I tend to write about this certain area in Jeddah quite a lot. More so, because I think it is a place that should not be missed by expats and a must-do while visiting Jeddah. AL BALAD, covers a very large portion of the district and is can be very hard to navigate. After being so many times before I am always surprised to see what I discover that time around. On my latest trip to AL BALAD it donned on me that the area is rather clearly sectioned depending on what you want. This time around we were looking for particular woods craftsmen from Yemen. While the mate kept referring to where we were heading as AL YEMENA, with my camera in hand the wandering began.
To get a better understanding, if you recall your hometowns many of them will have certain areas in the city dedicated to shops, restaurants and tradesmen’s of a certain ethnic community; Chinatown,Little Italy, Greektown, etc. Well, here in Saudi Arabia they have similar areas dedicated to ethnic groups that make up large populations of the huge expat community. Here you will find neighbours dedicated to Yemenis’, Indians’, Somalians’, Pakistanis’, Sudanese, Indonesians’, Bengalis’ and Ethiopians’.
These areas are fantastic glimpses into the culture and traditions of many of the people you encounter here everyday in Saudi Arabia. Once you enter the area you will be quick to see/hear people bargaining , dining, and socializing in their mother tongue. Some people will even be wearing their cultural attire.
Here are some glimpses of what we encountered in the narrow alleys of AL YEMENA….