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, 27 January 2007

Western Myths #5: Saudi’s A Horrid Place To Live

When we told people we’d decided to move to Saudi Arabia the general reaction was one of shock. “Why on Earth do you want to move there?”, “But what about your wife?!” were questions I heard many times. In fact the only person I can remember being positive about it was a chap who remarked “you’ll love Saudi Arabia, Dubai is a great city.” Well, it’s the thought that counts.
We set our expectations low so as not to be disappointed but came here with an open mind and over the last four months the country has grown on me. Don’t get me wrong, there are things here I really dislike (just as there are things in the UK I really dislike) but Saudi does have its own appeal.

If you’re English and are pondering a possible move to Saudi Arabia, consider a few English things that Saudi lacks:
A high crime rate - I’ll discuss this another time
High teenage pregnancies rate - and all the associated social challenges.
Drunk brawls - I miss having a bottle of wine with my meal at a restaurant but I don’t miss all the people who cannot handle their alcohol. Why do so many Brits love to fight when they’re drunk?
Sober brawls – Hell, why do so many Brits just love to fight, period??
Dance music - *bleep* *bloop* *bleep* *bloop* KSA, please please don't do it.
Gardening and home improvement TV shows - I'd rather watch one of those Muttawa looking TV shows where an angry Saudi guy sits in a chair and talks loudly at you. I don’t know what he’s saying but at least he’s not patronising some poor couple whilst making a mess of their home.
Political correctness - Jeremy Clarkson has been criticised for calling a car a bit “ginger beer” (that’s rhyming slang for “queer” by the way.) I agree we should be sensitive, but can’t we laugh at ourselves a bit too? I thought the Brits were supposed to have a sense of humour?

Road rage - I know it happens here (sometimes fatally) but I cannot believe that in over four months I haven't seen any road rage. If you took ten Saudi "weavers" and put them on the M25 around London during rush hour you’d be visiting most of them in hospital that same evening.

So if you are considering coming out here be warned that it’s not like home, but be assured that there is plenty here to appreciate.


Anonymous said...

If you enjoy torture of individuals held for no reason and to force confessions, 67 day prison sentences without being charged with anyting, denigration of women, 120F temps, no religious rights, and the most dangerous driving in the world, it is a great place. The main reason for almost all going there is tax free income. I know, I worked there 6 years,and most but not all are mercenaries or misfits. An American in Saudi Arabia

Life Out East said...

I thought Saudi was a closed country, I didn't think Johnny foreigner could just wander in and live there. I've always been intrigued by Saudi and would love to visit.
Yes, Clarkson just has a great habit of saying what many of us are thinking or what we wouldn't dare to utter. Another quip he got into trouble for was while at the motor show talking about a new Hyundai. He said something like: The Koreans will never produce a really good car, they're all too busy eating dogs. Ouchh!

GameDoz said...

Interesting.....interesting indeed, i see you are quite a funny chap aintcha?? hehe chap.....just trying to make ya feel at home lol.....putting all that aside, i myself am of saudi nationality and i so deeply, u see? as in any country there are cons and pros, and when it comes to saudi well the cons might outweigh the pros and vice versa...really depends on ones mind set and how he /she sets out to perceive his/her surroundings and how to benefit from the overall experience wether it be physically or mentally....and with that said all there is left is for me to Regen.

ciao :p

Sand Gets in My Eyes said...

I don't know where "an American in Saudi Arabia" lived here in Saudi - or when for that matter - but unless he's moved to a glass house back in the States, he probably shouldnt be throwing stones. At least the Saudi system is upfront about the human rights they choose to violate. Can't say the same for the current Administration, now can you? As for temps - cmon buddy - have you never been to Arizona? Last time I lived in the States, I saw plenty of women being put down, and talk about dangerous drivers! Yikes! Throw in drugs, gangs, rampant crime, low get my point, I hope. Saudi isn't perfect, no place is. And, believe it or not, some of us "mercenaries and misfits" actually enjoy living in a world that stretches our minds and views. Oh and taxes...mmm...we just filed ours. I'm sorry this guy had a bad experience in Saudi, but I'm guessing he has a bad experience everywhere! If you have the chance to visit the Kingdom, by all means do so.

nonnie11 said...

Great blog, AEISA! As an American living in KSA, I am glad to see someone is trying to challenge the myths/stereotypes facing Saudi Arabia now. Keep it up!

I couldn't agree more with SGIME!!! Anonymous, your comments show that during your time in Saudi Arabia you learned nothing. I am ashamed of being associated with Americans like yourself who travel/live overseas and bring their arrogance with them. Your belligerence and arrogance is the reason why there is so much deep rooted resentment and hatred for Americans and westerners in general. I am sure that most Saudis would extend the same invitation as they are given in the U.S.: “You don’t like it here, then leave!!!”

Anonymous said...

I do enjoy reading this blog, and appreciate that you're giving an honest personal view of Saudi Arabia, highlighting the positives and negatives.

However, when discussing other Countries, in this instance England, then perhaps also look to dwell on the positives as well as the negatives? It would be a more fairly balanced point of view. Not Once in this entire Blog have I seen any reference to the good things about the UK (obviously, as you point out, all Countries have their positive and negative aspects).

So, please extend the same courtesy to other Countries and Nationalities, as you do with Saudi Arabia.

Keep up the good blogging!

Margrave said...

Any country that produced roast beef and yorkshire pudding, Black Sabbath and yours truly can't be all that bad!
Point taken though ;-)

Kadri said...

I'm so glad to find something like this blog on Internet. I googled "Myths about Saudi Arabia" and got to this site. Well, to the point of somebody saying there is nothing good about UK in your blog -- just try to understand that people go through phases. I have moved around the world, always being humble and open to new experiences, however tough they can come. There is a point in every move, called "move honemoon period", where we tend to see only good things about the place we chose to live in at this point of our lives. To find more positives is only a healthy way to adapt, and if you want to make it difficult to yourself, you are always welcome to choose another side...

Anonymous said...

I was quite amused to google this blog by accident, trying to find something entirely different. I suppose Saudi has changed somewhat since 1977 when I was there and I will admit that, providing you abide by the law, you shouldn't really have a problem these days. However, back in 1977 I got into serious trouble and ended up in jail there and I can tell you that I still have nightmares about that even today. I doubt very much that the prison system has changed much there though, not that I can ever go back as I was eventually deported. In 1977 Saudi was quite a dangerous place to be, especially out in the oilfields but to be honest, so was the UAE in 1974 when I first went there!
As for the people, there's good and bad as everywhere else but I did find the Saudi nationals a bit arrogant compared to the UAE.
The UAE was my favourite, although I'd probably find it difficult navigating around Dubai these days, still my favourite city.

Anonymous said...

If you could possibly be considered a buff of Swiss aviation replica Panerai watches , you can anticipate to enjoy the Breitling line. The seller is really beloved with collectibles who value finding more mature variations by means of the wristwatches and dating them, restoring them and more.