adventure to Jeddah

Written on Nov 23, en route to Jeddah.
5:22 pm
Sitting on a plane (my favourite thing to do), waiting to take off, on my way to Jeddah for the Saudi weekend. It’s freaking hot on the plane and I’d love to take my abaya off.

I hate flying, and I feel even more uncomfortable when I’m surrounded by people who don’t speak my language and who are so…foreign. I have spent so little time in other countries and I’m not used to mixing with other cultures. In my own defense, the Saudi culture’s a hard one to crack. They are very private and I am so obviously Western. I am very aware of doing something culturally incorrect. (I am flying with Tracy and a couple of IBM folks, but we are all sitting separately.)

Anyway. I’ve got a book, I’ve got my music and I should just sit back and relax.

It’s a huge plane. I’m in row 46 and I think there are at least another 25 rows behind me. 10 seats across. They started boarding 45 minutes before scheduled take off and I can see why.

Now to my book…

9:51 pm
Survived the plane ride. Had to stop reading my book because there was a plane crashing in it. As I said, easily the biggest plane I’ve ever been on and we off-loaded directly onto the tarmac.

Jeddah’s more humid than Riyadh. We arrived at about 7:30 pm and the temperature is perfect.  Well, perfect if you are not wearing a black polyester cloak. We are pretty sure we don’t have to wear the abaya within the resort compound, so Tracy and I just had a late dinner on our patio, abaya-less. It was beautiful.

It was a bit of an adventure getting here. We took a rickety old shuttle to Avis, where Mohammed (one of the IBM-ers) rented a car and we made our way using his GPS. But the Sheraton has no sign out front. Just a wall and a gate. We ended up phoning them and we were told to find the brown and white gate by the line of six trees. We found it after counting sets of trees as we drove by each compound gate.

The resort is beautiful, at least by night. The rooms are separate ground floor villas with patios. It’s walk in access and the walk way is lined with short palm trees and lights. Very nicely manicured. My dinner was delivered to me by a guy on a big trike with a basket at the back.

Tomorrow I’ll see the Red Sea for the first time. I really cannot believe I’m here.