Important Notice

It is not my intention to denigrate Saudi Arabia or its people. It’s like everywhere else, there is good and there is bad. I would rather focus on the unusual and the humourous. Offence is not intended.

“The country is not perfect. The media cannot be trusted, mistreatment of religious minorities is common and there are some that live in fear.” You can decide for yourself whether that statement is about Saudi Arabia, the UK, or any country for that matter.

To quote the Joker, “Why can’t we all just get along?”

That is all I will say about either subject.

Saturday, 9 December 2006

Margrave and the Curse of the Angry Ninja

Over the weekend my wife and I went to a supermarket late one night to do some shopping. To be honest, I am still a bit on guard when we go out and on this particular evening it was further exacerbated by another encounter with the muttawa.
Anyway, as we walked down one aisle we passed what I assume was a mother and daughter out together. The mother was in full ninja attire whilst the daughter was more “Lawrence of Arabia” as she’d covered her hair and pulled a scarf about her lower face.
As we passed them the daughter stared at me. Wondering if she’d look away, I stared back. She didn’t and because her face was covered I have no idea what her expression was and what the stare was meant to indicate. It could have been flirtatious, it could have been disgust. I don’t know.
Later we were deciding what to take from a deli counter when a movement caught my eye and I looked over to find the same girl re-covering her face after trying some food. She immediately nudged her mother and said something whilst pointing at me. Her mum then fixed me with some sort of ninja death stare. I was transfixed. I felt like I was an innocent man being accused of something terrible (leering, I assume?!) and I felt like staring back at her would prove me a leering scoundrel, whilst looking away would prove I had a guilty conscience.
In retrospect winking at her was probably not the most sensible reaction. To be fair I was at a total loss about what to do. I knew she couldn’t talk to me, hence her reliance on the death stare. I didn’t feel like I could talk to her either. So a stupid misunderstanding became this surreal silent staring contest that no one could win. All we needed was “O Fortuna” from “Carmina Burana” playing in the background to complete a scene of comic genius.
I don’t know why the girl insisted on creating the situation but it upset me because I was obviously being accused of some cardinal sin and I had no way to resolve it. I guess it serves me right after complaining about the locals staring.
It was another crazy experience. I am not a big believer in coincidences, but can you guess what the deli counter was selling? Nuts.

Oh... and I was so upset I didn't even complain when the cashier robbed me of my change.


Extinct Dodo said...

isnt it about time you left saudi and went to a somewhat more *civilized* country, say, kuwait? :P

Anonymous said...

Hey !! Found ur Blog on Saudi Jeans..
Realy a comic experiance rt ??
no one can blame u for this .. its jus a coincedence & had u given a chance to talk to angry Ninja wht have u done ?? wht would ur expressions be ?? i am jus thinking of it ...
nice experiance keep bloging !!!


Anonymous said...

You have a great blog, keep up the brilliant job!

Saudi reader in the great U.S of A.

Margrave said...

Hi Extinct Dodo, as an Englishman I have to be careful about who and where I call civilised. Have you ever been out on a Friday or Saturday night in England?? Savages!
We haven't visited Kuwait yet but we are hoping to before we leave the region. :-)

Reader in UAE - my main worry was that she'd have 6 angry sons / brothers waiting for me outside. I was just glad to make it to the car alive!

Expat in Saudi said...

I linked to your blog from Saudi Jeans too, you should buy him a box of chocolates! We have been here for 3 years now and its great to read how you are finding out all about the things we had to find out about when we first arrived. The windscreen washer story cracked us up altogether! It has taken my husband 3 years to become a horn honker but it happens to everyone eventually. Osmosis of local habits! Keep up the blogging, we love it.

Anonymous said...

if u don't like the way things are in our country, i suggest u stop sucking out our money just so u can get a decent living + income, and then bitching about our country and its people, because you have absolutuely no right. Why don't u just return to your 'perfectly civilised' country?

Anonymous said...

Hey man relax. He is just making observations about the differences.

Devil's Advocate said...

It is essential to post these experiences so people can see the differences. Maybe it will make a change for the better. Some people see things that can be improved and do nothing, and others at least try to make these changes. Unfortunately, I have seen many in Saudi who say things are the way they are and don't bother to improve the situation. If anyone cares for Saudi, they can see the good in pointing out these experiences and maybe inspire people to make changes.

Anonymous said...

this ninja thinks your funny :-D

and i think i'm the queen of all ninjas..

Anonymous said...

oh my GOD, you can't imagine how this experience you have faced in our lovely Riyadh had made me laugh. especially when I myself could be sometimes "Lawrance of Arab" as you think. however,hopfully one day you will understand that under these black abbyas can be a great minds who are still holding to their traditions and religion and in the sametime are educated, intellegent and tolerant.

thankd and keep on ...

Desert Flower said...

Hey, Just wanted to say how much I like your sense of humor!

I am an American Muslim who has lived here for nearly 6 years. So, that makes me a the way laughed so hard when I read about your experiances with some of the saudi ninjas. What made them so funny is that they are true.

It was refreshing to see that a westerner could come here and keep and open mind and see the bad with the good as many that come only see the bad.

Desert Flower said...

oh planning on writing about ninjas from my prespective. So look for the post :)