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What is POSITIVE about being in the K of SA ?
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12166
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2003 2:26 pm    Post subject: What is POSITIVE about being in the K of SA ? Reply with quote

I posted something similar over on GENERAL DISCUSSION

In an attempt to adopt a new touchy-feely, be-nice-to-everyone, approach to life, and to posting here, I am going to ask you to express POSITIVE thoughts.

What one thing can you do in Saudi Arabia that you cannot do back home in Wherever ?

For me it is a wet shave in the barber's shop. Not available in the decadent Uk because of labour costs.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12376
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2003 4:42 pm    Post subject: The 7 Ws Reply with quote

Dear scot47,
Well, so far, anyway, you're not exactly being overwhelmed by the responses. Hmm, wonder why? I've already posted a reply on the General Discussion board, but another thing I can do here that I can't do back home occurred to me: observe a nation trying to cram 500 or so years of history into about 50. It can be quite a spectacle. I've made up a list of the problems the Kingdom has to solve VERY quickly but, as yet, doesn't seem to be capable of tackling. I call it the W list ( no reference to Dubya implied ):
1. water
2. women
3. wasta
4. wahabi-ism
5. waste
6. work
7. whatever ( or, as it's said here, inshallah )
If these aren't addressed VERY soon, I'd say the future of the Kingdom is bleak indeed. Actually, they may have already passed the point of no return on some of them.
Regards,
John
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Pilot in Command



Joined: 19 Apr 2003
Posts: 50

PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2003 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What one thing can you do in Saudi Arabia that you cannot do back home in Wherever ?

1. Earn a decent income in this vocation. In the US, unless you have a PhD (and maybe even not then)...forget about it! (Notwithstanding a few exceptions, of course!)

2. Uh-oh, another one...I'm going for it! This one's not in Saudi Arabia, but rather because of the Saudi job -- Travel around the world.
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Dave Kessel



Joined: 24 Jan 2003
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2003 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1) Save at least $20,000 a year
2) Avoid taxes
3) Work less and be off work at 3-4:00 pm at the latest.
4) Have 6 week vacations
5) Dive in the Red Sea
6) Sometimes have a car, free food and free gas all provided by the company.
7) Have a lot of time to pursue many many hobbies and develop a second career in Art, poetry, etc withou working yourself to death.
Cool Enjoy quiet meditative leisure.

The first thing that I have heard in Saudi was: " You have never worked so little for so much".
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Brooks



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1369
Location: Sagamihara

PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2003 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

what is wasta?

Brooks
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omar805



Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Posts: 69
Location: Thailand

PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2003 1:47 am    Post subject: chewing the rag! Reply with quote

Wasta is a term used in the Middle East that refers to power or influence or the ability to "pull a few strings"! In the West, we have a saying, "it's not what you know but who you know" if you want to get ahead in your job or in life in general.
To get back onto the subject, Scot47 and JohnSlat, please tell us some more about your jobs in the kingdom. You seem to enjoy your jobs with having the added benefit of having plenty of time to "chew the fat, or rag or carpet or whatever"!
The reason why I'm asking is that I've always been put off Saudi Arabia as I've always thought it to be too restrictive after having worked in the U.A.E. and in Oman.
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nimra_ghalat



Joined: 03 Mar 2003
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2003 4:26 am    Post subject: things to do in the magic kingdom Reply with quote

Some things I enjoyed about life in the Kingdom that I can't do or experience here in the States:

    - wear sandals in January
    - save tons of dough
    - order enough chicken and rice to last a week eating non-stop for less than 20 riyals (Mat'am Arik, 966-3-341-0121)
    - go 4-wheelin' and camp anywhere I want: no fee, no rangers, no private land since it all belongs to the king
    - scratch private parts with impunity
    - get fresh-baked tandoor bread
    - smoke a hookah and not worry about neighbors calling the police
    - not shave for days and still be cool with the boss
    - get better t.v. programming (and I'm not being facetious)
    - experience what it must be like to drive in Africa
    - not have to worry about swine flesh in my food
    - the smell of date palms blooming
    - learn some Arabic, along with other foreign languages such as Malayalam, Gujarati, Hindi/Urdu, Pashtoon, Kannada, Tagalog, and British English
    - go swimming at a beach within walking distance of my house
    - dig my hands into a steaming pile of kabsa (OK, hand, singular)
    - see flamingos in the wild
    - not ever be exposed to cellulite
    - not have to get car insurance
    - be greeted by people you have only met once (versus self-conscious American habits)
    - chase dhabbs
    - the absolute silence of the desert at night


On reading this over, these things may not be everyone's cup of tea, but the list of things I enjoyed is longer than I thought it was going to be, and I could think of more, too. Good idea, Mr. Scot.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12376
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2003 4:55 am    Post subject: My life here - short form Reply with quote

