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Home to expat life in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Jeddah - the city


A city of contrasts, of old and new, and of heat and (for three days a year) rain.

Modern Jeddah Amazing buildings downtown, especially the National Bank Building the towers over everything else. Modern mosques, major housing works, even if they've been empty the whole time, other than when the Kuwaitis moved in during the Gulf war. (Rumour has it they were built in an attempt to get Bedouins into normal houses, but perhaps they found them a little cramped after the desert. Also, there weren't sufficient lifts to have one for men and another for women!). 

Old Jeddah  - downtown The beauty and squalidness of old and historic downtown Jeddah, as well as the souk, the old market of Jeddah, running from the modern shops and buildings near the National Commercial Bank building through the oldest of buildings still standing.

Jeddah - the roundabouts Whatever Jeddah doesn't have, it does its best to make up for with its roundabouts. Leaving Medina Road heading east you reach the bike roundabout, followed by (allegedly) the first ever Saudia plane, now gracing a roundabout, and then the giant set square, dividers and protractor.

From the fist roundabout heading north on Amir Sultan Street you get two for the price of one, a artists impression of a boat and two planes.

And the Corniche: the amazing vases at Tahlia Street (even better at night), more boats raised high above the water line, the block of cards, and the globe.

Jeddah - at night The sun may be bright during the day, but at night some parts of Jeddah can are even brighter. A trip down the Corniche is always worthwhile, but it is still pretty hot....

Jeddah - the Corniche Jeddah has a coastline of 80 kms from north to south, most of it with concrete roading and called The Corniche (or Courniche or Cornich or Korniche or Kourniche or Kornich, there are signs of almost every spelling around Jeddah). It has many interesting art forms, as well as many of Jeddah's incredible roundabouts. Other 'oddities' include:

- lights previously seen in the north west holiday resort of Blackpool, in England (the Blackpool Illuminations)
- the streets with no name (plenty of rusting street lights, but absolutely nothing else)
- Patriot missiles
- camels and their shepherds (?) to the south
- great mounds of corn to the south (that blow all over the roads), and
- also to the south, the Mecca Wreck.

The Mecca Wreck is a great diving site; when the wreck went down they apparently sent out a barge to bring it back up. This sunk, so they apparently sent out a barge to bring both the wreck and the barge back up. This also sank, so they left them all be. What shows above the waterline is the second barge. The walk out talks 45 minutes, with the water too shallow to drag your kit and too deep walk out easily. It's also right next to the Naval Base, so diving isn't allowed, something which the Coastguard are eager to share with you! But the diving is worth it, especially for the giant moray eel, and ability to go through the wreck.

Jeddah - strange sights and sounds Some of the stranger things around Jeddah:

- the unsung heroes (i.e. those that clean up the mess left by others)
- the Patriot missile placement
- ‘Chop Chop Square' - the car park of a large mosque downtown is were people lose their heads and hands
- where else would a Maserati be left, all forgotten
- would you live in this building? they appear to...
- it can get pretty wet, during the three days that it rains solid