Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

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#81 28 August 2009 11:44:38

Salman Omrani

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

Musicman,

don't worry about that, I've travelled to Japan last year and it was no trouble, and I'm sure if I'm going to the USA I will have a good reason to do so, and i'm sure I'll be givin a chance for the interview at the least, and thats enough to convince`em. ;)

#82 28 August 2009 12:13:06

alamographics
alamographics
Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

Don't worry about US customs, Salman. Just tell them you're with Shah Ruhk Khan.
Seriously though, my passport has a New York birthplace and my last name is hispanic. Yet because I've inherited more than a fair share of moorish genes, I've been subjected to the some very humiliating searches. Take heart and ask to speak to a supervisor if things get out of hand. If Sharukh has to endure two plus hours at the hands of some baggage handler in Jersey, I hate to think what they can potentially do some of us less popular fellas. -ag

#83 28 August 2009 12:43:47

CatherineMorrow

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

Gosh that's awful alamographics!!!  Did they find all those drugs and the weapons of mass distruction you were smuggling, or did you manage to cunningly hide them from the baggage handler?  ;) just kidding.

#84 28 August 2009 16:24:43

Salman Omrani

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

ag

thanks :p

but thats the least of my worries, It's always interesting to get the "please step into our VIP room" service, if you know what I mean :D

good thing you don't get any of that when coming to Saudi, except for the extremely long waiting lines to pass the terminals, espacialy when they have huge numbers of domestic labour coming in from asian nations.

but nonthe less its always fun to get a little attention here an there. when little kids go starin at me, I tell`em in a classical irish accent; Don't worry lad, I'm not a terrorist. and then I grin :lol:

#85 28 August 2009 17:43:13

alamographics
alamographics
Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

You're right about that. Going through immigration took a bit long, but at the end of it I didn't feel violated like I always do when I pass US Customs.

#86 28 August 2009 18:10:35

Salman Omrani

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

Dont wana be in your shoes :D at least not for now, maybe once I go for my higher education thingy, which reminds me, what are you doing in Ras Tanura?

ps.
I've added you as a contact, hope thats ok with you.

#87 30 August 2009 23:51:58

alamographics
alamographics
Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

Hi Salman: What kind of animator are you - the 3D type or is it just a code name? In any case, I'm teaching for a language school (ITC)which serves Saudi ARAMCO employees. But as a contractor, I don't get to live on the ARAMCO compound so I'm among the locals near the Ras main street. It's a great job, in some ways easier than teaching in the states. So, I'm glad to be added to your posts. Maybe we can meet at a football game sometime. AlKhobar's got a decent little team that I've started to follow - Al-Qadisiya. I'll be setting up a website for them. I'll send you the link when it's done. Sincerely, -a

#88 31 August 2009 00:06:34

Salman Omrani

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

Hi A,

Ras Tanura is a peacefull town, fate has it that I didnt land a job there last year, it was a contractor company as well for ARAMCO. meeting sounds like a fun idea, lets arrange that sometime, and I'll be waiting for that link :D

the animator thingy is something the expat-blog management put on, its like a title or something. I work as an HR speciallist in a fastfood chain company.

well, you got anymore quizez? :D

salman

#89 04 September 2009 01:41:32

r-m
r-m
riyadh

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

hi every one
i am a saudi woman,and here is the truth:
westren life is totally diffrent than our life style but i like it, i love this lifestyle, and for all westren ppl i say we have diffrent culture than yours.

actually i am so happy and i feel comfort in this country, i like the peac and the family life here. men show good respect for women here but not all the time (so what, men are not a big deal).
i like the freedom here (even when i wear abbaya), in fact no one can force me to do something i dont like  and no one can bother me  becouse if you know your rights no body can hurt you.

is it boaring city?no, at least for me

Last edited by r-m (04 September 2009 22:28:39)

#90 04 September 2009 01:58:19

r-m
r-m
riyadh

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

hi Nomads
this my point of view as amuslim woman
you wondered why we buy so much food during this time?
well, no we dont although i know some ppl do it but its not the basics in ramadan.

