Thursday, August 20, 2009

Twenty-six hours of travel later...

Traveling overseas is mentally, physically, and emotionally draining because of the shifting time zones, long airplane flights, and a degree of uncertainty which is natural when you are moving through airports where few speak your language fluently. My experience today was both better and worse than I remember my trans-pacific flights.

I felt fortunate to fly an airline that offered very good food and tons of entertainment, but even the most comfortable economy class seat cannot compare with one’s own bed – especially when there are screaming babies nearby. I had a layover in Dubai, which went very smoothly, but customs in Jeddah was nightmarish. To be fair, everybody I talked to said that it has never been as bad as it was today, but I still think that 3.5 hours of standing in line to have one’s passport stamped is toeing that fine line between bureaucratic incompetency and a violation of human rights.

The guys who picked me up were still cheery even after a long and uncertain waiting for me to come through those opaque glass doors. One of them said that on the bright side, every day in Saudi Arabia should be better than my first - and without risking too much I am inclined to agree.

I am tired. Twenty-eight hours after setting out from New York this morning, I am finally sitting in a really snazzy hotel lobby… waiting for my room to be cleaned before I can go up and take a shower.

Sometimes it’s the little things in life that make or break you, and right now I just need a shower.

Still excited to be here though! Here is a photo from outside of my hotel window. There is a lot of sand, but also some greenery in Jeddah.


  1. 3 1/2 hours man? I've never had a trip through customs take that long... I hope the water is fresh and clean for ya!

  2. good luck in Jeddah. I have never been in Jeddah, but I went to Mecca and Medina.Hope you a very nice stay in Saudi Arabia.