Archive for November, 2013

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

I’ve been asked this question more times than I can count, so let’s put it to rest. I have no address. Saudi Arabia is unlike anywhere I’ve been. In Khobar, where I live, streets might have names, but street signs are rare. People are not accustomed to using street names. They rely on landmarks, like Saudi Burger or al Olaya mosque. Numbered addresses don’t exist. If you look online for a particular business, you will find something like this: Custodian of the Two Mosques Road, near Tandoori Restaurant.

The building I live in has a name but the sign is in arabic. Many of the taxi drivers are from other countries and can’t read arabic. I’m getting better at directing drivers. The typical instruction is, “Rashed Mall, Gate 7.” I then point the way down a winding alley until we reach my apartment building. Hey, whatever works.

There have been rumblings in the U.S. about the postal service eliminating Saturday mail delivery. Makes me laugh. How often is mail delivered here? Trick question! What is mail?

So, you may ask, how do people send things? Companies like UPS, Fedex and DHL fill the void. They are very expensive and require a taxi ride to drop off or pick up. A bit inconvenient just to send a birthday card. I’ll be sticking to email, for now.




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Saudi Arabia is the leader in protecting its citizens from dangerous toys. Cheap imports from China threaten the lives of children. The moral lives of children. An agency within the kingdom makes sure that the little ones are not corrupted. Somewhere, people are sitting in rooms with permanent markers. They black out offensive images on the packaging of toys, books and magazines. Who are these people? How does one apply for this job? They must have an iron will to resist the temptation of ogling the exposed arms and legs of women. Does the job pay well? Is it a plum assignment? Just one of many mysteries this ex-pat ponders each day in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


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