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Saudi Arabia: Jeddah house decorations

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Jeddah house decorations | Saudi Arabia | Asia

[Visited: October 1996]

Saudi Arabia, a country not easy to visit. A country, moreover, with a double face. On the one hand, Western oriented, and an ally of the US. On the other hand, one of the countries sticking closely to strict laws derived from the Koran. This leads to incredible situations for Westerners. Women have to cover their faces (and I don't even mention legs or arms), and there is a real segregation of the sexes. It is not possible for a woman to go to the sports centre. Bathing is only possible in private resorts. And even being in a taxi with men other than first degree family or husbands, is forbidden.

Picture of Jeddah house decorations (Saudi Arabia): Jeddah street art

So there I was, with some colleagues of which the majority was female. We decided anyway to try to see something of Jeddah, and found out that a Dutch architect guides people around the old city centre. Although being a rich country, we also found some ghettos for Pakistani and Indian workers, who were as far as we could see living in awesome circumstances. Nevertheless, it was very interesting to walk around this city - and indeed, it almost felt like walking on the edge all the time.

Picture of Jeddah house decorations (Saudi Arabia): Jeddah balcony

As soon as the imam called for prayer, all establishments closed and everyone rushed to prayer. And after less than half an hour, every shop would open again and resume business. It is nearly unnecessary to say that there were hardly any women in the streets. And those who were there, were wrapped in their clothes as our colleagues were. In the end, we even lost them because we could not recognize them anymore! Still, overall there remains a strong feeling of suppression, of un-freedom, of a very controlled society.

Picture of Jeddah house decorations (Saudi Arabia): Decorated wooden door in Jeddah

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