you said people tend to be tired in work.infact as working woman i dont feel tired in ramandan becouse we take a meal just befor the sunrise and this is more than enough.sometimes ppl dont eat thier breakfast at morning and still working untill the lunch time with no hunger, its the same.

yes the tempreture is high but ramadan carries alot of wonderful training goals,thurst is not big deal but be pateint is worth doing.

when drivers falling asleep behind the wheel you can say its their falt becouse they dont take enough rest either in ramadan or any other month.
i totally agree with you about the working hours in the malls, in ramadan ppl can work during day and sleep at night , just the oppist of what some families do now.inother hand you can see the hospital they work full day even during ramadan .if you dont have anyplace to go unless the malls you can come to my house and you be welcome:)
and yes The roads are choaked with traffic becuse of sales which is bothering alot of ppl who want to live ramadan in the correct way
i apologize instead of the religeous police who shouts at you becouse you dont have to cover your hair and he should show more respect
Men are supposed to wear long pants and arms preferably longsleeve shirts???no not true they wear what they like

finally ramadan carreies alot of meaning more than stop eating for 12 hours, if you need true information and moe explainations just ask me

Last edited by r-m (04 September 2009 02:35:17)

#91 04 September 2009 12:36:20

musicman
musicman
Riyadh

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

Thanks r-m for setting the record straight. It is very important that the forum hears the views of local women directly from them, rather than from us expatriates who have lived here for so long. Please do post your views as much as you can for the benefit of all the members. Thanks again! God Bless you.

#92 04 September 2009 22:33:44

r-m
r-m
riyadh

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

musicman wrote:

Thanks r-m for setting the record straight. It is very important that the forum hears the views of local women directly from them, rather than from us expatriates who have lived here for so long. Please do post your views as much as you can for the benefit of all the members. Thanks again! God Bless you.

thank you so much, i appreciate it.
despit am so busy but i will try my best.to post my view as saudi muslim woman :):)

#93 05 September 2009 13:12:18

Salman Omrani

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

Hi R-M,

so I guess your from riyadh?

how about if you tell us what ladies do for fun in the city. :D that would be an interesting topic, and tell us also what ladies should not be doing in this city, if you don't mind that would be of great help to many readers.

Salman

#94 06 September 2009 13:36:22

r-m
r-m
riyadh

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

Salman Omrani wrote:

Hi R-M,

so I guess your from riyadh?

how about if you tell us what ladies do for fun in the city. :D that would be an interesting topic, and tell us also what ladies should not be doing in this city, if you don't mind that would be of great help to many readers.

Salman

salman, there are plenty of stuff, depends on lady's taste

they can visit the Old Dir'aiyah:These ruins of the first capital of Saudi Arabia consist of walls, houses and palaces, some of which have been restored

National Museum : The history of Islam is the major focus of this museum, which consists of 10 galleries, courtyards and a section that houses fancy cars and other belongings of the founding king of Saudi Arabia

Masmak Citadel :One of the oldest parts of Riyadh - the fort itself is free to enter (just sign your name in the guest book).  There is a comprehensive history of Riyadh dating back to the 1930's.  All exhibits are

The Kingdom tower is a shoppers paradise. If you take the lift up to the Sky Bridge you get a fabulous bird's eye view of Riyadh. In actual fact you need to take two lifts (one rises 77 storeys and the second takes you up to the 99th floor). On a clear day (no sandstorms!) you get a 360 degree view from 297 metres above ground level

riyadh horse club

the gym and they can attend the hip hop class,orieng dancing , latin dancing calsses , there are alot of amazing femal clubs.

ladeis could go to one of the many fun parks around the city too
The embassies also hold activities, such as piano concerts and art exhibitions as well as social gatherings and lectures on interesting topics


they can go to all the tons of malls in Saudia or go to the "ladies centers" where there are a lot of activities for the women.

Shopping, it is always fun in KSA.

Saudi Arabia’s largest zoo, housing some 40 species of animals

Al Faisaliah Tower

salman, Give me a shout if you need any more help - and I'll answer if I have the answers - if that makes sense. Good luck.

