I just got back to Portland, Oregon, from three months in the homeland: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It's...an interesting place. I lived there, and in Riyadh (the capital) during my childhood. I'm a halfie--half Saudi and half American--but I always leaned more toward the American side, and that, coupled with an eight- or nine-year gap in my visits "home" since moving to the US, led to some pretty unexpected culture shock when I landed (in my own country!).
A couple days before I left, I headed to the old city center, the Balad, which...no longer houses any Saudis (they all spread out into the suburbs long ago), but a mix of Yemenis, Egyptians, Indians, Filipinos, etc, all barely getting by selling anything and everything in the markets scattered throughout town--spices, crummy Chinese toys, four undershirts for $2!
So...this photo set isn't representative of Jeddah (*at all*), but I still think the Balad is probably the most interesting part of the city--even though no Saudis live here. It's at once charming (er, my opinion) and really, really depressing.
For more background, some maybe-true-maybe-not stuff from Wikipedia on my city (I figure it's not exactly as well-known here as, say, Paris?):
"Jeddah (also spelled Jiddah, Jidda, or Jedda; Arabic: جدّة Ǧiddah) is a Saudi Arabian city located on the coast of the Red Sea and is the major urban center of western Saudi Arabia. It is the largest city in Makkah Province, and the second largest city in Saudi Arabia after the capital city, Riyadh. The population of the city currently stands at over 3.4 million. It is considered the commercial capital of Saudi Arabia and the wealthiest city in the Middle East and western Asia."
I'm skeptical of that "wealthiest city in the Middle East" bit. I mean, there is a ridiculous--seriously mind-boggling--amount of wealth in Jeddah, but well...the distribution leaves a bit to be desired. This is the city where the Mile-High Tower is being proposed...while people are living in houses that make the Tower of Pisa look upright!
Phew. Sorry for the essay. First photo thread of Jeddah on SSP (as far as I could tell):
Yay! I'm a Banajah! My family used to live here.
Oh... =( This is all that's left of the big Banajah House. Damn you, fire! Haha.
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