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 27, 2012

The day that shall not be named, mentioned or celebrated

Christmas is illegal in Saudi Arabia...this bothers me, it always has.  Last year my boss, an amateur Mutaween himself took the liberty of calling me to remind that Christmas was illegal, that Dec. 25th was a work day and that he did not want to receive any reports of any Christian/Christmas behavior.  Aside from being disgusted by the man, I was also a little "hurt".  Had I really signed away all my rights by coming here, was I truly a "slave" to a nation that could tell me not only when to come and go, prevent me from leaving and confiscate my personal passport (which is actually US Government property) but now I was being told what to think in my own mind and do in my own private thoughts?

My time spent with that boss was pretty tough.  I learned that any more than 3 non Saudi's gathering could be broken up as they might be plotting or praying.  That speaking without being asked when I was in a group of Saudi's was rude (even if I was the subject matter expert).  And that while he stressed academic standards, it only applied to those students without any wasta.  He managed to also "teach" me that Shia Muslims are Iranian spies and have sexual relations with livestock, that Saudi's are superior to all Arabs, but that Arabs are superior to Westerners.  Oh and that the "Persian Gulf" is actually the "Arabian Gulf". 

I barely made it through with that guy, I almost turned in my resignation more than once.  The three other American's while I have my own opinions of them and their decisions individually, left because of this guy.  I almost told him what I really thought about him, and where I thought he might spend his afterlife, I almost called and told the FBI that this guy hates America, Americans, and Christianity yet flies in and out of the US at least a couple times a year...why?  If he hates us so much, that behavior is a little odd don't you think?  In the end though, I just dealt with it.

This year however, my department works under a different structure, that guy is gone (although he still somehow controls my housing allowance), my department head is great, my Campus Dean excellent and very understanding.  This year I was asked if I wanted a visa to go celebrate Christmas.  This year, many students actually said "Merry Christmas".  This year, I felt welcomed and appreciated by my Saudi hosts.  This year, I attended a Riyadh Christmas party thrown by a Saudi Arabian man and his wife, (Don't even think about it Mutt's, this guy's got more wasta than most of you).  This year I celebrated with American's, Saudi's, Canadian's, German's, Brazilians, the Irish, and a few others I can't think of to name.  This was one of the most enjoyable and special holiday seasons I've ever had, I spent it with good friends, ate good food, and had some great conversations.  I spent it reconnecting with old friends and meeting some new.  Above all though, I spent it with a lot of love.

What strikes me as ironic is that, here in a place where Christmas is illegal, I just had my best Christmas ever.


  1. I dunno much, but I also believe Persian Gulf is actually the "Arabian Gulf"

    Glad you are enjoying now :).

    1. Thanks for reading and thanks for the comment,

      That is actually a debated issue. It goes back along time and was originally written by cartographers as the Persian Gulf while the Arabian gulf referred to a different body of water involving the Red Sea. Internationally and as used on navigational charts, it is still officially the "Persian Gulf". If you take a geography class in the US, you could either write both names, or "Persian Gulf", but could not without explanation write "Arabian Gulf". Wikipedia has a pretty decent explanation.

    2. And actually who cares what the Gulf is called, as long as you don't think Shia Muslims are spies who have sex with goats, I think you're free to call the Gulf whatever you want to!

  2. I'm glad you had a good Christmas. Here's to the New Year. Cheers.

    1. I did thank you! And I hope yours was as nice. Cheers to 2013 being the best year yet!