Jiddah, Saudi Arabia

  • Date
  • 15 November 2000

New Jiddah: modern, glittering, shiny, but will it last? How long will oil continue to bring such prosperity and massive consumerism? Driving through New Jiddah one feels she could be moving through any upscale American, European or Japanese city of 2.5 million, yet a slightly sharpened look spotlights differences. Trendy, expensive stores, with fewer-than-expected paying customers inside, line the new streets with a handful of youthful females covered in flowing abayas window shopping for tiny tops. Men, wearing long, white thobes with white or red-and-white-checked ghoutras held on their heads by black cord-like igals, drive and stroll the streets, while women are rarely sighted. Lingerie stores have male clerks with male customers buying the frilly items for their wives. A closer look shows a male Kingdom.