The world’s first Muslim-American embassy is in Saudi Arabia. Since its establishment in 1970, the mission has provided sanctuary to countless religious and cultural minorities who reside in both the Saudi Arabia and USA. I was lucky enough to spend three weeks at the facility as part of a business exchange program. This article covers some of my impressions of the people and civilization of the area.
The people are incredibly warm and hospitable. They greet you with warmth and appreciate your efforts to make their lives better. From their guard dogs to the traditional houses they live in, the people are extremely welcoming. Their stores and restaurants display items from all over the world and the people are happy to sell you anything. There is a vast supermarket located on the King Abdulazzzah Road which displays mainly local products.
It is difficult to find a shop that does not have a pastry chef preparing traditional Arabic dishes such as hummus, shaat, and salsa. The atmosphere is jovial and the dining experience is excellent. Although it is not possible to try any Arabic food, I can tell you that the meals are very healthy, tasty and fresh. The spices used are relatively mild, which makes them much more palatable than the harsher varieties of spices commonly found in the Middle East.
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The buildings are surprisingly intact and still in excellent condition. Although there are some minor dents and broken bricks here and there, the general condition of the buildings is good. There are many hotels in the area, but the best one to choose is likely to be the Sunidays Hotel because of the excellent location and luxury amenities such as Jacuzzi baths. On your first day, you will notice that most of the men in the town are wearing long abayas (long tunics). The women mostly wear loose tunics and long dresses. Both groups tend to be extremely polite and speak English easily.
When you decide to visit the mosques, you will see that they are quite impressive in appearance. There are hundreds of holy places and statues in all shapes, sizes and colors. It is believed that all of them have sociological significance and are holy in their own right. This includes the Shi’a Islamic mosque in Quseir, which is located at the very centre of the city. The Bosphorus Bridge is another historical landmark and is the largest one in the whole of Turkey.
You will need to take a ferry from Antalya, across to the Black Sea resort of Marmaris. From here, you will be able to reach your resort by car or train. There are many car hire companies around the resort area and a number of rental car companies operating in the surrounding areas. For those that have rented a vehicle, they will generally be able to drop you off at your resort, take you back to Antalya, pick you up again, and drop you off again on the way back to Marmaris.