Life in a foreign land is full of amazing discoveries and unusual, non-standard practical solutions. For example, in such a conservative and seemingly closed country as Saudi Arabia, there are no fitting rooms in clothing stores. True, there is a solution in the toilet rooms, which still allows you to "try on", but according to a strange scheme: buy, go measure, and then hand over what did not fit.
And this is against the background of the division that actually exists in all catering establishments into departments for women and children and a separate male one! Family ladies sit in a special room or in booths, which is due to the need to observe morality and morality. Well, you can't be left alone with a stranger to her, you can't do that.
Secrets and mysteries of Jeddah
Among the most famous sights of the Middle Eastern states today are primarily such as Dubai, Doha and other skyscraper-stuffed cities with hotels for tens of thousands of rooms. And what can Saudi Arabia offer on this part?
Take Jeddah. It is a large city with history and ancient traditions, the largest port of the kingdom, which causes somewhat greater freedom of morals; most often it is here that you can meet beauties without scarves and in colored "bags" in contrast to conservative Riyadh. And here they are building a house with a height of a kilometer, which is designed to complement the world's largest fountain and flagpole. At the same time, paradoxically, there are few skyscrapers here, because the population is very conservative. Therefore, the city is full of contrasts: next to the sparkling windows of expensive shops, hung with air conditioning, there may be a slum area, the houses in which have not been repaired since the end of the XVIII century.
How to travel in Arabia?
Despite the first impression, travelers can be hard here. Almost all roads are blocked by checkpoints, which are guarded by armed police. In some places, it is recommended to arrive in at least two cars: this is due to political instability and a high level of criminalization.
As for the natural objects that undoubtedly deserve your attention, you should look at Al-Ulla and Madain Salih - objects that resemble the complex in Petra in their examples of ancient architecture.
Special mention deserves the sea coast, decorated with coral reefs with countless varieties of marine fish.
Non-Muslims will not be allowed into Mecca and Medina. How is this even verified?
On the roads, as we have already mentioned, there are checkpoints. They decorate different parts of the country, but as they approach the holy cities of Mecca and Medina for every Muslim, the concentration of the police acquires simply an obscene density.
As you know, only the faithful can get into these two settlements. To separate the right guests from the wrong ones, the authorities use the ikama card – a residence permit. It indicates clerical status.
The roads are for the most part quite good, but large settlements have not escaped traffic jams and related tests. Driving is nerve-wracking, fearless. Of the characteristic features: instead of women who are not yet allowed to sit behind the wheel, underage male children can turn the wheel. Sometimes you meet a twelve-year-old behind the wheel.
There is little public transport, but there are many taxis and private drivers, which is not surprising given the subsidy for gasoline.
There are a number of features of etiquette and behavior, but more often the norms are summed up under a certain common denominator. With women, the story is special, but children are very much loved.
As for foreign languages, English is very poorly spoken here, even by those who have higher education. The main language is Arabic, which is understandable.
Rules of accommodation
For the most part, the characteristics of the country and the state are based on the specific conditions of the regional factor and natural conditions. For example, rain and thunderstorms in the country are very rare, especially on the east coast. Therefore, when torrential rains pass, it causes serious flooding in large cities, and in small ones, where houses are built of unfired clay and straw bundles – even destruction. Why?
It's very simple: there is absolutely no storm sewer system. There is not even a roadside drainage, so roads washed away with a substrate are not uncommon here, and rarely any rainy season is without several dozen human casualties.
The consequence of the rarity of rain and arid climate is storms, when clouds of dust and sand rise into the air. When the wind is strong enough, grains of sand can injure human skin.
Where to get food?
With food, the situation is difficult. Fruits and vegetables are usually given with cotton wool, brought from the Usa or Australia, the countries of Southeast Asia or neighboring countries. In the store, you can leave a hundred dollars for strawberries or pears resembling plasticine in consistency and completely devoid of taste and smell. In general, the price tags are not very adequate.
The cuisine is a kind of mix of traditional Arabic and Indo-European.
Culture, Internet and other formats of recreation and entertainment
As in some Mexican or African cities, the Arab shopping center is a place for leisure for the whole family, allowing you to spend the day not only in shopping, but also in entertainment of various kinds - from bowling or billiards with slot machines to cafes and restaurants. Do not forget about the division into only two halves: for women and men. Tourists also have to reckon with this.
In general, people here are looked after very thoroughly. On the street, they can ask a couple for a marriage certificate, censorship reigns in the media, and the police monitor social networks no worse than a jealous husband.
Children's education and adaptation programs are built very carefully and delicately. For example, there are many international schools with an American classroom system, kindergartens and nursery groups. All teachers are fluent in English.
On the other hand, simple district schools do not shine with success, and even modern equipment, coupled with good (but not star) teachers, do their job, preparing a new generation of favelas for filling.