Around the World in 80 Days
Day 12: 6 October
In the last 48 hours I've grown very fond of Captain Abbas and we leave with regret. His boat I shan't shed many tears for, though. I feel travel-worn and grubby and haven't had a good bath since leaving the Egitto.
On the quayside at Jeddah we're met by Achmed, our man from the Ministry (of Information), and Nick, a young man from the British Embassy in Riyadh. Everything is very formal here. Things have to be done the right way. The cheerful anarchy of Egypt is a thing of the past. For the grubby, flagged floor of the custom-house in Alexandria substitute an air-conditioned plastic-finished international terminal. VDU screens shimmer behind colour-coordinated desks. The walls are covered with framed evidence of the Saudi boom - photos of dams, highways, power lines. For the Egyptian workers from off the Saudi Moon it's the Promised Land, but not their Promised Land. One of them has a last spit in a lined litter-bin before his passport is stamped.
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