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Why Saudi and not Japan?
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guty



Joined: 10 Apr 2003
Posts: 364
Location: on holiday

PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think going to a restaurant and expecting to sit with both my wife and my friends at the same table is a normal social life.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12873
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 2:01 pm    Post subject: Seating and eating together Reply with quote

Dear guty,

" . . . think going to a restaurant and expecting to sit with both my wife and my friends at the same table is a normal social life."

Hey, I'm not going to argue that life in Saudi Arbia would seem "normal" to the average Westerner - any more than life in the "West" would seem so to the average Saudi. But unless things have changed since I left, you could go to restaurant in Riyadh and expect to sit with both your wife and friends at the same table - in the "Family Section", of course. I know I shared tables on a number of occasions with colleagues and their wives there.
Regards,
John
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sidjameson



Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 629
Location: osaka

PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Umm definitly getting some strong views here. Somebody made a remark about money being the main objective.
So I just thought of a question for those in the Kingdom. If, say due to exchange rate fluctuation, you could no longer save ANY money in Saudi how much longer would you stay? and for those now left using the same question in the past tense how long would you have stayed?
One more
What are the things that you really like about the area(past the novelty of the first year)
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12873
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 2:46 pm    Post subject: Money matters Reply with quote

Dear sidjameson,
A "loaded question", methinks. I doubt I'd stay ANYWHERE I couldn't save ANY money. Look, in EFL it's almost always a case of - the better the living environment, the worse the salary and vice versa. Japan may well be the excepton to this, at least in some/many cases. However, as I've mentioned before, Japan wouldn't have worked for me since, at least until recently, I could resist anything except temptation - the temptation to spend, that is, when there are lots of "outside diversions" to throw your money away on. For that reason, the Kingdom was the best place for me to be - no temptations, a lot of saving possible.
Some other attractions: well, believe it or not, very nice weather from about mid-November to around mid-March; the fascination of observing such a very different sort of society close up, one that's going through some profound shocks and changes; some great - and reasonable - restaurants; cheap cigarettes; the desert; good opportunites to travel, in Europe, other parts of the Mideast, and Africa, especially. However, money's admittedly, the main consideration, though, for almost all ex-pats, I'd say.
Regards,
John
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shebab



Joined: 17 Sep 2003
Posts: 165

PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2004 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark 100:

I don't know why you are saying that I have a problem when it is others who complain that everyone in Saudi is xenophobic, hateful of non-muslims, allies of Bin Laden, so on and so forth. You can actually say those things about people in the US, by the way (delete "non" for Muslim and replace "Bin Laden" with Bush).

You talk like I haven't been to Saudi Arabia. Actually, I have. True, it was before 9/11 and it was Jeddah. I found the Arabs (Saudis and non-Saudis alike) to be at best kind, accomodating people, or, at the very worst, very "unusual" people. I had both compound and non-compound experiences. I preferred the latter. The idea of pretending to be in Des Moines Iowa by setting up an artificial neighborhood around walls and drinking alcohol that tasted like something from a sixth-grade science experiment did not appeal to me. While it was not the most culturally stimulating society in the world, I did not mind at all hanging out in the shops and restaurants of "Al Balad" on a Thursday evening or having a coffee at the open-24 hours Safestway in the chic part of town.

I left Saudi because of the particular contracts I had and not because of any qualms with the Saudi culture or customs or religion.

There are I don't know how many millions of Saudis in Saudi Arabia. I doubt they all think or feel the same way. You said yourself that Saudi society is difficult to penetrate, so if that's the case, how can people conclude that "they all hate us"? And if they do, why blame them, with ESL teachers posting such culturally sensitive threads labeled "Muslimitis" with comments about "going into class with a ham sandwich?"

Thinking people who have done their research should know that Saudi Arabia is not West Hollywood. And, by the way, the money is much better in more "normal" countries such as the UAE or Qatar...

Okay, I'm ready to be attacked now. Shocked
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ohman



Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 239
Location: B' Um Fouk, Egypt

PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2004 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
You can actually say those things about people in the US, by the way (delete "non" for Muslim and replace "Bin Laden" with Bush).


Shebab, do you feel this is a fair analogy?
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shebab



Joined: 17 Sep 2003
Posts: 165

PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2004 1:13 pm    Post subject: Fair Analogy? Reply with quote

Ohman:

I do think it's fair, insofar as there are pockets of extremists in both the USA and KSA who are unwilling to understand the viewpoints/grievances of the other side. Unfortunately, this gap is widening by the day.

Having said that, I don't feel as if Arabs blame me for what my govt's policies are. If you are nice to people, they are usually nice to you. I don't ask them what their opinion is on 9/11 and if they have one that's different from mine, I try to understand where that is coming from. I got used to hearing people in Medellin Colombia praise Pablo Escobar as a hero and cursing the DEA/CIA for trying to bring him down, and just tried to understand where they were coming from.

While I know it's probably depressing to see coworkers running away and abandoning the compound in droves, be thankful at least that you have a paycheck and that you are in Jeddah, which I imagine is still more liberal than the rest of KSA.

In any case, good luck to you and I hope you make the right decisions to improve your situation...
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