Almost Paradise

This is a private beach on a family compound in the Obhur area north of Jeddah. There are several villas for each sibling and their families, plus one for the parents. The walkway leading out to the gazebo actually divides the private beach into two sections. There is also a swimming pool and a huge barbecue for outdoor entertaining. Unfortunately, the family adheres to some of the stringent cultural norms/extremes here, including strict segregation of the sexes. This means that the in-laws do not mix with one another. So when the entire family is there to enjoy a weekend at the beach, there are three possible scenarios. Either one branch of the family can enjoy the outdoors at a time, or just men, or only just the women, at any one given time. Any of these scenarios require scheduling of some sort. I had always heard and thought that the Saudis really value and focus on family relationships, however when there is this type of separation within the family, it makes me wonder exactly what kind of relationships are there? This is not my idea of how I would want a get-together with my family to be.

About SusieOfArabia

American woman now living in hubby's homeland of Saudi Arabia
This entry was posted in Culture, Life, Nature, Photo, Tradition and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Almost Paradise

  1. Asif Samad says:


    Nice pictures, will relocating to Jeddah soon, which compound is this? Am looking for 1 or 2 bedroom apartment? Thanks for any info.

    Best Regards.

  2. jhoney says:

    Interesting Read! Very detailed blog.
    Thanks for sharing

  3. Sally says:

    I suppose it could have the benefit of cutting down on family arguments! There’s parts of my family I’d prefer not to be on the same continent as, much less beach 😉

  4. very picturesque! I also enjoyed your observations. It is sometimes hard to understand what others lifestyles have always been regarding segregation. I enjoy talking with everyone in a large extended family so prefer more inclusiveness. It would be hard to do a schedule. I am glad you enjoyed the basket cactus on my site. I have bunny ear cactus up today.

  5. Marahm says:

    This magnificent image, along with your description of its ownership and guidelines for usage, remind me of the many approach/avoidance conflicts that exist in Saudi Arabia.

    I remember visiting a similar beach in Jeddah, and sitting on the sand with a group of women, all of us covered from head to toe in black. The others felt great because they could take off their face covers and savor the sea breeze on their faces; I felt as though I were sitting in the middle of a surrealistic dream.

  6. Judy says:

    Beautiful beach and great picture. I am also wondering about the custom.

  7. Lovely shot, Susie. Coudln’t agree w/ you more about the issue of family.

  8. Jacob says:

    That kind of segregation seems almost a desecration of such a beautiful place. It also seems most unnatural to one of my free-spirited rebelliousness.

  9. Arija says:

    It does smack of Victorian morals of separate bathing beaches for the sexes and the ladies covered from neck to ankle. Not really what one expects nowadays.
    When I started reading about this complex, I thought how lovely, it must be a strong family to have houses in close proximity to each other, we have that on the farm with our daughter and grandchildren live 100 metres down hill from us on 500 acres.
    With all the segregation and rules and regulations you delineate I think it would be hell. You would be afraid all the time of contravening some family dictum.

  10. Pagan Sphinx says:

    Sounds like a recipe for stress and tension. Unless it’s all done in a very pragmatic, businesslike way. Odd custom.

    Your photo is lovely, though.

  11. Jerry M says:

    A beautiful shot and I share your wonder at how much fun a family get together can be if it is segregated.

  12. m_m says:

    It looks great! I like different colours of the water:)

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