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.

Monday, 7 May 2007

A Strange Day In Saudi

If you haven't lived here this won't sound strange at all.
We went to Hayat mall over the weekend. My congratulations go to Riyadh's newest mall for also being Riyadh's nicest. It also appears to be trying to push the boundaries of what is acceptable in Riyadh. I'd wager that Danube supermarket's current prayer time arrangements will not last. Time will tell.

Anyway, whilst in Danube the following all happened in quick succession:
- I accidentally walked out in front of a Saudi chap's shopping trolley and he said "excuse me" even though it was my fault.
- We were trying to get some cooked food and a Saudi gentleman offered to help us order. When the staff were painfully slow he turned to me and commented "just between you and me, these guys are assholes!"
- Another Arab man arrived just after us and when the staff member came to pick up his food order he told him that we were first.
- When we went to pay a Saudi chap let us move in front in the queue because we only had one item, rather than his full trolley.

These sorts of courtesies are very uncommon here in my experience. I'm not saying that all Saudis are rude, there are cultural differences and of course I do not speak the language. Behaviour always makes a bigger impact when it is unexpected so these four gentlemen really made my day. Thanks guys!


Anonymous said...

Saudis have a soft corner to englishmen, and you got the exceptionaltreatment beacuse you are almost an extinct species in Saudi Arabia.

Margrave said...

lol! thanks for the comment.
I for one will try to avoid going the way of the giant camel

Mochness said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Margrave said...

Hi Mochness,
I have the same problem! It's odd because I can post on my own blog but when ever I try on other blogs it never lets me.

Sometimes it can feel like all Saudis are aggressive and ill mannered, especially whilst driving! But after almost a year here I do not believe it to be true.
One thing I have noticed is that the Saudi guys love to scowl at me, but if I smile at them they will almost always smile back.
It's almost like they expect me to be rude. In such a situation its easy to reach an impass!
Thanks for visiting,


Saudi... said...

It just hurts to know that there are some people suffering in Saudi Arabia...

But from the title of your post it sounds like we Saudis are so not picking a fight or anything, I just want you to know that there are well-mannered people and rude people in every country...

Well am sorry on behalf of every rude person u ran into and i hope u run into the good people more often...

Anyways try to enjoy your time in Saudi Arabia, it is a really nice place once you get used to the culture...

By the way this is my first visit to your site, it is nice and it is also good to know how people feel about Saudi Arabia...some posts are really hurtful but maybe that is a good thing....

أبو سنان said...

I hope you have learned all of the appropriate words in Arabic to call people when they are rude. It is a must to learn these in any language.

Having spent a lot of time in the Middle East after living in England, I must say that the English are, hands down, much nicer.

Besides, it is pretty easy to learn the two fingered salute when they are not!

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Jeziah said...

Strange day indeed...and I don't think it's just cause you're white, because you're accustomed to the other side of the manners aren't you? You haven't had a bleach job done any time recently have you?

Anyways I always tell the people home: You get the worst of the worst and the best of the best in Saudi

Peacekeeper said...

Saudis are rute to the south asians .at air port ,banks etc you can see how they treat them .

Anonymous said...

im pakistani girl and i never met any rude saudi boys or girls and most of my frnds are saudi they are really nice to me and my family . . I like saudis they are good actually but i dnt know why there are many post against them :s

Anonymous said...

Lol…having lived there (and now in ‘the West’), I almost dropped my morning coffee and re-read your post, initially thought you were being sarcastic (wow, you weren’t!)

But you’re a white Englishman and that explains the ‘better’ treatment – ‘better’ in a place like Saudi of course qualifies for normal in the West. I’m Muslim and originally from Pakistan, so I never stood a chance ;)

However, as one former expat to another, those were also great times when you look back.

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