I am not being mean but honest. the people here are totally rude and awful. everyday i saw an incident that showed this.. from my English colleague getting whipped with a stick while he was cycling. to children throwing stones and dirt at anyone who is foreign, to treating poor migrant workers with contempt and like slaves, having change at a shops thrown at you, to regularly being confronted by teenagers.i never thought a group of people could be like this, but i was in utter shock, i don't know how i lasted 4 months there.. in jubail,.. al huba and dammam.. i having nothing personal against any group of people , i am merely stating my experience and feeling there, and it was shared by many of my colleagues.
oh the kids , as young as 9, drive cars here, they speed on the highway way over125 mph and some teens drift with their cars. everything is cheap though. oh i was working in a college, all schools are seperate sex and lets just say i think some of the boys get too friendly with each other.
my advise to living in such a place, don't get provoked, if you are there for work just put your head down and get on with it, if you are a muslim and believe you are going to the "homeland" prepare for the worst, sorry it's true, maybe in Mecca or Medina it's fine.
If you ever wanted to know what it is like to be in a NASCAR, F-1, or Rally race then look no futher than Saudi Arabia. These are some of the world's craziest drivers. They pass on shoulders, run lights, and anything else you can or maybe cannot imagine. I continue to be bemused and worried about it. If anything kills me over here it will be a traffic accident worthy of headline coverage on CNN.
This is a segregated society and women are separate from men. If you see a woman don't stare and don't try to make conversation. If she asks you a question or otherwise engages the conversation then it is OK but other wise you run the risk of getting in trouble with the religious police.
Women cannot go outside unless they wear the black abaya. I took this candid photo on day when walking in Khobar. I took a risk doing so even though the shot is from behind but I could not resist. These two were out just strolling along but they were having a very animated conversation as they wnet.
saudi, generally, has a long battle with water shortage. although there is one giagantic water refining factory by the western coast, the water usually remains semi-filtred and not quite clean and not suitable for drinking. when you turn on the tap at first, it will pour rusty or yellowish water, even though it becomes clear in a few moments later.
so be warned, NEVER drink from the tap. always have a sealed bottle of water with you.
I almost forgot: Stay away from Deera Square in the old section of Riyadh on Fridays from the end of midday mosque service until the "asr" mid-afternoon prayers. The expats call it "chop chop" square for a reason. There's always a big crowd to watch the beheadings and they're all hopped up from a long and fiery sermon...the Mutaween is, of course, all over the place, and if they notice you're a Westerner, they'll push you up to the front so you can see Sharia justice in action...sometimes several times over. And it's not always a beheading, sometimes it's a teenage girl being stoned to death. Did I mention they won't let you leave till it's over?
I suspect most of them just like to watch us filthy infidels throw up on their shoes.
Dress like the locals. If possible, buy your Saudi clothes online and wear them out of the airport. Abaya with hijab headscarf for women (and a niquab veil if you think you can take it, though it's not legally mandated), thawb with keffiyeh/agal headdress for men.
Act like the locals. Women: driving, riding a bike, or going anywhere unescorted by your HUSBAND (note: not boyfriend/fiance) or an immediate male family member is against the law. Sucks if you're a single woman, which is an excellent reason for single women not to go to the Kingdom. The Mutaween religious police are the ones who check this stuff; I've personally witnessed them walking around demanding Western couples for proof that they are married or related. These are the same cats that blocked a bunch of schoolgirls from escaping a burning school in 2002 because they weren't wearing their abayas and hijabs...Fair warning. Do what it takes to make them happy...follow 10-feet behind your husband when he walks, especially if he's talking to another man, don't speak unless addressed, and avoid eye contact with other men. These concepts may be pretty draconian, but sticking out like a sore thumb in The Kingdom is a very, very bad idea (for several reasons). It's better just to play the game.
