Advantages Hot, Cheap, Good Living
I have not been to Saudi for almost four years now, but spent the first 12 years of my life there due to my fathers job. I hope this review helps you in your research of Saudi Arabia.There are many expats in Saudi that are working in the health sector in Saudi. I also remeber people from all over the world working at the hospital. From Sudan, Egypt, America, Phillipines, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka to mention a few. A melting pot! We also used to live in a compound as many expats are. This had its advantage of security and safety, but it also but barriers up between us and the local population. One of my biggest regrets was not learning more Arabic. Within the compound we had tenniscourts, badmington courts, a recreation centre, a resturant, a shop, and swimming pools. This common in all compounds.
Certain rules that need to be followed. Women should not travel alone. Women should also dress in the Abaya that is the black outer garment. Try not go out during the day as it gets very hot. The shopping malls are open late into the night and that is the best time to shop or go out for a meal. From what I have been told there is also a women only shopping mall in Riyadh. You will find all kinds of resturants in Saudi due to the number of expats in the country. Social events in Saudi are usually split between the men and women. Refrain from showing effection for the other half in public as well. Occaionally you might be asked for ID from the authorities this will be the Iqma and is a MUST when you travel. There are checkpoints in certain locations and at entrances to certain buildings.If you get invited to a Saudis house do go they will see it as an insult if you do not. Wear loose fitting clothes tradional pratice is to eat on the floor. Eat with your right hand. You will most likely be served mountains of rice with meat usually this is lamb. You will share the meal with other people all eating from one dish.
Saudi is a Muslim country and so you will hear the call to prayer 5 times a day. During Ramadan do not eat and drink in public as this is the fasting month and people will refrain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. Friday afternoon is the main day of prayer and you will hear sermons from the loudspeakers from the mosques. During prayer times it is common for shops to close. Alcohol and pig related meat is a no no. Mecca and Medina are the two of the holiest places in Islam, and their is annual pilgrimage to Mecca called the Hajj. Non-Muslims are not allowed to visit these cities.Take care when you drive. Women are not allowed to drive. There is little regard for driving rules and regulation, the only one being just concentrate on the car in front of you and do not worry about what is behind or to the right and left. Keep your car serviced very reguarly due to the hot weather and dust. Petrol is very cheap as you would appreciate with Saudi sitting on so much oil. Petrol works out cheaper than water!
The weather as I have mentioned is very hot. You will also come across dust storms. The evenings are pleasnt and on weekends (Thursday and Friday are the two days of the weekend) you will come across families having bbqs out in the open.
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