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.

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Alien 2

Early one morning during Eid we were in Hyperpanda getting some shopping. There was probably twice as many staff than customers, so it was a very pleasant shopping experience.
Until, that is, we went to pay. I was immediately annoyed because the cashier tore the label on the oranges that I had carefully picked out so the foreign worker chap that does the packing would have to be sent to get a replacement.
The Hyperpanda supermarket is vast. It’s so big that a prince could safely store his 747s in it and still have room left over for a handful of Bentleys. Our cashier was at one end and the oranges (and trifles) were on the distant horizon, right at the other end.
The cashier grumbled and dispatched the packer.
Time passed… tectonic plates shifted…
Finally the packer returned. Tired from his long journey he had simply picked the first oranges he could find. Rather than the plump, juicy, bright oranges I had picked we now had oranges suffering from scurvy.
We'd also picked two small trifles as a 2 SAR treat. The cashier picked them up and saw that there were no labels on either of them. His English was as good as my Arabic so my attempts to explain that none of the other trifles had labels on either were in vain.
The cashier grumbled and dispatched the packer.
Time passed… acorns grew into oak trees…
Occasionally I would look at the cashier and he would look at me. I couldn't use humour to diffuse the situation and assure him that the wait was no problem because we couldn't communicate with each other. We stood in silence.
Time passed… my blood pressure continued its steady climb…
Finally I could see the packer meandering his way back. As he approached he held out his hand triumphantly… he had picked two completely different desserts! He’d seen that none of the trifles had price tags so he’d made an executive decision and changed our menu!
Much gesticulating and pointing followed.
The cashier grumbled and dispatched the packer.
Time passed… the dollar weakened… Hyperpanda was making me poorer and I hadn’t even paid the bill yet!
There was a conspicuous lack of packer on the horizon. I looked at the cashier. He looked at me. We both looked away.
Time passed… icebergs melted, continents slipped further into the sea…
Finally we could see the packer making his leisurely way back to us. He seemed somehow smaller than before. His miles of travelling were clearly taking their toll.
He slowly handed over two trifles to the cashier. Was that a bead of sweat on his forehead? I couldn’t believe it! One of the trifles had clearly gone off! Instead of nice fluffy whipped cream it looked like someone had spilled mustard on it!
Much gesticulating and pointing followed.
The cashier grumbled and looked at the packer. The packer looked imploringly at me. I looked at the cashier. Obviously someone needed to go and get another trifle.
Time passed… the universe expanded… the tides changed as the moon orbited the Earth…
I thought to myself "Bloody hell. No wonder the packer took so long. This IS a long walk!"