not enough staff. Two airplanes A320 with all of our stewards were sent for 3 months in Jeddah. It was a big stress for our boys, because there was no alcohol, even beer and no ,,women” if you know what I mean… Our airline had some difficulties of sending stewardesses in Jeddah, because the Arabians didn’t want women to work for their airline. Anyway, as soon as all problems with that case were solved, I was obliged to go to Jeddah, but I was really excited about it! When it comes to traveling and visiting new places I am the one! But if I have to be honest I was a little bit worried when I started searching in the web for more information about that country, because I didn’t know anything! I wanted to learn more about Saudi Arabia and the news were not so nice.
I’ve read about a real story which made me feel a little bit worried…
A guy goes to the woman next door to ask for some sugar and of course she is kind enough to give him some. Their neighbours become witnesses of this unacceptable situation and immediately call thе morality police and at the end the man has been flagellated 50 times and the woman 100 times and after that sent to prison. For the all Saudi Arabian people if you are married woman you are not allowed to talk with other men otherwise you will be flagellated in the center of the city in front of everyone. The goverment has tried many times to find a solution of this problem and decided to make a new law – a woman who wants to speak in public with a man who isn’t a member from her family, should make ancestral connection with him when nursing the man if possible. But this law has been rejected from the goverment, because there was no way to be proven that a man has been breastfeeded by a woman! This is insane I even can’t believe I am writing about this, but it is true!
So the day I landed at Jeddah airport came. At first I was maybe a little dissappointed, because I thought it would look more like Dubai. A lot of big impressive buildings, beautiful desert, palms, but no… It was very dirty, no impressive buildings, no green palms, no nothing. The airport was in the middle of nowhere, so there was nothing interesting to be seen, my collegues were waiting for me at the airport and we got on to an old bus which took us to the hotel. The hotel was pretty nice, the food was delicious, but what I enjoyed most was the hot weather! More than 20°C during the night and more than 30°C during the day! Well it wasn’t so nice when I had to go to work, because I had to wear long pants with long sleeved shirt, jacket and something on my head which I don’t
know how to call it even in Bulgarian. Maybe you will tell me if you look at the pictures…
Want to know more about Saudi Arabians culture, traditions and places I’ve visited? You can find out more about my impressions in my next article Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Part 2.