Last edited by r-m (06 September 2009 14:06:11)

#96 24 September 2009 05:06:39

scworldtraveler
scworldtraveler
Charleston

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

Hi everyone!
I just wanted to post as I am considering moving to Jeddah. I have been offered a university position through the company Footprints based in Canada. (Does anyone know about this company, by the way?)
I am very nervous to move to Jeddah. I lived before in Japan, and I ended up beginning a second year I loved it so much (I had to quit because I had a death in the family and it really was too much for me). I am scared because when I first moved to Japan it was a lot for me and I had a bad case of culture shock and almost  quit. Does anyone know what Jeddah life is like? Are there grocery stores, malls for american size women, can i bring my cat, what is there to do for fun, how can I make saudi friends, what are customs and apprpriate behavior (for example in Japan dont look people in the eye when they talk, dont be too agressive) and in general do you have any other advice/wisdom? Like i said im really scared. I would love the opportunity but im afraid i cant adjust or even what it will be like when i go home after a year (or two or ten, lol).

#97 24 September 2009 08:52:45

CatherineMorrow

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

Hi scworldtraveler.

You have nothing to fear except fear itself.  I believe one of your presidents said that - was it JFK?  You have to make the most of it! 

You should read the older posts on this blog because a lot of them with answer precisely the questions you're asking. 

Good luck!!

#98 24 September 2009 12:11:53

Salman Omrani

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

Hi SC,

Footprints is not a popular company in Riyadh, though I'm not sure about Jeddah so I don't know much about it, but after checking their website, they are specialized only in teaching positions. I can imagine they are a reputable company, at least I hope so. also I'm sorry to hear about your family member.

regarding Saudi Arabia, if you thought when leaving Japan that it was one heck of a strange country, wait till you get here in Saudi Arabia :P I've been to Japan so I kinda understand how nice it was for you. now I don't wana scare you here but Saudi is a whole different story, not that you won’t enjoy it, if you had enough guts to survive Japan, Saudi won't be that great of a challenge as it would of been if you didn't have international experience.

"Jeddah" I never lived there but I visited it a few times, the best part is that Jeddah is a seaport city :D yay! we in riyadh sometimes dream about seeing water bodies surrounding us, an to have the sea by your side :rolleyes: the "red sea" is a super experience if you like scuba diving, with its beautiful coral reefs .... wait a minute.. what am I talking about? :/  ok ok ok.. back to life in Saudi arabia..

your questions first :) :

what Jeddah life is like?

I hope there are people from Jeddah here who can do a better job at describing life in Jeddah than I can, since I live in Riyadh I'm not exactly an expert on Jeddah but then again I'm not clueless as well, but here's what I know:

unlike Riyadh Jeddah is more social and open, alot more entertainment, and its got its own beach's :lol:. Beautiful old structures still stand tall in the old city, old and new lifestyles merged in a steady stream of life, youngsters respect the old, Bike gangster guide the lost tourists (yeah, it happened to me :rolleyes: ) and ... will I do hope someone else gives off more input.. :P 

are there grocery stores, malls for american size women?

Yes! more than you can imagine.

can i bring my cat?

Yes, even two ;)

what is there to do for fun?

Alot, go to the beach, go to the malls, go to the huge amusement parks, go out with your friends... get creative and decide to paint a picture while on a cruise in the red sea, use your imagination.

how can I make saudi friends?

Mingle mingle mingle, well for men its way too easy, but I hope a girl can answer you as well, (maybe R-M) connections connect each other.. hmm, how about you use the saudi networks in expat-blog for starters ;)

what are customs and appropriate behavior?

