And we're down to our last day in Jeddah! (Yes, yes... it took me quite a while to post this. It's been weeks since DAY 1 and DAY 2. So sorry!)
As you've probably seen in our Facebook page, this is the day we went to a beach resort. But first, if you still have time in the morning, a perfect way to spend it is to see Jeddah's historical district in Balad. Lucky for us, it's just a stone throw away from our hotel so we always pass by this area and take shots while we're in the taxi. However, we should've really got down and roamed around to see the old houses up close. A friend once mentioned that it's actually closed off and there were guards but they're probably more lenient on women in roaming around and taking photographs of the area.
|The gate to the historical quarter|
|Old buildings and houses|
|The mosque in the area|
|A look from the other side of the street|
Know more about Jeddah's Historical District here.
|Waiting at the hotel's lobby|
R and I had an early breakfast to meet our 9 o'clock call time with Kuya A, who was recommended by Kuya Kenji to take us around Jeddah. We called him up the day before to take us to North Obhur were a beach resort was calling our names. Haha. We met him in the hotel lobby and off we went to Makarim AlNakheel Resort. I put a lot of effort in finding this resort. You see, it is not that easy to plan this trip to the beach. First, there were beach resorts that are not open to ladies only. They needed male guardians to accompany us. Next, there are some resorts that do not accept day trips, especially when we're making a booking just days before (ex. Riviera). An overnight stay would cost us around SR800. And third, there are some resorts that just don't pick up their phones. Ugh. So despite the numerous resorts in Jeddah, we had to pick one that accepts both locals and expats. We have no qualms in mixing with the locals except for their rule in the beach area, which is ridiculous if you don't know anything about Saudi Arabia: Women can wear anything to swim in the beach except swimsuits and bathing suits.
|Th road to Obhur... the Haj Terminal afar|
Ohhhhkay. That is totally only in Saudi Arabia. Not wanting to wear an abaya or jeans in the sea water, we were resolved to just swim in the ladies' pool. A good decision too because it was just too hot when we arrived in the resort 45 minutes later. We only had until 12 noon to frolic in the water before we had to return to the city, pack our stuff, and check-out of Red Sea Palace Hotel.
|Welcome to AlNakheel Resort!|
Makarim AlNakheel Resort is probably the first resort you'll see when you get to Obhur. the resort, operated by the Makarim Hospitality Group, is just one of the many Makarim hotels and resorts in Saudi Arabia owned by the Saudi Hotels and Resorts Company. This particular Makarim resort is beautiful, posh, and clean. It's mainly a vacation residence resort and the lay out of the place is nice and orderly. There are hotel rooms which you can rent for overnight stays. And there were a lot of villas which you can own. (Wow, mayaman!) We paid SR160 for the day trip which includes a lunch buffet and use of all amenities available. If you're opting not to partake in the buffet, fee is only SR100. There weren't a lot of people when we arrived (thank goodness) so we had the gardens all to ourselves.
|Cool round fountain in the middle of the resort grounds|
|(Click photo for a panoramic look at the resort)|
We had a good look at the beach area. With the ridiculous beach attire rule and the sun bearing down on us, it was really a good call not to swim in the beach. It was just a shame to not have the opportunity to take photos in the sea shore. (Pumunta sa beach ng walang picture sa beach?! Very unFilipino. Haha!)
|Pool for kids|
|The yacht club|
|The beach front|
|Sea shore + hot sun|
|(Click for a panoramic shot of the beach area)|
The Ladies Health Club is a nice area though we wish it should've been bigger. There were a few shower stalls, changing rooms and lockers. There's one huge pool and a small one for the kids. The women in charge were kabayans and they were really friendly. There was a no photography rule in the pool so we had to ignore our cameras for a while (another disadvantage of being in a mixed place instead of an expats-only resort).
|The men's pool is quite similar to the women's|
|A small whirlpool for kids at the Ladies' Area|
After an hour or so of swimming, we had to go because we had to go back to the hotel and eat lunch. However, when we went there, the buffet was not yet open. They said it will open at 1pm but we need to leave by that time! We were frustrated with this turn of event because we had to wait for the F&B manager for a refund of our SR60 only to be disappointed when he said he couldn't. Anyway, we didn't want to ruin our experience in the resort so we just left. Kuya A came back to pick us up and off we went back to the city center. By this time, we were already talkative beyond comprehension. I think we pestered the silent, shy kuya into talking more than his usual. Haha.
|The buffet area of the restaurant|
We met kuya's friendly relatives when we had a short stop at their flat to ask his aunt the nearest abaya souk in the area. Yes, despite of spending half day in Bawadi, we still needed more abayas. Hahaha. We went back to the hotel, packed our stuff, and checked out. We squeezed in a visit to the Balad center, Jeddah's version of Batha. It is where Filipinos and Indians flock to remit money, buy local goods, and hang-out with friends. Like Batha on a weekend, Balad is packed to the brim! And surprisingly, no muttawas on sight! Haha. We bought a few more abayas; prices were a little less than in Bawadi but I think it was because we picked simpler designs this time. We also saw the Jollibee branch there.
|Nice to see Al-Balad|
|Lots of doves in their courtyard|
|Lots of other nationalities and sidewalk vendors|
|Dusk over Balad|
|Time to go home...|
We had a quick stop in an Al-Baik branch before we headed to the airport. R was bringing packs of the popular chicken to friends back in Riyadh while I managed to bring 2 just for the family back home (also, there was no more space for more in my luggage). If you want to bring more, Al-Baik has a box ready for long trips and flights so you may want to consider that. To prevent the broasted chicken's aroma from wafting in the lounge and the plane, we had it packed in zipped plastic outside the airport for SR 10 each. Check-in was a breeze in the airport but there were many people! Their domestic terminal also caters to some international flights so we were a bit confused at first where to go after we checked in our luggage. When we found it, we waited for an hour to board. The waiting lounge was buzzing with activities.
|Coming home to Riyadh|
Finally, it was time to go home to Riyadh. In a way, it is kind of bittersweet. We enjoyed Jeddah and its differences from Riyadh made it such a unique place for us but we know in our hearts that Riyadh is still the place for us. As per Mr. Kenji's words, "Wag kayong lilipat dito sa Jeddah. Ang Pink Tarha ladies ay bagay sa Riyadh." We hope that was said in a positive note. Haha.
To the kind and wonderful people we met in Jeddah, thank you for the warm welcome and the conversations. We wouldn't enjoy Jeddah as much as we did without you.Thank you very much for a nice experience, Jeddah! We'll be back soon. Hopefully. :)
Oh, and Mr. NJ's gift?
|Lots of freshwater shrimps... huge and juicy!!!|