Jedd@h, in one word, is just so relaxed. I was constantly amazed how relaxed the families were sitting in different clumps by the beach. I have expected the religious police coming to round them up, telling them that they mustn't look too happy in public or that no family should sit together, must be separated, the men from the women.
The restaurants had no partitions, no curtains and there were quite a few women without their face covered.
Just shows how different the city I live in is compared to Jeddah.
I had a naughty notion of staying at the Movenpick Hotel on the second night. Very inviting the idea of a chalet facing the sea. We went to the reception asking about prices. We did decide a budget before hand. Alas the room was slightly above our budget but the nice guy at the reception obliged us with a peek at the rooms. A good sized bathroom, a decent shower bathroom cum laundry room, a kitchenette cum spacious living room, and outside, a private pool facing the sea! Imagine sleeping with the sound of the waves! Its obvious that we've been landlocked for too long.
We decided that we would stay there the next time we come to town. It would be a wonderful treat!
To make us feel better, we treated ourselves with a decent dinner buffet at the Al-Wadaa restaurant, a waterfront dining experience. It was refreshing eating mussels and fish with the fresh sea breeze flowing. They even had music there! I was just so amazed!
All through dinner all I could think about was Alhamdullilah! Praise to Allah for the joys he has given us in our lives. It is a wonderful treat when we don't have to worry about paying dinner when not too long ago I was debating if I should buy a sandwich or save that money for groceries! Alhamdullilah indeed! We have it good.
The next day we were ready for our long drive home. For some reason my DH who normally has an impeccable sense of direction had a difficult time getting us to the right track. Due to the heavy traffic on the highway to M@kkah (this being a Friday before Friday prayers) we decided to take the scenic "obligatory for non-muslim" road to Taif. The view was amazingly spectacular. Kept kicking ourselves for not bringing our camera for this trip. The mountain range against the beautiful blue sky was just spectacular.
The sky so blue, the road was mainly empty and there was even a beautiful glimpse of a shepherd with his donkey as we drove past a Wadi.
We were very surprised that the road to Taif was so quiet. We assumed that it was because it was Friday. We were hoping that it wasn't the winding road. but alas, it was the winding road, very quiet though and even the checkpoint was unmanned.
The view however was spectacular. The previous times we took the road was from Taif to Makkah, with impatient traffic, sometimes in the dark. It was difficult to concentrate on the views then. But on this amazing Friday we could enjoy the glorious beauty of Allah's creation.
Until we discovered that the rest of the road was closed that is!
Determined to push on, we drove back towards Makkah. Perhaps our impatience, our desire to avoid the Friday traffic got the better of us. Or perhaps we were just given the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Eventually we made back into the boundaries of Haram and I said a quick prayer. All I asked for is a speedy drive home so that we will arrive home quickly, safely.
That detour into the boundaries of Haram did wonders! We arrived home just short before isya', enjoyed the wonderful dinner the bought on the way home and had a restful night's sleep.
Roadtrips like this one reminded me of the many drives we used to make. A bit different now with the addition of The Little One who has brought nothing short of joy and happiness to our lives.
I came back with a new peace. Peace with myself with the small niggling voices banished. Alhamdullilah life is good and InsyAllah the future will fall in place.