hmm, you don't have to worry alot about that, as locals don't expect expats to understand their culture, but its always nice to see someone showing some respect. it's funny when I try to explain stuff like this because I've been here for so long (25 years :P ) things like that are the least of anyone’s worries since everyone (as in locals) is expected to know and act by these invisible rules, for example;
(I don't know why I remembered some posts from the blog "Desert Fences" by "Lisa")

dont have your foot/feet facing anyone. (kinda strange thing to happen, but yeah, it does)

dont shake hands with men unless you know its ok with them. (don't ask me to make sure how)

dont say your greetings to one person while ignoring others in the same place. (its tricky, but as long as the others are not related to you or your friend, it might be ok to overlook them)

be humble and show off alot. (I call it the easy way to get the Evil eye. :o
(I somehow recall "Asima's" story when I mention this)

please people add more.. I'm outa idea's now since I'm juggling a couple of things in my mind.

in general do you have any other advice/wisdom?

always carry a smile, it always helps.. :)


Catherine!

we missed you, hows every thing? I'm dying to know what happend with your job application.. any luck?


Salman

#99 24 September 2009 12:18:31

Salman Omrani

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

Salman Omrani wrote:

be humble and show off alot. (I call it the easy way to get the Evil eye. :o

Opps!! I meant DON't Show off .. dont show off... Lolz! :lol:

sorry, like I said, Im thinking of too many things :P

Salman

#100 27 September 2009 00:28:39

joey1811
joey1811
Riyadh

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

I am concerned about something JuanFranLopez said. I'm an American and have been living in the Gulf for 7 years and have learned quite a bit of Arabic. I got offered a job in Riyadh and am considering taking it so that I can have lots of exposure to speaking Arabic in Saudi. BUT, Juan said there is segregation!!??  What's that gonna mean?  I'm not allowed to mingle with Saudis then?

#101 27 September 2009 01:22:49

alamographics
alamographics
Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

Salmon's the expert on this but I can tell you that de facto, if not strictly by law, Saudis are a privileged class. I've mentioned in another post that children of non Saudis born in the Kingdom are not given Saudi citizenship; they almost never will no matter how long they live in the kingdom. All expenses for non Saudi relatives are borne by the expat worker whereas Saudis are pretty much given a free educational ride at mostly Saudi only schools. Moreover, most of the men can tell you about sex segregation and Saudis take that to the EXTREME. I may have mentioned this on earlier posts but the measures that the Saudis go to to make sure you or even Saudis don't get near a woman if she's not somehow related to you would make Grand Inquisitor Torquemada blush. I won't say any more so as not to offend the Saudi morals department(s). You just need to be aware of it if meeting women is somehow important to you.
Now, as I've mentioned before, if you are assigned to live in one of the ARAMCO compounds, you will live under relaxed rules. These are for ARAMCO employees mostly. Apart from that, exceptions are rare and compliance measures as regards the gender segregation laws are take very very seriously. -a

#102 27 September 2009 08:54:17

juanfranlopez
juanfranlopez
Brussels

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

Hi Joey,

For sure you can mingle with Saudis (only men, of course). What I said is that I somehow had some difficulties of mingling with Saudis and it seems to me to be much easier to spend my spare time with other expats.

There is indeed segregation between men and women but there are some stressful workarounds. However, it is highly recommended to move to Saudi with your wife (no concubines allowed :P). If you are single, you should marry before coming :)

Best Regards,

juan

#103 27 September 2009 20:17:46

CatherineMorrow

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

Hey Salman.  I've been so busy with work the last few weeks - nearly worked myself to death!  Fortunately the schools are on holiday now for a week so I'm going on holiday to Johannesburg to see some friends.  I'm totally exhausted but I'm looking forward to the break...  :)

Other than that things are good.  I've had 2 job offers in South Africa - one in Cape Town, which is our 'Mother City' and I'm seriously considering it.  The Saudi and Dubai jobs will only be confirmed in November so I suspect I'll have to put all this off for now because the schools here will need an answer by the 5th of October.  So I'm afraid my plans have changed somewhat...  :( and :) 

How is work and life?  I find it so interesting how many expats are going to Saudi, Dubai, Oman etc.  It's just amazing.  Most people in South Africa know someone or themselves have lived in the M.E.  Amazing!