Dear omar805,
Not much to tell, really. ( Unlike, say, scot 47 ) I've spent my ( almost ) 19 years in the Kingdom with the same employer ( the Institute of Public Administration - IPA ), first arriving in 1980 and working for the IPA for 4 years in Jeddah and then transferring to the Riyadh headquarters. If you do the math, you'll see that it hasn't been a continuous 19 years; I've left 4 times and returned 3. And always to the IPA, not only because they've kept taking me back, but also since I think it's one of the best - if not THE best - places to work here. Why? Lots of reasons. For one, the administration trusts you enough to leave you alone and let you do your job. Minimal interference ( although we DO have to keep fighting to keep the class sizes down ). The students are generally good, some very good, others - well, as everywhere else, not so. But after all these years, I still look forward to coming to work every day. I enjoy my job - quite a bit, in fact. The accommodations, both housing and work, are fine. At work everyone has his own office, with computer ( obviously ) and there's a good gym/swimming pool available. And I'm hooked-up to the IPA system at home, too, so my Net access there is free. From the singles' quarters, it's only a ten-minute walk to work, so you don't really need a car. The only bill is for electricity ( about 40 SR a month = $11 ) and we've been able to get all the overtime ( overload they call it here ) we've wanted for quite a while. The contract load is 22 hours a week but I average about 32 hours. However, those who don't want overload rarely have to take any ( and, on those few occasions when it became necessary, it was only an extra 2 hours a week ). My colleagues over the years have been, with rare exceptions, professionals whom it's been a pleasure to work with. And, in addition, I've made some life-long friendships. I may seem to have a lot of time to post, but that's not really the case when classes are in session. Right now we're on a " non-teaching work week " so I've been a lot more active than usual. I'm not a person who needs a lot of social diversions ( although they ARE available here, if you want to actively pursue them ). My main recreation is reading - and now, of course, the Net. So, as has been mentioned before, this country, this life-style isn't for everyone; it'll drive certain types bananas ( and, probably, to drink ).
But it's worked out well for me and I not only have no regrets about staying here for so long, I actually am satisfied I've spent my time well and I've enjoyed it.
Regards,
John
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omar805



Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Posts: 69
Location: Thailand

PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2003 6:34 am    Post subject: Thanks for the information Reply with quote

Thanks John for that - I'll be eager to hear what your Jeddah colleague has to say.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12376
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2003 7:20 am    Post subject: Greener? pastures Reply with quote

Dear omar805,
" I'll be eager to hear what your Jeddah colleague has to say. "
If you're referring to scot47, he's now an ex-Jeddite as well. He's moved on to greener ( well, that may not be the right adjective here ) pastures. But I'll let him speak for himself ( if he decides to ) about that.
Regards,
John
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12166
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2003 6:13 pm    Post subject: time Reply with quote

Time ? Well I do not watch TV. My family are not here. I do not (any longer) imbibe alcoholic beverages. So I can spare the odd half hour on my addictive usage of Dave's ESLCAFE !
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12376
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2003 4:42 am    Post subject: Doppleganger? Reply with quote

Dear scot47,
" Well I do not watch TV. My family are not here. I do not (any longer) imbibe alcoholic beverages. So I can spare the odd half hour on my addictive usage of Dave's ESLCAFE ! "
Hmm, all that sounds so very familiar. Are you sure you're not I? But no - that's impossible. I'm older and not a grouch.
Regards,
Doppleganger John
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Mark100



Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Posts: 441

PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2003 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Advantages:

Good salary

No Tax

Full Time postion

Good holidays

Light workload

Relaxed lifestyle

No commuting

Milk it while you can it will not last for ever.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12166
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2003 11:44 am    Post subject: it will not last for ever Reply with quote

I worked here 1970-1972. When I left I was convinced that it "would not last". I missed out on the oil boom and came back in 1990. It lasted.

But I agree that there can be no guarantees. If you come here do not make any assumptions about it lasting a long time. Do not take out any big mortgages based on a ME salary ! And to stay sane it is best to focus on the next pay cheque, while also having some medium-tern goals. Not just "GET LOTS OF MONEY", but something concrete. In my case "SAVE ENOUGH TO BUY A NEW CAR,CASH"
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Cleopatra



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

PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2003 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The bad things about KSA are well known. Here's a subjective list of the good things.

- polite, respectful students

- very very relaxed attitude to work. AS the above poster says, "you'll never do so little work for so much".

- sunshine 365 days a year

- a big, modern flat to myself.

- a generally safe environment

- picking out the latest abaya and headscarf fashions

- a chance to experience a fascinating culture

- a chance to live in a country which is making headlines every day, admittedly not always for good reasons

- proximity to other fascinating countries

- and, last but not least, no tax, no rent, no money worries.

Having said all that, however, the boredom, monotony and isolation are finally getting to me, and I'm probably in my last few months here. But don't listen to the SaudiBashers - this place has a lot going for it.
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