Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Travel Tuesday: A Visit to Jeddah and the Red Sea

Facebook reminded me that three years ago, my family were swimming in the Red Sea and admiring the fish we saw. Jeddah is a coastal town on the Red Sea and has been an important port city for centuries. Rumors abound among the expat community about private beaches and resorts that allow only westerners to enjoy snorkeling, sun bathing, and swimming without the typical restrictions of abayas and religious police (AKA--the Muttawa).

Our family did some covert operations and found a hotel and resort we could stay at. I can't reveal the hotel because it really is a secret and they like to keep it that way so they can continue to operate without interference.

Right after school ended, we headed to the airport and flew to Jeddah. A friend and colleague of my husband's picked us up and showed us around his home town. He even showed us where the Osama Bin Laden family complex was located. That was kind of wild.

My impressions of Jeddah were a little disappointing. Like Riyadh, a lot of the home exteriors are really dumpy and gross. Trash is everywhere. I don't know why I was surprised because even in the desert, you have to go really far away from people to escape the trash. Interestingly enough, my dad's cousin and her children lived in Jeddah in the 1980s. Two of my friends in my ward lived in Jeddah as well in the 1980s.

Fortunately the resort was amazing. We opted to stay right on the beach in a couple of bungalows so that we could spend all day and evening on the beach and in the ocean.

We found out they offered scuba certification lessons. This is something both my husband and I have always wanted to do. Because I was pregnant and someone needed to watch the kids, the kids and I decided that giving scuba certification lessons to my husband would be the best Father's Day present. And it was the best present. He was able to get one-on-one training and practice. He really loved his experience.

We purchased snorkel sets for each person in the family. We taught the little kids how to breathe and swim with the snorkels on in a salt water pool at the resort. I really thought that Jonathan and Brooke wouldn't be able to learn. But they did! Especially Jonathan. Once he put his face in the water and saw all the fish, he was hooked. He saw as much as possible.

We spent hours in the water swimming around and exploring.

We played on the sand and caught hermit crabs.

We ate yummy food and enjoyed delicious drinks from the on-site restaurant.

It was a wonderful experience. I am so glad we got to visit Jeddah.

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