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Saudi Social Scene?
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curiousW



Joined: 27 Jun 2003
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:43 pm    Post subject: Saudi Social Scene? Reply with quote

I'd like to know what the social scene is like in Saudi for singles. I'm in my early thirties, unattached and have been offered a position in Dhahran. I know the money is good and the county very restricted but does being in Saudi mean a celibate existence for the contract period?
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zakiah25



Joined: 09 Feb 2003
Posts: 155
Location: Oman

PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2003 8:55 pm    Post subject: just cross the bridge...... Reply with quote

Many expats working in Dhahran find it accessible to get to Bahrain which is more liberal than Saudi.
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Mark100



Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Posts: 441

PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2003 4:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Social scene is dead at the moment after the Riyadh bombing.
Most people are going to Bahrain for the weekend.
If you have a multi exit re entry visa should be okay plenty going on in Bahrain 45 min drive.
Are you working for Aramco?
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curiousW



Joined: 27 Jun 2003
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2003 1:25 pm    Post subject: Saudi Social Scene? Reply with quote

I have a tentative offer from BAE. I've read on this site that teaching military is very difficult. Why?
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12305
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2003 1:46 pm    Post subject: Social Scene in Saudi Arabia Reply with quote

There is no social scene in the K of SA - unless you are a homosexual.
After the recent bombings in the capital life is even more restricted than before.

BAe staff are not permitted multiple xesit-reentry visas. This is presumably in case they nip over to Bahrain and sell the secrets of the Present Continuous Tense to tyhe North Koreans.

Allmilitarycontracts in Saudi Arabia are awful. Recruits tend to be from the bottom end of society. Just imagine the military at the time of the Duke of Wellington. You will be teaching the Saudi equivalent of the "brutal and licentious soldiery."

Your colleagues - from your own country and Saudi Arabia will be rather dim. In BAe, many of the staff are ex-RAF.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12742
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2003 3:35 pm    Post subject: A social ( and party ) animal Reply with quote

Dear curiousW,
Much as I hate to disagree with scot47, there CAN be " social life " ( for straights ) in the Kingdom. I'm a homebody myself, but one of my colleagues here in Riyadh ( and if you can have a " social life " in Riyadh, you can have one anywhere ) has a VERY full schedule. BUT - he has a car and he has made a lot of contacts with the " right people " on the compounds and at the embassy. So, this gentleman, who posts here occasionally - but not very often; he's too busy - is living proof that, if you actively seek it and are willing to hustle around, you can have a social life here - even now. However, I totally agree with scot 47 about teaching the military here - it's the pits.
Regards,
John
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curiousW



Joined: 27 Jun 2003
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2003 3:41 pm    Post subject: Saudi Social Scene? Reply with quote

Given that I am not homosexual, that sounds pretty bleak. I spoke to someone a few years back who had gone to Saudi and said life there is what you made it. While there he dated a nurse, I think from Finland. He told me there were parties and great diving and camping.

Has everything changed?

About BAE, once again it doesn't sound very encouraging. Probably the toughest students I've had to deal with were dim-witted new assembly line employees who couldn't give a fig for anything English. Another tough stint was rowdy highschool boys. Am I going to have classroom management problems? What should I expect?
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curiousW



Joined: 27 Jun 2003
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2003 3:47 pm    Post subject: Saudi Social Scene Reply with quote

Sorry John, I was writing my reply to Scot47 while you posted yours - didn't see it. You bring some hope!
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Cleopatra



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

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2003 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, it's true that life is what you make it, but these days it's pretty damm hard to make a life for yourself in Riyadh.
People with families tend to get by OK but for singles - esp women - it's a desert out there, in every sense. When I came here 2 years ago everyone told me I'd have a great life, non-stop parties and desert picnics and so on.
However, that was then and this is now. The 'security' situation plus the fact that there are fewer and fewer ex-pats here now, means that social outlets are few and far between. There are still a few parties going on - though they're not everybody's idea of fun - but just getting into a coupound can be a real issue. Other than that, there are almost no venues for social interaction.
Hope this doesn't sound too grim - but to be honest, lots of people are leaving out of sheer boredom. KSA just isn't what it used to be.
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Mark100



Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Posts: 441

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2003 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have many mates working at BAE and they are all going mad!
Their disco has been closed and whereas there used to be things going on there and lots of Aramco girls going down on the weekend that has almost stopped.Further the working conditions are appalling and they are increasing the teaching hours and they are now working Thursdays and as well the hols have been reduced.
Only go if you are desperate for money.
Most of the guys are very unhappy.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12305
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2003 8:14 am    Post subject: saudi Reply with quote

Go to Saudi Arabia for the money. Do not go for the parties, social scene, illegal booze and illicit sex. Despite what you may have heard, life in Saudi Arabia is difficult, stressful and tedious.

Some men like it because of the close proximity to young men whose only sexual outlet before marriage is with other men. Others go there to save money.Nuff sed.
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curiousW



Joined: 27 Jun 2003
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2003 2:28 pm    Post subject: Saudi Social Scene Reply with quote

So, the conclusion seems to be that that I will likely lead a celibate life for my time there and BAe is a terrible place to work.
To be honest, I'm more concerned with the former issue. Poor working conditions are all relative and Saudi teaching is surely about the money first. Can it be worse than a room full of screaming kids?
The lack of social life though can lead to depression. May I ask what those of you out there now do in your spare time?
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12742
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2003 2:46 pm    Post subject: Seek and ye shall find Reply with quote

Dear curiousw,
I read a lot and do a fair amount of Net stuff at home. But when I was teaching maybe 32 or more hours a week ( I liked to do a lot of overtime -the contract load is 22 ) my problem was never being bored; it was not having enough time. Of course, as scot47 wrote, no one should COME to Saudi Arabia for the social life ( you might as well go to, say, England - or Scotland - for the food ). But I still say it's here is you want to spend the time and effort to find it. Human beings - myself and scot47 being possible exceptions - are social animals. They will make a social life wherever they go, even here.
Regards,
John
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Cleopatra



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

PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2003 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to think that I was perfectly suited to the life here - I'm fiercely independent and enjoy activities like cooking, computers, watching TV and of course, reading. Of course, I also like being with people when i choose to - I enjoy nothing better than a good chat with interesting people.

The problem is - and I don't want to sound too bitchy - a lot of the expats here seem to be a rather dull bunch. the type of people who never watch the news and certainly would not read a book. Honestly, maybe I've been unlucky with the people I meet, but most expats here seem unable to talk about anything other than their salaries and how terribly poor Westerners are discriminated against (give me a break!). If you enjoy that sort of thing you'll probably find your niche here.

In any case, the whole setup here mitigates against social interaction. The Saudis are nice once you get to know them but they are verv very reserved - particularly in the Riyadh region. Unless you're housed on a compound, you'll probably find yourself in a single sex apartment building with no visitors of the opposite sex allowed. Similarly, restaurants and canteens at work are also segregated - which in effect means your 'pool' of potential friends is cut in half.

That said - you can make a life for yourself here, but it will take a lot of work and involve crossing a lot of barriers. Apparantly, the situation couldn't have been more different only a few years ago.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12742
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2003 8:41 am    Post subject: The Wheel of Fortune Reply with quote

Dear Cleopatra,
I think it IS luck - good and bad. I haven't had the problem you mentioned. I've known, among my colleagues here, a good number - enough, anyway, let's say - who've been widely read, funny and interesting to talk with. Some have become friends that I hope to keep in contact with for the remainder of my life.
Regards,
John
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