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Shazza's Escapades Light hearted look at my travel escapades

Saudi Arabia 2023

SAUDI ARABIA | Wednesday, 29 March 2023 | Views [132]

Up until the day before my visit, I really didn't think I would make it because since Seychelles mybevisa was still under process. I figured Ramadan was the cause but I did apply mid February and my visit was 29 March. Pkus I had no wifi since Seychelles so had no idea how to check if the visa had arrived in my inbox. They were refusing anyone without a visa to disembark in Jeddah. If I wanted to disembark I would need to buy the ship's visa for $128! My evisa was $28 but to check my email would cost me $20 for tue ship's Internet. Another passenger tried to help by letting me use his phone to log into my email but with Gmail security I needed a code to be texted to me. I had no service so it didn't work. So still wondering about paying the ships wifi fee but it will be a waste if no email. Another passenger had a hotspot so I offered her $5 to check my email.  She gladly offered without taking any money and there it wss in my inbox for two days. I quickly downloaded it and set off for Jeddah the following morning.
I was ecstatic to arrive in Saudi Arabia alone and without a man as my companion. I didn't have to cover my head but knees and shoulders had to be covered. With my Google map I headed for the old city of Jeddah,  Al Balab. After an hour's walk in 38 degrees sunshine I arrived at my destination.  On my walk from the port area to Al Balab, I noticed the old and tired city needed a complete face lift. It was Ramadan so streets were quiet and few shops were open. I loved the quiet and eerie streets of the old city. It made is much more atmospheric without the throng of people mulling around. I meandered through the labyrinth of old and narrow streets looking up at all the old buildings with its unusual boxed windows. I assume to keep out dust from sand storms.

 

What's sad is all these beautiful old buildings, crumbling as some are, are to be demolished and rebuilt. I'm sure even with the traditional aspects of their designs still kept,  it won't be the same. What's happening in Saudi Arabia is getting better in a sense that outsiders are allowed to come an see for ourselves what it has to offer. Yes some rules have been relaxed for us tourists and thank goodness or I wouldn't be here. What the establishment wants to do is easy to see, rebuild the whole country in a brand new image,  shinny and technologically advanced than their neighbours. I feel a lot of their history, even the bad ones will be wiped away. Buildings can be restored but the essence of its history will be gone. People will be displaced but probably well renumerated. More foreign visitors means the government will be open to a modern way of thinking in their society without losing their tradition. This is especially important for the women of this country. Women are enjoying and       welcoming more freedoms but at such a slow rate, drip drip fashion. Hopefully by opening their country to the rest of the world things for women will only get better. They will be able to live freely and embrace all the things which we in the west take for granted everyday.                    

                                                         
Saudi Arabia is my 160th country  and I wish I had more time to visit the rest of the country. Maybe free visas and cheaper ways to travel around the country unaccompanied would entice me back. 

 

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