A Suburbanite in Jeddah II

It was Thursday and I knew that I would have no choice but to venture out into the city, the jungle known to others as Jeddah. I woke up early as is customary for me. I showered and had something that was supposed to be breakfast. I then spoke to the concierge in the hotel to make arrangements for a car. This time I decided to go with a regular taxi because it would cost me half of what the hotel charged.

I got in the taxi and the concierge told him to take me to the Mall of Arabia. I had seen it but had never been inside. Being a typical foreign tourist, I was carrying a super sized bag and my ginormous camera. It was so bad that I laughed at myself. I walked around looking and feeling lost. I marveled at all the stores I knew from home. I also marveled at their prices which were worse than home. Still, I walked around venturing into those that somehow caught my eye. Of course the assumption was that I spoke Arabic so I did what I usually do, sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. I stopped in a department store looking buy some mascara. I had very specific colors in mind but being the “wonderful” salespeople they were they tried to convince me to choose different colors along with some other crap I don’t use and don’t ever want to use. But my personal favorite was a woman who I told I wanted a color. Her reply, “مو حلو” or it’s not nice. I thought to myself, “Did I ask for your opinion, lady?” Instead I told her that I wanted it anyway. And I recorded a mental note to not shop at that store again. It should be pretty easy since the chances of me going to that mall again are zero to none.

I continued exploring the mall until I realized that I had walked in a complete circle. I was tired but I kept walking. The fact that there’s no place to sit helped. You would think a mall this size would have a few benches here and there. You would think. It was getting close to prayer time so I kept walking until I came to the food court. I looked around at all the restaurants I couldn’t eat at. After all, it was prayer time. I had seen Friday’s on the other side and had decided to eat there once prayer was over. When it was time, I started on my trek across town, I mean the mall. As I got close enough I noticed that the food court was actually pretty close but to my dismay I had take the scenic route.

I ate at Friday’s and was disappointed that it wasn’t as good as I had hoped. Another note to self to skip that joint if I ever see one again. I had finally had enough and decided to go back to the hotel. I went out a little later to get those darn passport photos. It was “warm” of course and I worried about having the same wonderful look for this new set. I fanned myself and prayed the driver would get to a place soon before my entire face melted off. As luck would have it I looked slightly less sweaty than the previous disaster. So I took them and said, “Oh well.” I was not going to spend the evening trying new photos with each one worse than the previous one. I made one more trip that day and decided to go back to the hotel.

Friday morning it was time for me to head back. Having no shame and being desperate, I asked the taxi driver to deliver my photo to the US Consulate. Of course I paid him extra and prayed he was trustworthy.

In the end I had one thought in mind…..

I am not a city girl.

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