Visiting Saudi Arabia was never on my bucket list. But, since I spent 8 hours there yesterday, I might consider adding it and crossing it off. The past few times I've flown around the world, I've had my layover in Korea. Seoul has an incredible airport. Free hot showers, free massage chairs, free internet, nice lounging chairs, a mall, Starbucks, etc. Saudi has a sort of different feel.... as in, opposite.
The airport (or at least the part 'transfers' are allowed in) consists of one giant room with three tiny cafes. There are tables for eating at, or waiting room chairs for sitting. There are bathrooms and a duty free store. There are signs around that say 'Wi-Fi Zone', but I had no luck getting online. Here are some of the thoughts I had while enduring my 8 hour layover:
"Wow. There are only 2 other white people in this whole airport."
"Wow. There are only 2 other people wearing pants in this whole airport." (Apparently dresses are a "thing" here.)
"I've never wished for a traveling companion more than I do right now."
"Soggy chicken nuggets at (what my body thinks is) 6 a.m. is not my meal of choice. I'm glad it was free." (Props to Saudi Airlines for 2 free meal vouchers for my stay! That's a perk Korean Air doesn't provide!)
"Arabs have beautiful faces."
"I really wish I had someone with me to experience this."
"I'm back in the land of squatty potties, BYO toilet paper, and wet toilet seats."
"If you didn't know your gender before arriving, you will by the time you leave!" (There are separate male and female entrances for everything!)
"Is the peel tab top on my soda can more or less effective than the pop top on the cans in America?"
"What am I going to do for the remaining 7.5 hours of my layover?"
"The only thing worse than soggy chicken nuggets at 6 am is soggy chicken nuggets AGAIN at 10 am. At least they're still free."
Needless to say, although it was 3 hours shorter than my last layover, it was THE longest layover of my life to date! However, I survived, and of course, now have stories to tell!