Hi to everyone on the blog!:D

Catherine

#104 28 September 2009 03:19:55

Jo Ann
Jo Ann
Lobito

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

sourire wrote:

In view of the fact that Montreal, Canada is, practically, an Arabic (including Iranian) city,

Sourire, Iran is not Arab... it's Persian :-)

#107 28 September 2009 15:34:59

bestmarkt

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

hello every body . iam from morroco and before i really tried to go there so as to work and study but a lot of people tolds me not especially because they do nt respect girls from our country , once a person livin next to me journalist from saudi told that there re a lot morrocan girls doin sex for money(bitsh!!).
i really want to go there cause of religion and also to work i'm graduatin soon i ve a diploma on marketin and iam speakin frensh english arabic spanish and german little.
i've nt really decuded where i want to go then but i think saudi will be that great........
anyway thx

#108 28 September 2009 15:54:57

bestmarkt

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

sorry i was workin and writin en the same time, i said iam morocan and when i thought to go study and work there it was comin from the trust on such religious and nice muslim country and also i thought it ll be mor easy to be intergrated.
when i told our neighbour that i wanna go there he tolds  nt and to try another destination and when i ask him why he tolds me that a morrocan girls was famous there for sex(bitch!!!!)
and also  cause iam nt that rich so if i go there i ve to work and depend on my self but i just wanna know can i find job and study in uni.
knowing that iam gratuatin this year on marketin and i wanna study there business adminastration.
i speak  languages eng frensh spanish and german little and arabic of course

#109 29 September 2009 15:22:11

wendymarie

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

Hi everyone !

first time visitor and blog entry ! I'm from Australia
I'm planning to go and work at Al Khobar for 12 months and am now waiting for the official approval from my sponsor. Anyone have experience with the whole sponsorship / visa process they can share information on ?  How long did it take you ?  can I begin getting medicals done and paperwork done now and if so, what type ?

I have some basic questions if you would be so kind as to help ?

I am seperated from my husband, under australian law I would be getting divorced by mutual agreement in January but its likely that I will be in KSA by then so in the passport I will still show as married. What is the viewpoint on marriage/divorce from a muslim perspective ?

I will be setting up under sponsorship a whole new business in KSA. To do this it will need good relationships to be developed with influential saudi famillies and word of mouth will then hopefully spread.  Will I be considered better if I live in a compound or in the village?
I also have a friend in Dubai. Are there any visa restrictions to travel in between KSA and Dubai if I was to visit once a month ?  I'm sure I'll have more questions so I thank you in advance !

#110 29 September 2009 15:54:11

musicman
musicman
Riyadh

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

Hi Wendy,

Welcome to Expat-Blog.
My first stint in KSA was also in AlKhobar way back in 1979. We had some great times there. Its a small, yet wonderful place to live and work.

The visa prpocess is an absolute variable. Everything depends on the sponsor and how soon he gets the necessar documentation sent over to the Saudi Embassy in your locality.

Medical and other necessaery documentatuion also varies from country to country based on the local Saudi Embassy requirements. Usually, an AIDS test is necessary in most cases.

The fact that you are married now and your status is reflected in your passport should not be a problem unless yopu choose to remarry again in KSA. In the event of such a situation the Divorce Certificate and the confirmation of the Australkian Embassy here should suffice. I dont see any issue from the Saudi Authorities. However, this could be checked out from the Australian Embassy in Riyadh. I have a friend who is the Commercial Secretary and will check it out for you by tomorrow.

I dont see any issues pertaining to your marriuage/divorce from the Islamic perspective since it has nothing to do with your status. At the end of the day its your Embassy that will be the authgority on your status. They can always c hange your status on your passport as long as tghe documentation is provided.

All KSA Resident Permit holders may travel to UAE and back without the need for a visa. Visas are issued on arrival at the Dubai Airport. Ive been there several times myself without any hassle.

What is the nature of your business venture? It will be nice to know.

#112 29 September 2009 16:25:04

wendymarie

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

Hi Christine..

okay..  logged as a new question titled moving to KSA ! all advice and helpful hints welcomed !

