Back in JeddahJune 1 in Saudi Arabia ⋅ ☀️ 37 °C
....And, as was to be expected, Lola could not be repaired in Al Bahah.
Now plan B: move to Jeddah, which is close to 400km away. One of my Saudi friends organised a tow truck, all I needed was a travel permit. Time was of the essence as 2 days later a total curfew was to commence for all of the KSA. Hence back to visit my benefactor, the DG.
Back in his office he tells me he will now organise for my van to be transported to Jeddah and then he'll help with the repair. I object, organising transport was not necessary, but thank you very much, as that had already been done. The dapper major reprimands me: do I or don't I want the DG to help me? Oh yes, of course do I want! That's how Lola, Rex and me were picked up and driven to Jeddah the next day. For free!
I just had enough time to say my good byes and have dinner with my friend Mohammed and his family. (He's the one with the large Mercedes Benz for his 10 year old son, who is small for his age. When asked the boy how he finds the pedals, he said he sits on the edge of the car seat 🤞).
On the 22 May I moved in at an expat compound here in Jeddah.
Initially I moved in with the other overlander couple Birgit and Steffen and their 3 children. I enjoyed this livly household and their company very much, but after a few days I had my own house to move in.
Its a strange world, a parallel universe to Saudi with its western living style and dress codes. There is no need to venture into the foreign, everything you need is here: grocery store, hair dresser and beauty salon, medical services, even a vet and pet store. Several swimming and sport facilities, which I, as smuggled through the security, cannot use , and restaurants, just reopening now.
I start to comprehend why some westerners can live in those far away countries, without getting to know and understand the local population. Being locked away in those compounds with no connection to the real world.
On one hand I am happy to be here, being able again to speak with people, and have some like minded people around me, but I miss Saudi, its charm, its people, the many smiles and friendly words, the chaos. Once I have Lola again, we can continue to venture out. If it just wasn't so hot, but afterall heat has been invented by the Saudis.
Even though it urges me to get travelling again, I already dread the day I have to leave the Orient behind.
One day shortly after arriving in Jeddah, the dapper Major rings me, asking if I could send a voice mail to the Emir, praising the services I have received by the DG. Well I don't mind adding an Emir to my phone contacts; the next stop then will be the King, and after that Allah, but him I let rather wait a while. Later I wished I wouldn't have followed that request so promptly, as this lead the DG to forget all about my repairs that he promised to complete. But in the end I had some other nice people finding the right man for the job.
Today 8/7, I finally got news the transmission had been fixed, but we still need some more parts for the shaft. So slowly but surely we are getting back on the road.Read more