Al Balad Tour

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Above left: a shop owner and his shop in one of the many souqs.  Right: a type of sap that is used for chewing gum.  It tastes like wax and lasts for a long time.

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The pictures below are from inside the above house.  It is called Jamjoom house after the prominent Jamjoom family who owns it.  It was a custom in the older days to add new layers and rooms on to the house as the family grew.  Walking through was like a maze as you enter one room it leads you to many more.

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Below: Fried fish.  It is covered in spices, scored then deep fried.  Picked right off the fish and eaten with your hands it was a delicious unique meal.

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In April I went on a walking tour of Balad (the old neighbourhood).  Tourism is not popular in Saudi Arabia mostly because the only visa’s you can obtain are as a religious pilgrim or for a work.  There are few companies offering tours.  Those that do operate are small and despite efforts I am sure, are unorganized with many events or excursions being canceled if there are not the required limited number of participants.

The tour that I went on was relatively well organized, other than the tour operator being almost and hour late!!  I gave him a little slack as he did me a favor holding the tour without the minimum 10 participants.  We spent the late morning and afternoon walking around, visiting souqs and abandoned houses then finished with a traditional fried fish lunch.  Balad means the old town, many of the first inhabitants of Jeddah lived here over a hundred years ago in the same houses we can see today.  The cement was made from coral which can breath allowing it to age well.  The wood on the homes was imported from Indonesia.

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