Thanks Music man..  if you're happy to make that querry with the secetary on my behalf I would appreciate it. Good news on the travel to UAE and back too !
I bought an abaya and some scarves but am beginning to wonder if I got it wrong.  do they need to be in black without exception . I've seen some beautiful abaya designs but unsure what the allowances are?  I know I need to cover arms and legs but can ankle and foot skin be shown or best to have all covered ?  and Im told saudi food is delicious..  I am a terrible cook but I'd love to try the meals from cafes and restaurants etc... what are the most popular dishes ?  could you answer on the other page please ?
also..  ( as I think of all these things ) I am a little confused as to ' appropriate ' business interaction with male colleagues as a westerner female in KSA such as do I shake hands etc ?

#113 03 October 2009 14:08:48

musicman
musicman
Riyadh

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

wendymarie, talkked to my fruiend at the OZ Embassy and he fdid say that the Saudi Embassy in OZ may ask you abt your husband. Hoebver, he sdaid he will get back to me with a more detaiuled and correct response after he checks with the authorities. He did say that it wouldc certainly be more convenienet oif you did get your visa as a single person aftyer the divorce.

no need to wear socks or gloves. thats cool. as long as you wear the abhaya and cover your hair with a scarf it will suffice. nowadays i do see many expat western women with their hairt uncovered inside malls and public places. its possible they are getting less strict now.

you may have not heard but the King, last week, opened the first ever co-ed university in Jeddah.

most women in riyadh are now wearing those fancy abhayas with gold/silver designs on them. my own family does the same. no issues whatsoever. its become a part of riyadh fashion, i guess?

food in ksa is plentiful and in all shades, colors and flavors from all corners of the globe. you name it they have it. amongast the arabian delights is the famous "shawarma" which comes in chicken and beef and consists of meat thats cooked on a massive revolving vertical skewer, wrapped around by a piece of arabic bread mixed with onions and other condiments. The main local dish is a =mix of rice and meat called "Kabsa" which is simi;lar to the indian biriyani in many ways. "Mandi" is also a mix of rice cooked in broth with meat. Absoilutely fabulosa. Then there are the many other delights from Turkley, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, etc etc. The menu's unending. You gotta come and taste them to know them.

Of course you are also s[poiled by all the fast food delicacies of the western world from KFC to McD's to Popeye's to Donuts to Baskin Robbins ice cream.

#114 05 October 2009 22:29:14

r-m
r-m
riyadh

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

how can I make saudi friends?

Mingle mingle mingle, well for men its way too easy, but I hope a girl can answer you as well, (maybe R-M) connections connect each other.. hmm, how about you use the saudi networks in expat-blog for starters ;)

lol :D actually i will be glad to be her freind:D
 
well Jeddah is fantastic, am from jeddah and ppl their are open mind, sociable, crazy:P, you like like the ppl but what i dont like in jeddah is the crowd and trafic in :mad:
when arrive to jeddah we can drink a cup of coffe togther, i live in riyadh but i used to go to geddah frequently.;)

Last edited by r-m (05 October 2009 22:30:40)

#115 09 October 2009 22:29:48

r-m
r-m
riyadh

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

sourire wrote:

If he married someone, his family had to approve of that person and if they didn't, he couldn't marry that person.  His grandmother was sent to live with him to monitor his behaviour here in the West and his father phoned him at 9 a.m. every Sunday morning.  So, if he stepped out of line and married someone he wanted to, he would have to give up his family.  That, of course, is impossible for a Middle Eastern person as the family life is so close - different to us where we leave home at the age of 21 to make our own way in the world.

well, the truth is every Muslim know that is the man can marry any woman either his family approved him or not.so, this was a family rule and not related to islam.evrey one in Islam make his/her own way in the world and no need to leave home(the father is responsible to provide everything for free until we get married :P ), no one can control us but muslims should follow the rules of islam only which include respecting parents and family with limits.
Actually, I ran is totally different,because islam is so simple (worship to one god) but some ppl make it complicated and difficult by including a died ppl and stones in the worship which is not the real islam.


if this man was real muslim and he loved you, he will marry you because islam ask him to do proposal instead of friendship.  you should thank god that you didnt marry Iranian man.

