Ta’if

Ta’if is a smaller town in the mountains (1,879m altitude) 177km to the east of Jeddah.  Because of the cooler climate, during the hot summer months, many people from all around Saudi Arabia visit Ta’if for a break from the heat.

I had the pleasure of visiting this charming town yesterday.  The hospital will occasionally organize bus trips.  I went with a colleague and good friend, Annie and her friends.  I had a fun and memorable day.   

Watching the sun rise over the desert on the outskirts of Jeddah.

Above right: Stopping for a picture with milking camels.
Below:  The camels and the bowls the milk is milked into. We didn’t drink any.  Camel milk is enjoyed and drunk my many in Saudi and is popular amongst Bedouin people.  It is drunk fresh from the camel and still warm.  I have been told that camel milk has a type of bacteria in it which is healthy for you because it ‘clears out’ your entire system.  We didn’t try any.

Below: The view on the long drive up and monkeys on the side of the road.  There are no monkeys in Jeddah.

Below: Pictures in town.  Ta’if is much greener than Jeddah.  On the way home in the evening, these patches of grass on the side, and in the middle of the road were crowded with families pic-nicking.  I always see people pic-nicking on the sides of the roads (even highways) in Jeddah.  I am told that these pic-nicks are a common practice with roots from Bedouin times when much of Saudi Arabia was still a desert.

 

Below: Breakfast at the Ta’if zoo.  There were only a few animals.  I was surprised to see dogs, ducks, and turkeys included in the animals on display.

 

ATVs were for hire for approximately 5$ Canadian for 15 minutes.  Annie told me that Ta’if is more modern now than it had been 2 years ago.  On her last visit, she felt the need to cover her hair and was stared at by the locals.  On this trip, we didn’t sense anyone was staring at us.   Women were allowed on the ATVs and were even told they could remove their abiya while driving.

 

Above and below: The cable car ride down the mountain to the water park.  We drove up the road you can see on our way into town.

 

 

Above left: A ride at the park, once at the top you control the cart as it follows a track down.  The facilities were very modern (in terms of the equipment) and all the rides felt safe and comparable to Canadian standards (unlike the rides at the Eid Fair in Ballad).  The water park was another story.  There were separate areas for men and for women.  The female section was closed.  I am told it is much smaller and not nearly as much fun as the male section.  Young girls could go on the water slides and wave pool and were accompanied by their dad.  I laughed when I saw what is happening in the picture to the bottom right because you would never see this type of unsafe behaviour in Canada.  These boys would likely be kicked out of the park.  Another interesting aspect was the swim trunks.  You’ll notice all the short are below the knees.

 

Below: There is a fruit market on the way down the mountain.  The prices are cheaper than in Jeddah and the fruit is apparently higher quality.  They also sell corn cooked in charcoal which, with a bit of salt was simple and delicious.

  

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