Hello again! If you’re reading this perhaps you’ve read Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Part 1, if not – it is not such a big deal. I have already described in a few words what is like to be a woman in Saudi Arabia. Women in Saudi Arabia are deprived of any rights – they can’t work, get a driving license, open a bank account, vote, walk outside uncovered, talk to strangers or even go out alone! You can see a lot of women workers in Jeddah, but non of them are local, all working women there are from other nationalities. Now I’m going to share with you my impressions from Jeddah during my stay.
As I have already mentioned my first impressions weren’t “the best”, because the airport was in the middle of nowhere, but everything changed when I saw almost everything in this amazing city!
At first I wanted to take a big rest from the long journey because I had travelled during the night and almost haven’t slept ,but I recovered very quickly and was ready to take over the whole city! My big passion are Arabian souqs (bazaars) that’s why my collegues and I went to the biggest souq in Jeddah (sorry but can’t remember it’s name) on the first day of my arrival! Our driver Demir took us from the hotel with an old bus to the souq. I swear this guy was the biggest attraction I’ve ever seen, the way he was driving and speaking in Bulgarian – you wouldn’t believe it. He was always driving so fast, his horn was out of service, so everytime when there was a situation on the road he was using his main-beam headlights to tell other drivers to get out of his way. My collegues had teached him some filthy words and expressions in Bulgarian and as he was driving he was always talking to himself all the phrases he knew in Bulgarian. When we arrived at the souq I immediatley felt the aromas of different spices and typical sweet Arabian perfumes. I like such places, because they show how local people live, that helps you learn more about their culture, way of life and you may also buy everything you need! I know most of the things that people sell are with no good quality (that explains why everything is so cheap) but I like it, I can’t explain it but such places attract me! There were so many shops of gold that reminded me of the phrase “Open Sesame”. I had the feeling that the cave of the thieves has been opened in front of me!
I think such places make the city an exciting place for shopping and provide an alternative to immerse yourself in the traditions of sales. You can always remain pleased with the bargain you’ve made and leave with the feeling that you have found a real gem , even if it is only a packet of incense.
Some interesting facts I learned about Saudi Arabia
– when you go into a mall you will realize there is no music. No music in the shops, no music in the whole mall
– there are no women singers in Saudi Arabia. All singers are only men
– the are no fitting rooms in the malls for ladies. When you buy youself clothes you can try them at home and if you wish, you can return them in a period of 7 days
– men cannot enter shops for women underwear alone if they are not with their families
– only families can enter amusement parks
– porn sites are absolutely prohibited
– if you are walking around in the city no matter if you are local or not you may be summoned (forcibly if you don’t agree) to watch an execution of a sinner or watch him/her being flagellated in front of everyone
– in our airline service during flights starts from the window to the aisle. When I used to serve women sitting next to the window their husbands were always getting angry on me. Men in Saudi Arabia have bigger rights than women do.
Talking about work and inflight service, the flights I had to perform were mainly to Dubai, Lahor, Kuweit and Medina. On each flight there was one Arabian speaker (flight attendant from FlyNas Air who had to read the inflight announcements to all passengers in Arabian) on board. I met many new friends, all local cabin crew members were smiling all the time, very kind and working with them was real pleasure for me!
If I have to be honest I had plenty of free time to do whatever I wanted, because for 14 days I had only 5 flights! The problem was I couldn’t go anywhere in my free time because most of my collegues were on work that time and I couldn’t go out alone! At the hotel was provided only breakfast and dinner and during lunch I had nothing to eat, so almost everyday I was starving and waiting for dinner, so I could eat something! That was my biggest problem – you have plenty of time but you can’t do anything or go anywhere, you can’t even go to the shop to get some food ! I spent most of the days sleeping in the hotel room and getting suntan on the roof of the hotel…how interesting. At least I managed to go to the beach a few times with my collegues …and I loved it! White sand, clean, transparent, warm water, amazing corals and fishes. What more can I say?…Oh yes, it was forbidden for tourists to take pictures on the beach because :”You can’t photo other peoples, which is no right!”- told me in broken English a short black Arabian guy. But for me nothing can be forbidden and here are the results!
I also visited Fakieh aquarium and AlShallal Theme Park. I remember my collegues and I didn’t get very easy in the amusement park, because in the late afternoon only families were allowed to get in. So we got in as one big family.