#116 22 October 2009 22:17:07

amyasb
amyasb
Tampa, Florida, USA

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

Nomads wrote:

Living in Riyadh could be a little different to living in places like Jubail, Khobar, Jeddah as they tend to be more relaxed as far as westerners are concerned So let me stick to Riyadh and what I know best and I will start with Ramadan

During Ramadan the local population live their religion intensely. They fast from sunup to sundown They have breakfast before sunrise and then in the evenings break the fast with dates and coffee and water. Nights are for celebration, huge meals till early morning hours and generally devoting time to their religion by praying and doing good deeds. We wondered why they buy so much food during this time, and it is because they have to support one or more poor families as Ramadaan is a time for giving as is Christmas time for westerners.

Their work hours become very short and erratic and most will only get up late morning or early afternoon For companies this poses a problem to get any work done as people tend to be tired, short tempered and generally not focused.

Ramadan to western men and especially at work means tired, non co-operative colleauges with short attention span and as short office hours. Mostly! So as far as deadlines and productivity is concerned these are trying times and the fact that eating and drinking is banned by law, has a definate effect on western working people who has to take a drink or eat out of sight if desperate. With temperatures hovering around 42 to 48 degrees C and 0% humidity fastind takes it's tole on all! There are enough stories of taxi drivers falling asleep behind the wheel!

From housewife's point of view: Let me start by saying that going to a Mall and not necessarily shopping, is just about the only "getting out" for most western ladies living on a compound in Saudie. During Ramadaan only food outlets are open from 10am untill 12 midday - so in a huge Mall all the stores except a shop like Carrefore will be open So all ladies are restricted to wandering around a almost empty building. Shop-aholics go into decline and a little depression settles in and by die end of Ramadaan we are all a little craZY!! Not because we needed anything rather because we could not...

Then all businesses opens at 4pm and it is business as usual untill 1am or even later. During Ramadan the local population sleeps during the day and shop, celebrate and shop some more at night and all ages are about from little babies to the elderly. The roads are choaked with traffic, accidents are common and where they can people are strolling about. The atmosphere is festive and shops are decorated with "Chrismas" lights and some serve customers with little cups of Arabic coffee and dates. After sundown people on streetcorners  hand out bottled drinking water to passers by. Shops have sales on and big stores will have free gifts with purchases.

Definate does and dont's for Ramadan:
Ladies wearing the Abaya is compulsory by law. In the bigger Malls frequented by Westerners we usually do not cover our hair with a scarf untill one of the religeous police shouts at us to "cover your hair" this can be a scary experience when you are new! Preferably the scarf should be black but coloured scarves are becoming more commonplace - but stick to muted colours as to not attract unwelcome attention. During Ramadan people are more sensitive and even woman will walk up to you and try to get you to cover your hair. Rather cover your hair when in local shops, walking the streets at night and in market areas where most locals shop, like Bata or Clocktower.
Take note that a exposed lower leg can be taken as "seductive" and a Mutawa or Religious Police accompanied by a Policeman can have you locked up. Something to be avoided at all cost.

Men are supposed to wear long pants and arms preferably longsleeve shirts, not too tights or revealing clothes in general (skinny jeans are out) and may even don Arab dress if comfortable with that. If shortsleeve shirts are worn, make sure the sleeves are longer and even better over the elbows. Bare skin offends staunch Muslims.

Eating and drinking are forbidden by law from sun-up to sun-set by law. Adhere to this as it is not only a jail-able offense it also offends the people terribly! Exceptions are sick people, children and pregnant or lactating woman and diabetics. If you are desperate buy something at foodstore and drink in the toilet behind a locked door or at home. Most working westerners will out of respect for the customs of the country also fast during working hours. Some companies have a room or kitchen where westerners can have refreshments.
The ban also applies to smoking and chewing gum. Therefore people walk around with special stick used for cleaning teeth and chewing this helps to keep the mouth moist.

