PEr FYI

June 3, 2010

Reydan restaurant, Jeddah…great restaurant where the locals go

This place has some seriously fantastic food. They serve a traditional bedouin feast, where a selection of food is placed on the floor in the centre of a ring of seated guests. Makbus and Lahm Mindi (casserole of meat, usually lamb, or chicken with rice) are particular favourites. The lamb biryani, slow roasted lamb shank buried in a mound seasoned basmati rice made with walnuts and raisins was great too.

“THIS TASTES SO GOOD”… that is what goes through my mind every time I take a bite. The chunks of lamb are tender, juicy and bursting with flavor.

Overall everything was great and plenty of food for us.  Didn’t cost that much either.  Very nice find.  Only one minor note, the workers there are a bit hard to understand and may not understand you that well so you may have to repeat yourself or go with someone who speaks Arabic.  However, to me that’s a sign of a very authentic and delicious place. This is the true truth because I always say it as it is…

from left: Gary, Adrian, GGM, Hawk, Paul

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May 20, 2010

Saudi Arabian Airlines….never again. Ever!

My strong recommendation: avoid this airline like the plague. Saudi Arabian Airlines is to be avoided at all costs. Do not fly on this airline. Otherwise, this may happen to you…

BeRt and I transited in Riyadh from Jeddah on our way to Doha. Our luggages have been checked through to Doha but we had to obtain our RUH-DOH boarding pass while in transit. The staff refused to check us onto the SV542 because we did not have an electronic visa, even though we vehemently pointed out to him that the Qatar Embassy website states that Malaysian and American passport holders will have VOA (Visa on Arrival) in Doha. He then proceeded to offload one luggage while the other luggage was flown to Doha….without the passenger! We had to purchase two extremely expensive tickets to fly out of Riyadh to Dubai (on SV554) on the spot. Surprise, surprise…it was cash only sale…no credit cards accepted.We had to sprint like an Olympic gold medallist to the ATM downstairs to withdraw the SAR2,300 to pay for the tickets. It took a lot of phone calls, persuasion, cajoling, begging to get those airport staff with a major indifferent attitude to get the luggage out of Doha and re-routed to Dubai. The luggage finally arrived in Dubai 30 hours later…and in a trashed up condition as well. (Why are we not surprised anymore at this stage?)

Oh yes, that same airport staff who denied us to board the plane subsequently told us to try to fly on Qatar Airways to Doha. If he was sure that we couldn’t gain entry into the country because we did not have an electronic visa, how could we get in if we’d flown a different airline? The bloke obviously realised by then that he’d made a mistake. A few other colleagues of mine got into Doha on VOA the next day without any problems. We are of the same nationalities.

Cabin crew are rated poor for appearance, atrocious for service, poor for comprehension, equally poor for assistance during flight. The service isn’t the best in the business, but it might qualify as the worst.

Had the worst travelling experience by Saudi Arabian Airline. My review may be harsh and somewhat silly to some, but here are the ratings I will give you:

On a scale of 1-10

Value for Money : 3
Service: 2 (if you don’t mind getting burned from a flight attendant pouring tea on you then go ahead and risk it)
Seats: 4 (the plane SV1026 from Jeddah to Riyadh must be at least 30 years old)
Ground: 0 (The staff basically do not care)
Ticketing: 1 (You can’t even purchase a ticket and make payment online)

Do not consider Saudi Arabian Airlines for any travels unless you are prepared to tolerate the service, the airport and more so – if you must transit via the Kingdom. This is the absolute true truth and I am saying it as it is.

May 19, 2010

Moevenpick Jeddah…..tolerable hotel in a convenient location

Filed under: hotel, Saudi Arabia, Travel — Tags: , , , , — PEr @ 10:48 am

This is a pleasant hotel but would be better if they kept the carpets in the bedroom clean. For a 5-year old hotel, the upkeep must not be very good as the carpet looked more like 15 years old.

Whoever designed the rooms were not thinking about the business traveller. When you set your laptop on the working table where the broadband line is, you’d have to remove the power plug for the standing lamp (like my colleague did) or in my case, the TV so that you can plug in your laptop to the power socket. In a twin-beeded room like mine, you’d think they would install light switches beside both beds instead of just one. The water pressure in the bathroom basin was either too low or too strong. Caution, wash your hands in a raincoat if you want to avoid getting your business suit all wet. I think the water supply in these taps are from the tall fountain in the city.

A handful of staff were courteous, friendly and helpful. The rest better be left unmentioned. An example would be the service staff at breakfast egg station in the morning, who goes about his work like it’s community service. Just when you need to go to the airport to catch a flight after breakfast, the service staff decides to vacate his post for 20 minutes and no amount of asking would get him to come back to prepare the two sunny side eggs you’d want. 

This is the true truth and I say it as it is.

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