Read Me/Disclaimer

Read Me/Disclaimer: This is a non-political/socio-political blog. It's a running tale of my Saudi Arabian adventure, great, good, bad, and ugly. It is uncensored, and I don't really care what you think of it, read it or don't. I don't care. I did not decide to do this as a means to an end, but rather to document the means with which I occupied my time while waiting for my end... All that being said, I'm an American Expat in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The opportunity to help build this system and the salary that accompanied it were to good to pass up.-Geoff

"The views presented here are just the views of some asshole named Geoff, they are not necessarily the views of my employer, my co-workers, my family or anybody else. First hand knowledge and second hand accounts were used to compile the information. These are not scientific facts and figures. These views are not necessarily supported, endorsed or even appreciated by the KSA the USA or any other country for that matter and the author makes absolutely no claim that they are."**

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The two forbidden L's

(Drafted, then continued...I am now permanently stationed in Dammam...Awesome!)

Short post tonight, I have a big day of travel again tomorrow, headed back to Dammam for a couple of weeks, maybe longer.  So I've heard a lot of uniquely Saudi things since I've been here, and its a steep learning curve because "you don't know Saudi, till you know Saudi".  You can read my blog, read other blogs and watch all the "youtube" you want, you can visit Dubai or Bahrain, but you "don't know Saudi till you've lived in Saudi", and for the most part you "don't know the real Middle East and the politics facing the region until you know Saudi".  Why?  Because this is where the religion is, this is where the money is, this is where the beauty, weirdness, money and Islam mesh together.  Dubai and Abu Dhabi is built on British engineering, money and luxury, Saudi's a little different... So the two forbidden L's of the KSA...This is what I learned tonight...

Love and Logic,

Tonight was the first time I've ever heard it put that way, but it makes a lot of sense.  Love does seem to be a fairly foreign concept here. 


Every week or so, you'll meet with your boss, and he'll ask you how you like it here, how everything is going, you might one day mention that you miss your wife, to which if he hasn't spent a great deal of time in the west will make him raise his eyebrows and say "oh, you need cooking?"  or worse "ahh, you need sex?".  To which what does an American reply?  "Of course I miss cooking and sex you idiot!, but no that's not what I'm talking about!  I love her you know?"  To which you get that sideways look a dog gives you when he's really confused...It's strange I know, but love is not the same here as it is in the Western world, its here, but its different and focused much more around needs, responsibility and religion and most of all appearance...kinda like ultra catholics...(That comparison MIGHT get me kicked out of the country, I hear there was once some bad blood there...don't know, a couple crusade thingies...).


If it makes sense, don't do it...Is that what I'm saying?  No absolutely not!  Oil be dammed, if this country wasn't filled with some of the smartest business men on the face of the planet it wouldn't be what it is.  It would be overrun with Texas oil tycoons and have titty bars and Cadillac dealerships on every corner, Movie theaters filled with booze and malls filled with debutantes in short skirts would dot the landscape.  Those things aren't here, well the malls and the dealerships are, but the rest is kept out, and you most importantly, you have to be a Saudi to sign business doc's and contracts.  Hence the whole country isn't sold piecemeal  to the highest foreign bidder...What I mean by Logic being forbidden is that when a problem is discovered, you can't bring it to the attention of your boss very often and hope to get anything done.  You have to convince a Saudi man that it was his realization, and that you will dutifully support him...It plays hell with the ego, but more importantly requires some negotiating skills that few Americans have, I'm thinking about starting a political boot-camp here in Saudi for aspiring American Diplomats and Politicians.  The first week will involve the recruit being dropped off in a Saudi city with 500 SAR and being told to live until further notice...

Mainly though my gripe stems from the fact that this is one of the richest first world countries in the world, they have the most state of the art desalination facilities within their borders, a modern army and navy, a modern police/fire/civil defense system...and yet they still drive 200 km/hr without seat belts, don't fasten kids into car seats, tell women to go to school, get degrees and do nothing with them, spend money like it disappeared every night while some people starve, let their kids stay up screaming until 2-3 am, consume plastics and other non bio-degradeables like they were....I don't even know what.  And here's the kicker, most people don't care!  The fact that when you're rich and really sick, you get on a plane and go to Maryland, DC,  New York etc...blows my mind!  Do you realize how pissed I would be if I couldn't get good medical care in my own country, do you know how much angrier I'd be if I couldn't get the care I needed despite my money!!!!  I would be so ashamed of my country, but here, they aren't, it's normal.  Where's the logic in that!!!!????Driving past an accident scene with dead kids, everybody says "oh how tragic", only maybe 1% say this is bullshit, I'm going to do something about it!  And they usually start something like were doing, but 5 years, 30 levels of greedy bureaucracy, and 10 corrupt bastards later no real changes have taken place. WTF????  Go Crazy Folks! GO Crazy!  Thinking about it wears me out...

The two forbidden L's what the hell did I get myself into...


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