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, May 10, 2012

Ya caught me!

I take a lot of pictures, but I'm not much of a photographer.  I know, because I dated one once, not for very long, but long enough to know that she could take a picture of a flower and a bee and make it look like art, Whereas I'd be more likely to step on the flower, and get stung by the bee just to take a crappy picture of a sports car or something equally worthless. 

However, since I do like to take pictures, especially since I'm somewhere that once I leave, I will most likely never return, I've been thinking for a while about getting an actual camera, rather than relying on my banged up 2 year old iPhone 3GS.  problem is, I don't know jack about cameras, I don't trust salesmen, and I don't want to pay over say $250.  Even that is on the high side for me in regards to a camera considering I will never use even half of the features. 

Tonight, while doing some shopping, (TP, Pepsi, pretzels, juice and fake beer) I happened to notice that one of the cameras had been marked down.  All of the guys at the counter don't know squat about the merchandise despite their repeated claims of "very good, no problem, best model".  I decided that my best bet was to take a picture of the model number, go home and "google it".

I wasn't being sneaky, didn't think I had to be.  I pulled my phone out of my pocket, turned the camera on, approached the counter, smiled at the clerk and knelt down so that I could take a picture of the model number and camera information.  When I stood back up, I again smiled at the clerk and noticed the look of fear on his face and the faces of his two colleagues.  Their expressions perplexed me and I suddenly felt the need to explain that I wanted to do research on the model number and see what other customers thought of it.  The man quickly whispered "not allowed" in a fearful and non accusatory tone.  Now completely bewildered, I asked why not, and he replied, "cannot use camera, take picture of girls".  "But I was just taking a picture of the info card, not any girls" I said in defense.  He explained that he knew that, but that cameras are not allowed, and he gently nodded his head to the left and said "see security already knows!"  I looked over his left shoulder and sure enough a gaggle of store security had formed about 10 feet away and were looking and pointing our direction, their manager looking concerned.  I said "thank you", shoved my phone back into my pocket and pushed my cart towards the checkout and past the watchful eyes of security.  I had some choice words for them, but didn't use you believe that?  Lets just take my word for it OK? 

OK so here's the analysis, that is the stupidest rule I've ever heard of.  First of all, even if I was taking pictures of women, they're already covered.  second of all, I've seen Saudi men follow our party of westerners with video cameras when women were in the group, and thirdly students and people I've met in town tell me they use TPB for everything, they don't use iTunes, or any of the other services, they use TPB or one of the other pirate services to download music, movies, magazines and books.  I'm fine with that, none of that bothers me, but all of those torrent services also supply....wait for it....wait for it....waittttttt forrrr ittttt.....PORN!  Yep, good ol' made in California, USA HARD CORE PORN!  So stores in the Kingdom try to ban camera phones and the taking of pictures in public, and go all "code 3 security!" on me when I take a pic of an advertisement, all in the name of protecting the virtue of women...all the while you can download all the movies and smut you want...ingenious guys, Freakin' ingenious.  Some day's, I just want to raise my hands in surrender and say "get me to the airport please, I'm done, I've done all I can, its not my place to change it, but I just can't take it anymore!!!!"  Below is the picture in question, according to google shopping, both are overpriced, poorly made and have a lot of negative comments.  I apparently risked arrest to figure that out...note to self, carry a pen and paper for such errands next time.  

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