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Help! General info regarding Dhahran/Aramco needed

 
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James_T_Kirk



Joined: 20 Sep 2003
Posts: 357
Location: Ten Forward

PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 6:05 pm    Post subject: Help! General info regarding Dhahran/Aramco needed Reply with quote

Hello KSA board!

I currently work for a corporation in the United States. I plan on going back into teaching later this year, but that's not why I am posting here. My company needs to send someone to Dhahran/Aramco in April for approximately a week so we can train the individuals that work there how to use our software. Since they insist on sending a man, and everyone else is too afraid to go, I have volunteered. Just a few questions for you:

1) I am a white American male. From browsing this board, it doesn't appear that I should be overly concerned about my safety (especially in Dhahran, which, with the information I have, sounds like a military base isolated from the outside world) assuming I use common sense. Any safety concerns that you think I should be aware of right now?

2) Would it be worth my time to try and go diving?

3) Am I going to be bored out of my mind in Dhahran?

4) Any cool things to do in Dhahran?

5) Anything else that you can think of that I should know before I go?

Thanks in advance for any information that you can provide!

Cheers,
Kirk
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Paul in Saudi



Joined: 03 Mar 2003
Posts: 391
Location: Doha, Qatar

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2004 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just imagine Saudi Arabia as a developing country with many poor people. It is very safe, but it is best not leave valuables laying about.

Bored? Well I got bored a bit in my first five years there, but I suspect you can hang with a week.

Go to the Magic Carpet Shop (the actual name) and get a carpet. Go to the Silver Museum (a store) and get some silver knickknacks.

Bring some magazines, we expats will kill for Sports Illustrated for example.
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Paul in Saudi



Joined: 03 Mar 2003
Posts: 391
Location: Doha, Qatar

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2004 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just imagine Saudi Arabia as a developing country with many poor people. It is very safe, but it is best not leave valuables laying about.

Bored? Well I got bored a bit in my first five years there, but I suspect you can hang with a week.

Go to the Magic Carpet Shop (the actual name) and get a carpet. Go to the Silver Museum (a store) and get some silver knickknacks.

Bring some magazines, we expats will kill for Sports Illustrated for example.
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Cleopatra



Joined: 28 Jun 2003
Posts: 3657
Location: Tuamago Archipelago

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2004 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Bring some magazines, we expats will kill for Sports Illustrated for example.


Only prob. is, the Customs people wouldn't be at all impressed in the unlikely event of them finding said mag.

Dhahran is quite a big city, not at all a military base isolated from the world. By Saudi standards, it is quite liberal, but not brimming over with entertainment. However, I would guess that in one week, you'll be plenty busy just observing the society, and will have no need of cinemas or bars.

You should have no safety probs, but if you did feel insecure, remember that 'ex-pat' places like hotels or, especially compounds, however 'safe' they might seem, are in fact the biggest targets of all. Not that you need worry too much.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12458
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2004 7:25 pm    Post subject: The Final Frontier Reply with quote

Dear Captain James_T_Kirk,
Well, you won't exactly be "going where no one has gone before". And it sounds like you'll be on the Aramco compound, which has a lot of diversions available all by itself. I'd say you can stand a week without succumbing too much to boredom. Fitting in a dive might be tricky unless you can hook-up fast with someone there who knows all the ropes. As for safety, well, there are no guarantees anywhere, but in my opinion you'll be at least as safe as or safer than in the States. As for the "Sports Illustrated", true the Customs people always go after pictures a lot more than words. But unless it's the "Swimsuit Issue" you could probably get it past them.
Regards,
John
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James_T_Kirk



Joined: 20 Sep 2003
Posts: 357
Location: Ten Forward

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2004 10:04 pm    Post subject: Thanks Reply with quote

Thanks for answering my questions everyone. If anyone else has anything to add, feel free. I should be in Dhahran at least April 2nd through the 8th...if you'd like to meet up with me, I will gladly hook you up with a Sports Illustrated or two (how fortunate that I am a subscriber!).

Cheers,
Kirk
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12458
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2004 4:10 am    Post subject: Does this suit you? Reply with quote

Dear James_T_Kirk,
And, if you can't get the "Swimsuit Issue " in, just direct everyone there to this web site:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/features/2004_swimsuit/

Regards,
John
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Mark100



Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Posts: 441

PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2004 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One weekin Dhahran eh.
If only i had been so fortunate.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12219
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 4:23 am    Post subject: aramcons Reply with quote

Aramco in Dhahran looks like the Canal Zone in Panama around 1960 - with all the amenities of 2004 !
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Orange U?



Joined: 23 Dec 2003
Posts: 13
Location: Middle East

PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2004 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would encourage you to try to find out if you will be staying on the Aramco compound proper (hopefully the answer is yes: it's an emerald in a dustbin IMO - green, space, and quiet in an enclave well-separated from a much harsher 'street' outside Aramco's twin perimeters). If they're putting you up in a hotel, a compound, or other accomodation off the Aramco compound, expect a 30-45 minute commute before and after work and extremely limited access to the 'honey-pot' Aramco community (the traffic gets pretty crazy as many of Dhahran's 20,000 employees drive into work through three access points for the same 7AM reporting time each day).

If it were me, I'd be working really hard to find out about accomodations. The ideal situation would probably have you staying in 'Steinike Hall' - a hotellish facility inside the compound, proper.

The best news is probably that you're only on the ground in KSA for a week - so if the situation is uncomfortable (on top of the jet lag), it'll fly by pretty quickly. With any luck, you'll be appreciated by the organization you're serving and they'll pamper you.

As for diving, if you set up a dummy yahoo account and post it to this thread, I will try to ask around to find divers who might correspond with you.

Happy trails -- and good luck making the transition back to the classroom.
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James_T_Kirk



Joined: 20 Sep 2003
Posts: 357
Location: Ten Forward

PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2004 5:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
If it were me, I'd be working really hard to find out about accomodations. The ideal situation would probably have you staying in 'Steinike Hall' - a hotellish facility inside the compound, proper.


The trip has been postponed, and I will not be arriving until mid-July now. I am sure the weather will be nice and cool then, huh? I will be staying at Steinike Hall, so it looks like I lucked out. Orange U?, my "dummy" yahoo e-mail is krusty123456@yahoo.com ...if you know of any divers that might be able to provide me with info regarding diving, I would appreciate it!

Thanks,
Kirk
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Paul in Saudi



Joined: 03 Mar 2003
Posts: 391
Location: Doha, Qatar

PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2004 12:12 pm    Post subject: Re: aramcons Reply with quote

scot47 wrote:
Aramco in Dhahran looks like the Canal Zone in Panama around 1960 - with all the amenities of 2004 !



Having spent quality time in both places, you are exactly right.

(Back to Panama in two more days! Whoo! Whoo!)
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