Do not if you can help it venture out at night. The traffic is horrible - it looks as if every person in the city is out and about. Young boys from age 16 and younger speeds around in big Suburbans, cutting in front of other cars, changing lanes at will without indicating and grown men drive around in this chaos feeding a baby with a bottle!! Driving here is always fast and bumper to bumper and twice as bad Ramadaan evenings. The Malls are packed, parking impossible to find and just as impossible to get out of a parking lot once you entered! All restaurants are packed and most only opens after 9pm. Shops are open untill 1 or 2 am and the general public goes to bed around 3am.

So that is Ramadaan If anyone interested in more info from female point of view! I have time....

Hello,
     I am an American teacher, possibly to marry a Saudi and move to Riyadh.  I am very speculative about the differences in culture.  I have only heard really bad things about the lives of American women in Saudi.  Can anyone offer any positive insights?  I really hope to learn some positive aspects...

#117 22 October 2009 22:19:27

amyasb
amyasb
Tampa, Florida, USA

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

Muhammad Adil Azam wrote:

Well

I can only say that all of us come from different culture and we cannot expect our culture to be a universal culture.

Every culture has it's own cons and prons.

Hello,
     I am an American teacher, possibly to marry a Saudi and move to Riyadh.  I am very speculative about the differences in culture.  I have only heard really bad things about the lives of American women in Saudi.  Can anyone offer any positive insights?  I really hope to learn some positive aspects...
Is it more difficult for an American married to a saudi to find acceptance in this society?

#118 23 October 2009 09:16:24

r-m
r-m
riyadh

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

amyasb wrote:

Nomads wrote:

Living in Riyadh could be a little different to living in places ...............ve time....

Hello,
     I am an American teacher, possibly to marry a Saudi and move to Riyadh.  I am very speculative about the differences in culture.  I have only heard really bad things about the lives of American women in Saudi.  Can anyone offer any positive insights?  I really hope to learn some positive aspects...

hi, dont worry,they dont know anything about women in our community, am saudi muslim woman, i always become the first in my life, my hubant never control me, i swear that am happy and the problem is ppl's decisions depend on how they imagin the life here while in real life its very nice to be saudi woman.
again, dont worry, dont lisren to them,becouse they never understand what is the life here from a female view point.

#119 23 October 2009 11:28:13

alamographics
alamographics
Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

This is absolutely true. The treatment of women here in Saudi Arabia is completely incomprehensible to me. Certainly the women here will have a better, more balanced view of their condition here.

#120 24 October 2009 09:41:34

r-m
r-m
riyadh

Re: Do and don't in Saudi Arabia

alamographics,
i traveled to many western countries, and i was wearing hijab, i couldn't imagine that my hijab will prevent me to travel and to see different ppl, to socialize with them, to introduce other cultures, and to do my researches, but what happened is totally different, ppl look at me as monster!!!!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1p4DNzh … re=related

What goes through your mind?
As you sit there looking at me
Well, I can tell from your looks
That you think I’m so oppressed
But I don’t need for you to liberate me

My head is not bare and you can’t see my covered hair
So you sit there and you stare
And you judge me with your glare
You’re sure I’m in despair, But are you not aware
Under this scarf that I wear, I have feelings, and I do care
So don’t you see?
That I’m truly free, this piece of scarf on me
I wear so proudly, to preserve my dignity, my modesty, my integrity
So don’t judge me, Open your eyes and see

‘Why can’t you just accept me?’ She says
‘Why can’t I just be me?’ She says
Time and time again
You speak of democracy
Yet you rob me of my liberty
And all I want is equality
Why can’t you just let me be free?

For you I sing this song
My sister, may you always be strong
From you I’ve learnt so much
How you suffer so much
Yet you forgive those who laugh at you
You walk with no fear
Through the insults you hear
Your wish so sincere
That they’d understand you
But before you walk away
This time you turn and say:
But don’t you see?
That I’m truly free, this piece of scarf on me
I wear so proudly, to preserve my dignity, my modesty, my integrity
So let me be, she says with a smile ‘I’m the one who’s free’

Last edited by r-m (03 November 2009 06:45:49)

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