Down by the Red Sea

Down by the Red Sea

When I lived in Saudi Arabia, excursions to the Red Sea were the favourite weekend entertainment of we Westerners. To behold the coral reef is awe inspiring. The fish: turquoise, orange, canary yellow, magenta or with black stripes, come in all shapes and sizes. As well as snorkelling and diving among the fish, we would catch and eat parrot fish, grouper, and spotted halfbeak. I once even saw a shark give a dolphin a thrashing. Speaking of dolphins, they would swim alongside our Zodiac when we sped along en route to nearby islands (which, by the way, was forbidden).

This reminiscing about the fabled Red Sea leads my thoughts to Jeddah. Like any seaside city, Jeddah has a boulevard along the waterfront, known as the Corniche. Strolling along the Corniche while listening to the sound of the waves splashing with the incoming/outgoing tide, feeling the soft warm breeze in my hair, and hearing the evening call to prayer from the many mosques was, to me, a transcendent experience. Those of you who haven't felt the Red Sea and the mystery of this ancient land will think I am maudlin. But now, many years later, these remain my most memorable times in Saudi Arabia.

And I haven't even elaborated on the wonder of the old city of Jeddah.

Although we have always had positions at hospitals in Jeddah, we have never had a large number of openings, primarily because Western people tend to settle for longer periods in Jeddah, and consequently there is less staff turnover.

Helen Ziegler

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