Monday, 3 June 2013

Saudi Arabia Part 1

Middle East-Saudi Arabia-Jeddah   Jeddah is the most western city in Saudi Arabia .  You  will see western women  walking around from time to time with no head scarf. The old part of town is most interesting with wooden structures. Unfortunately this postcard does not show that. In fact Getting a visa for here is a story in itself. I had decided to arrange a tour with and for a group of fellow travellers, who were from USA. I had been in contact with a tour company in Saudi arranging an itinerary . This was all going well, until they asked about my travel business and also when they found out I was not American. I of course told them I had no travel business but just putting a tour together . As you may know Saudi Arabia does not encourage tourists. In fact there is no Tourist visa for Saudi. During my trip to California ( you will see from a previous blog) , I arranged to meet head of Saudi Airlines in Los Angeles. We had a meeting to help this trip along. In the end ( 9 months to get the visa), the Saudi Government agreed that this would be a test tour. 10 days in Saudi as a tourist. It was especially difficult to arrange because I was not American. So the tour that was taken is now the official tour that can be got in the USA. But tourist visas are not really available and I was just lucky that they let this tour go ahead. In fact Saudi was a great Country to visit. 

Got all my stamps for this trip from the Post office in Jeddah. As you will see all mail out of Saudi Arabia must go through a special office in Jeddah no matter where it is mailed from in The Kingdom. 

Middle East-Saudi Arabia-Al-Ula      Al Ula , Madain Saleh is a Well deserved World Heritage site. It is a version of Petra only much bigger. Many many buildings like this. In the Postcard no people and in reality no people either, only us a group of 5 plus guide and driver. One other person pulled out as they were concerned with security and the other person had a passport problem as they were European and could not wait any longer to see if they would get a visa or not. If this place was anywhere else it would be packed with tourists. Stayed very near  here for two nights. 

As is normal here these stamps have two postmarks. Al Ula and also the Jeddah rectangular postmark. 

Middle East-Saudi Arabia-Al Diriyah    Also a World Heritage site. This  area was founded in the 15th Century. It was also the centre of power for the House of Saud.  Unfortunately this postcard does not do the area justice. 

With a number of postmarks including the Jeddah despatch . 

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