In public: avoid speaking about Islam, Mohammad, the Kingdom, the al-Saud family, or anything else controversial. People get offended easily over there, and it's against the law to speak ill of any of the above. Don't profess other religions, either. That's against the law. Don't sing or dance; it's immodest, and against the law. Basically, act like you're in church any time you're in public: quiet and respectful. Don't take photos of women (even your wife!) on the street; it's considered highly immodest for a woman to have her picture taken, and anyone nearby will go batshit. Learned this one the hard way. When in doubt, ask someone very respectfully and they'll tell you. In this place, it's much better to ask permission than forgiveness.
Be careful from fake Security (Police) persons, if any one ask you about your Aqama (Residence permit) don't give him until you are not sure about him. If he is in plain cloths then awlays first ask him to show his identity card.
Many incidents happened, local young Saudis rob the innocent people by snatching their wellect and Aqamas, which they sell in SR 500.
Saudi society is conservative and private. Men or women prefer to head a private life almost in everything.
So if you want to take a picture in public, avoid taking pictures of people unless if you ask for their permission.
If you are teaching at school or college and planning to have a field trip, make sure to have parents' permission even for 20-year-old students.
I'm not trying to get you obsessed, but always ask for a permission.
Once I was at Jeddah's corniche taking picture of the seaside. Then a woman was partially yelling, 'No picture, No picture'. Although she was fully covered, she felt uncomfortable. So I explained that I was taking picture of the sea. goodness as if i was stealing or 'killing' pics!
The picture displayed shows no people but I was asked to stop shooting. well, you'll definitely end up with pictures zoomed out and butts without faces,lol.
While you're driving merrily on the road between Riyadh and Gassim or Dammam or any other road on the kingdom, and as you drive through a turn, you may come to a very close encounter with a Camel! yes! a camel on the highway! In the middle of the road!
and you won't always find signs warning you of a camel crossing, because those creatures jump fences and just wander along the road not paying any attention to the cars, drive carefully and drive with care!
If your not muslim, do not wear any symbols of whatever other religion you may be.
Bibles, crosses, star of david etc... will be taken away from you, sometimes at Customs.
There are no churches in Saudi Arabis also, they are banned!!
Strange, I live in the multi-religious city of London. I find it incredible that Saudi Arabia is afraid of its citizens being 'offended' by the presence of Christians in its territory.
Women, cover up. Unfortunately if you don't you may be looked on as cheap.
Remember, the tolerance we have at home is not expressed in many Arab countries.
Porn is also forbidden in Saudi Arabia. And be warned, that what they consider porn, may not be what you consider porn. A movie with a woman in a bikini can be considered porn here. You will be fined for it.
Alcohol is forbidden in Saudi Arabia. You can get into a lot of trouble if you are caught with alcohol. You can even be deported. Personally, I don't think it is worth the risk. The best bet would be to go across the causeway to Bahrain if you would like a drink. It is legal there.
It gets very hot here and the heat can be intense. Be sure to drink plenty of water here to avoid getting dehydrated. By the time you are thirsty it could be too late. Always carry a bottle of water with you here, so that you don't dehydrate!
Shamals are desert sand storms and they can be dangerous. High winds with sand blowing around in waves. Be careful and try to not be outside during them. Some are worse than others. They make for very bad driving conditions as well. If you can avoid it, don't go out in itl These pictures were taken from the end of my street. This Shamal came about around the time for school to be out.
Saudi Arabia or the Gulf area is considered to be no.1 in car accidents in the world. Actually, car accident is among the top 5 causes of death in Saudi.
Usually teenagers have got their own cars and can speed up to 200KM. Taxi drivers also are well-know for their higher possibility of having car accidents than other drivers.
Also because 75%of the land is desert, on the highways connecting cities, usually camels cross the street and increase car accidents on the highways.
At least, five car accidents occur in Jeddah every week. This is one city. What about the whole Kingdom?
Besides, most people have no car insurance and if you by an accident their cars, you'd pay for it.
Always watch out
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