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.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

The Real Alien

When I received the Saudi job offer my wife and I stayed open minded and did our research. We bought the Lonely Planet (did the authors ever live here, I wonder?), we went to all the Web sites and bulletin boards and I spoke to people that were either former or current residents of the Kingdom.
Whilst I was mulling over the comparatively minor issues of giving up alcohol, pork and my illusions of safety, my wife was also having to consider sacrificing her right to work, her right to drive and her right to wear what she likes.
In truth our desire to see the country and the region made the decision easier than many would expect. That is, until I saw pictures and videos (2) of the camel spider.
Khalas. My mind was made up.

Me: "Religious persecution and unbearable temperatures are one thing, but I'll be damned if I'm living with these monsters! That's it! The move's off!"
The wife: *withering look*
Me: "Oh alright…."

When I read that "camel spiders prefer the shade" I had images of me standing under the sun in 48C heat because I didn't dare share the shade with an army of angry camel spiders.
I read a story by an American in Riyadh that used to see them regularly in airplane hangers and he described them as the most aggressive creatures he'd ever seen.
As I have yet to see one in Riyadh I've calmed down and I no longer jump every time I hear a rustle in the bushes.
I now see similarities between Saudis and the camel spider. No, really. They're shy, elusive desert dwellers. They both prefer the shade and only come out at night. More seriously, they both suffer ridiculous myths which refuse to die.
I'm happy to add that unlike the spiders, Saudi's aren't aggressive. So far I haven't been bitten once…


Alwan said...

It's weird ! I never seen such creaure in Saud before! Maybe it becomes visible for the westerners only!

Anonymous said...

I am a Saudi guy, and this creature is not in Saudi Arabia that much buddy :) ..

Don't be scared and enjoy while you are in our amazing country <3 ..

hedoorientia said...

Aargh! Never heard of it, and I am NOT gonna look at those pics!

Good that Saudis arent aggressive thou... I was a bit worried there :)

Saudi Jawa said...

Ah yes. I've heard of those. The reason most Saudis have never heard of them is that they specifically hunt foreigners. Something about white skin and fair hair results in violent reaction in their primitive nervous systems. They have been known to be able to sneak into compounds and jump unwary foreigners when they least expect it!

j/k ;)

Margrave said...

That's it, I'm going to purchase some cats. Not because I think they'll eat the camel spiders, but because I'm hoping the noise the camel spiders make when they're eating the cats will give me enough warning to jump out of the window :-)

hippy simsim said...

LOL saudi Jawa!

in all my 8 years in saudi i have never seen a camel spider..but lizards and cockroaches are plentiful. margrave you're lucky you weren't in saudi back in '96 (i think) when we had a huge attack of locus. they covered the streets and were flying around was horrific. it was the same year as the hail storm. the hail was so big it dented cars! come to think of it it was a strange year..

Anonymous said...

Spent an aggregate of 11 years working heavy civil construction in KSA (Gulf area) and with few exceptions found the Saudis I encountered to be very friendly and polite...that is while not driving. Have seen some lizards ranging to 2 feet and several sand vipers. A reliable friend related encouters with camel spiders around the Al Hasa region.
... And yes, to avoid spider attacks he wore thobe and gutra.

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