مرحبا بكم في جدة – Welcome to Jeddah
After we’d all gotten packed into a car that was under more burden than it was built for, we headed for the airport. The usual drill took us into the plane (A Saudi Airline flight). Having comfortably seated ourselves, and fastened our seat belts, we stared in front of us at a fixed screen that said ‘Welcome to Saudi Airlines” and its Arabic translation. The flight was like any other except that stewardesses were Arabic women who had no idea how to manage people getting up to grab a child or two, changing seats constantly until the appropriate person was sitting by aisle, the son was with the mother etc. etc. One Pakistani air hostess was handling all that the multitude of Arabic hostesses were just watching dazedly 🙂
I am no food expert (foodies consult www.bonvivantlifestyle.com) but the food on any arabic airlines is worth recounting. It is not in the nature of Pakistani taste buds to consider bland lamb pieces yummy! The unusual part of the flight was when the food trolley came rolling toward us. The air hostess took one look at me, then at the trolley and then clasped her hand to her mouth dramatically and said “Oh! Food is finished”. In 18 years of my life, I have never traveled via an airplane to be told that there is not ample food for the passengers. I had no idea what to do but to stare blankly at the air-hostess, my eyes trying to search for a hint of jest. None was found. Thankfully, when the next hostess walked by, she was able to provide me a beef menu (chicken and vegetarian were out of stock).
Thus, grateful to be well-fed, we arrived at the Jeddah airport. The airplane taxied for such a long time that we became rather suspicious that it was going to take-off again! Apparently, Jeddah airport is extremely vast and planes have to taxi almost half the time of the air travel to find their parking place. There are no walk-ways on Jeddah airport and a bus took us to the main building from where we boarded the taxi that was to take us to the holy city of Makkah.
Jeddah, like Makkah and Medinah, has a very clean skyline uninterrupted by billboards. Rare road advertising is done through ads on walls lining the pavements, or on the sides of buildings. The fountain at Corniche is visible from afar, owing to its great height.