Friday, November 25, 2011

Road trip to Taif.

This weekend with family and a few friends I visited Taif. Matter of fact the we went to Al-Shafa 20 Km. east of Taif and on the top of the mountain. It was 9 degrees Celsius (48 F), however at the height and with the moisture level I must say the feel like temps were in the lower 40s or upper 30s. I was happy to bring out my jacket and put it on. It was a fun experience, which reminded me of the drive from Raton, NM to Colorado Spring, CO but without greenery. Unfortunately ill prepared I left my camera in camera bag in the trunk of the car. However a photo capture on the way out this morning shows the beauty of fog covering the peak.

Here is a video of us coming down from the mountain. I want everyone to notice one small thing in the video, due to the atmospheric condition usually in the evening and night time Saudi government installed street lights even though there are no cities or towns on the steep drive down the mountain.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Comparing Life in the USA to Life in Saudi Arabia

I thank Mike a geat photographer for this amazing photo. Find him on Flickr @Inbet_1979

Perhaps the title is a little deceiving, but one of the main cultural differences is how time is valued. Most if not all successful countries and their cultures show a great level of respect to time and timelines. In America we know our paychecks will be in the account on or before the payday. When our neighbor and friends ask us to help them with something we complete the tasks on or before that day. In our culture we always say I will be there on or before time. When we purchase our furniture we expect it to show up on time if not a little before.
In Kingdom of Saudi Arabia time is like oil. There is plenty of it to waste, which people do all the time. In comparison to U.S. in Saudi Arabia everything is after this or that time. For example most organizations will inform their employees their pay will be disbursed after a certain date. If you insist on knowing a date they will simply say you will get paid after the 2nd. It can be a day or weeks after that day. You can expect the same behavior from almost all the service providers. After purchasing office furniture I was told my furniture will arrive after the noon prayers. Not used to Kingdom’s customs I was ready at 12:30. I failed to realize, when I was told after the noon prayers it meant anytime after that and before sunrise the next day. The next day I was told they delivered the furniture around 8:00 Pm.
Maybe one day the market will change, perhaps the younger generation can learn from the foreign cultures and embrace all the good. But till that day Saudi Arabia will always be considered as country of  Bedouins. No skyscraper or modern infrastructure built by expatriates can help a nation become successful, unless they start respecting time amongst other things.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Are you ready for Thanksgiving?

Look what I found at local super market. BUTTERBALL Turkey, I guess Saudis are getting ready for Thanksgiving as well. This will be my first Thanksgiving away from home, I am not sure if I should try to recreate some of the traditional Thanksgiving items. What do you think?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Why the Head Covering?

As an American, I have been guilty of thinking about the purpose and reason behind head coverings in Saudi Arabia. Then, I realized that head coverings are not just practiced in Saudi Arabia. In fact, I started wondering when head coverings came into existence. As a lover of the Google search engine, I discovered some wonderful articles. Here is a link that has pictures of head coverings all over the world and over the span of many centuries: I discovered that there is a verse in 1 Corinthians 11:5 that says- Every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved. Covering the head was an early Christian practice just like the Amish practice today. Also, nuns cover their heads. I say this as me and my children are watching "Madeline" which is set in Paris, France. In this movie, little orphan girls are taken care of by a nun. As she wakes in the middle of the night to see why one is crying, she puts her head covering back on. In the same way, when my daughter Rayesa went to play at a friends house, her mother answered the door with her head covering. However, when I came to pick Rayesa back up, her head covering was not on. We then left and she came back outside to hand us a toy that Rayesa had forgotten-and she had her head covering back on. I just recently read the book "Plain Truth" by Jodi Picoult. This was a story about an American lawyer who lived among the Amish. What seemed to strange to her (and to me as I read) was how simple they dressed and how they always wore a "capp" on top of their head. It was simply a way of life that went along with their religion. Today, Muslim women wear head coverings. In Saudi Arabia, the religious police ensure that religious laws are not broken. However, in many photo's and video's from Saudi Arabia in the past several years, some foreign women are not wearing a head covering. I think that I will be on the safe side and respectfully wear a head covering while in Saudi Arabia. I no longer think it is strange to wear a head covering. I just think it is not practiced in my society or by the majority of the women who I live around. Just think, though, no one ever criticized Mother Teresa for covering her head. Many women do amazing things and many of these women are Amish, Muslim, Christian, English, etc.....

The Floating Mosque.

This is technically my first photo on the ground of Saudi Arabia. I am gathering courage to capture a few more pictures each and every day. Stay logged on my friends.

The Floating Mosque and The Sun Set

Singles Not Allowed

Today on the second day of Eid, I decided to take my brother to Chili's for dinner. In Saudi Arabia the restaurants are partitioned for singles (Males) and Families. First of all there is no women only section, if they are there they must be with their family. That is a topic for another day.

Upon our arrival we were told, due to Eid we are only serving families we have to come another day. I was a little furious but again what can I do. So we decided to go somewhere else.