First Impressions and Settling in…

Our apartment… as salam ‘alaykum wa rahmatullaah,

After that long trip my family and I were exhausted, we piled all of our luggage into the car and we were being driven off to our new home. My friend introduced me to the brother who was driving and that he was an American from Brooklyn – Allaah willed it (masha’Allaah) he was brimming with an abundance of valuable advice for someone who had newly arrived here. Also, because he was here for some time and an American he had a unique perspective of living in Saudi Arabia.

As we were driving I couldn’t help but notice all of the date-palm trees which were everywhere in Jeddah, the long brown rugged trunks and plush green pineapple pinnacle tops that beautifully complimented the sand colored back-drop provided an appealing contrast to the modern buildings and their antiquated Arabic design. I was defintely in another country! I haven’t seen architecture so clearly pronounced since my last visit to old Quebec City when I was a teenager. Construction was everywhere! New buidlings, skyscrapers, apartments, malls, stores, Mosques, all seeming to be built silmultaneously, as if they needed to be completed by tomorow.

The roads teeming with cars, and it was then that I observed how the people were driving. I thought to myself, “SubhanAllaah! Nobody here knows how to drive.” There were sometimes five or six cars packed into three-lane streets, strange roundabouts devoid of traffic signs or any indication of right of way, and while there were traffic lights they were mostly used to regulate traffic flow, do (what we would think of as illegal) dangerous u-turns, or pitstops where those in vehicles are besieged by beggars while waiting for the lights to change. Once that light changed, at least five cars honked their horns, and I mean immediately when the light changed as if the people were in a race to see who could honk first once the light turned green. Now I have no idea what the Saudi national anthem is but it is possible that it has something to do with a car horn or perhaps played on a car horn?! There is not a thing that they will not honk their horns about! To make a u-turn they use all of the lanes they are turning into! If there are three lanes, they will take up three lanes, or more. Being here for 3 months now has made me realize I have to apologize to everyone and anyone in Canada whom I’ve ever called a bad driver, there really is no comparison, if we were looking at a comparison using ratios it would be 10 to 1, i.e. for every bad driver you might want to choke in Canada I could find you 10 more here who are worse! But enough harping on how bad the driving is as anyone who has been here or lives here knows, I noticed something else as we were driving along, something I absolutely love about this country.

Mosques (Masaajid) are everywhere! I mean everywhere! You see their minarets decorated with lime green lights, sometimes you could see 5 or 6 at the same time. In any event, we stopped at my new house and we brought all my bags in and I helped the brother who had left some of his books in my apartment carry them out.

Our new apartment was nice, it has marble floors and just needed to be redecorated but all in all it had more space then I’ve had in an apartment in Canada and because it was included in my job I was satisfied with it.

More later, insha’Allaah.


(end of part 1)

Published in: on February 9, 2007 at 4:00 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. As Salmu Aliakam,
    I reallt enjoy reading this. I hope to see more pics of the flats in Saudi, and hear more about everyday life. What are the outings like there for the kids?

  2. As salaamu alaykum,

    If you think the driving is bad in Jeddah you
    should see Haa’il, KSA. And Cairo is worse than
    both of them. For 10 Egyptian Pounds you can get
    the adrenaline rush of your life on the freeway
    during rush hour. I figure it’s cheaper than the
    amusement park and I don’t have to deal with the
    fitnah one might find there.

  3. as salam ‘alaykum,

    Insha Allaah for pics, with every post about Jeddah I will be putting up a new pic. As for life and outings for the kids, that will also come soon, especially when I get to the post about our first Eid in KSA. Stay tuned, but life for the kids is better here than when I lived in Canada or the US.

    As for msaboor’s post – sounds a little too racy for me! I had the thrill of my life yesterday when I went snorkelling on the corniche (no fitnah there) and for the first time, saw the drop off where I saw fish as big as I was and suddenly I thought, “If I were a really big fish, I would certainly eat a guy like me, even if it were just for the principle.” That was enough of a thrill, I turned around and swam back into shore. I will be writing about that as well, insha’Allaah.

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