Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Friday, 27 February 2004

Tourism to Saudi Arabia - well it's certainly an idea

Whether it's a good one is perhaps less certain:


The supreme commission for tourism's website lists those who will not be allowed in: Jews; people with Israeli stamps in their passport and

"those who don't abide by the Saudi traditions concerning appearance and behaviour"
and
"those under the influence of alcohol".


I lived in Jeddah for a couple of years in the mid-1970s and this reminds me of an incident shortly after I arrived in the Kingdom and before I bought my own car so was using taxis quite regularly. One day my journey took us past the 'Guest Palace', a large edifice located in the Corniche area, just down the doad from where the US Embassy was located (this was before all the embassies moved to Riyadh, of course). The taxi driver excitedly pointed to the Guest Palace and told me this was where Henry Kissinger had stayed recently; "and he's a Jew you know, he's the first one ever allowed in officially" the driver informed me, with a look on his face which seemed to be a mixture of shock, mixed with a certain pleasure for it showed just how 'modern' the country was.

I enjoyed living there, though, as it was certainly at that time very safe from a personal security point of view - it really was not necessary to lock a car door overnight with valuables inside, as I inadvertantly proved on two or three occasions. This link to some (pretty poor quality - sorry) photographs I took when I lived there shows that it is not all desert, though.

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