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Travel to Saudi Arabia

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can only talk based on my experience, i am working for an american company. we have around 100 people working in the riyadh office, all men. not sure about nannies, did not see any. most of the fillipino, indian etc. that works there are men, not women.(in dubai yes, in saudi no). our women employees could not get visa unless accompanied by husband or father. during my time the only woman i saw in riyadh that did not cover her head was an american officer in a jeep (driven by a man). foreigners moslty live in compounds protected by army, where u can do whatever u want, even produce your own beer if u have the necessary devices. When i asked local Saudis working for us, they told me there is no way a woman can enter a metting with man (in the same room)

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@sharpe...Sunny is right. U are allowed to the country as a woman, but need to met at the airport , or point of entry, by your sponsor, or someone representing your sponsor.

 

My experience has been that as a woman visiting Saudi, u have a harder time than being a male.

 

I was living in Al Khobar, practically on the Bahrain border, and thankfully mutawa (religious police) were not as hard on us as in Riyahd for example. We were also lucky that we were not frowned upon when not wearing headgear, however for safety sake you always had to have your scarfe with you, in case someone protested against it.

 

There are MANY female expat workers in Saudi, especially nurses.

 

Before we left for the Kngdom, we were informed nto to wear any jewelry with "religious conotations", e.g cross pendants, or cross earrings. also no bibles allowed to be taken in, but many just covered theirs with the outer cover of a paperback novel.

 

the worst for me was when we had to hand over our passports to our employer, in order to become an iqama, kind of a pass. We did not get our passports back until we were ready to board the plane out of the kingdom.

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Oops. I just called my contact in Riyadh to ask him a question, having totally forgotten that it's currently their weekend. He was cool about it, but I feel bad. :unsure:

 

I think the cultural differences are going to be a bit bigger than those being discussed in the American Women dating German Men thread. :)

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some books I found helpful in understanding the region: "Don't They Know it's Friday?" (sounds appropriate for you ;) )

and "The Merchants" ...

the first is practical cross cultural/business tips and the other is more of a history of the Arabian Gulf.

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Well, I have returned. It was an experience, for sure. Can't really say that I'd like to go back, though.

 

Think I could use a beer tonight, though. :)

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Prijks tell us what you noticed. Did you notice how the plane goes silent just as everyone descends to land? Not so liberal anymore!

 

The anual repat flight from Riyadh to London in summer was always an experience as you'd see the full covered women who got on the plane getting off wearing fancy jeans and expensive perfumes.

 

 

I was living in Al Khobar, practically on the Bahrain border

Klein1 Where in Khobar were you?

 

I lived on KFUPM campus near to the US consulate and Aramco.

 

Dhahran is much easier going than Riyadh.

 

"I was there when Saddam launched his Scuds

And when Khobar Towers blew,

But once you've ridden in a yellow cab

There's nothing can frightene you."

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Very useful, thanks. Primarily, it helped ease my anxiety, which probably made the trip tons easier on me. But specific bits helped as well, such as watching out for family time in stores and such.

 

I got home at 7 am this morning, and only managed about two hours of sleep on the plane, so I'm gonna go take a nap real quick here. I'll add more later, but here are some of my impressions of Riyadh:

 

  • Some neat architecture
  • Friendly people
  • Not terribly hot, but way too dry (I got lucky temperature-wise)
  • Not much to do other than shop and look at the fancy buildings
  • I did not like having not a single interaction with a woman for five days
  • Frustrating business culture

 

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glad it went well

 

sorry, only just noticed

 

 

Well Mr Rat, have you any direct Middle East experience?

er, yes

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Where BR?

 

Prijks, you can live a "normal" life and see loads of women if you enter a´ny Western compound, some even have bars hidden away on them.

 

hmmmm...so I'm told. Wouldnt know anything about those dens of iniquity no not me.

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UAE and Lebanon if you must know ;) plus other places generally considered a bit 'iffy' outside the mid east, none of which turned out to be that dangerous IMO

 

 

Frustrating business culture

and for the last 12 months or so business contacts with Saudi - so I can confirm this one <_<

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Pah UAE? Holisday place? Been pissed there in the Irish Village years ago and driven round the whole UAE with a mate who lived in RAK. Lebanon also liberal - thats where the Saudis go to watch the belly dancing.

 

You know you've been too long in Saudi when...you think LBC's belly dancing evenings on TV are exciting.

 

Business in Saudi is done entirely by personality. Who you know is vital. Nothing hapopens unless you have a good relationship there. Never do anything around Ramadan or around June when the heat season comes.

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Prijks, you can live a "normal" life and see loads of women if you enter a´ny Western compound, some even have bars hidden away on them.

Are there hotels on these compounds? The only contacts I had in Riyadh were Saudis, and due to the Arab Summit, hotel choices were extremely limited. So how would I have gone about getting into one of these compounds?

 

 

Business in Saudi is done entirely by personality. Who you know is vital. Nothing hapopens unless you have a good relationship there. Never do anything around Ramadan or around June when the heat season comes.

Well, there is more work to be done there, so I could go back if I want. However, given what I experienced this week, I'm afraid the engagement would draw on much longer than expected. And my German employer is skeptical about sending me back. They have plenty of other work for me to do in Europe, and expanding beyond Europe isn't really a priority right now.

 

At one point, one of the guys I was working with told me that if what I install has any adverse effect on their network or systems, they won't let me out of the country until it's fixed. Do I assume he was serious?

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Do I assume he was serious?

I think it's a pretty safe assumption to make. :ph34r:

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At one point, one of the guys I was working with told me that if what I install has any adverse effect on their network or systems, they won't let me out of the country until it's fixed. Do I assume he was serious?

Yep possibly jailed.

 

I had a car crash in Al Khobar with a mate after my first ever day of diving in the Gulf on a croal reef. Police came, I was told to get a taxi home asap whilst the man who worked for a certain defence company was jailed until the situation was sorted out i.e, his company came to get him out.

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So, any updates, developments, changes out there in the past 3 years?

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Punchy pal, I think I can be more open than I used to be.

 

If your employer is directly Aramco or BAe then you can fly there with a kind of diplomatic passport. If anything goes tits up (usually you're caught pissed driving from a BAe compound and have run over a Saudi prince) then you can be flown out of Kingdom within 2 hours.

 

jeddah is sort of anarchic as its more cosmopolitan yet still strict, Riyadh is only good from the desert driving point of view, and Dhahran since Gosaibi closed, must be shit. Ask anyone in Kingdom about Al Gosaibi in Dhahran, there's even a Facebook group for those who miss it..

 

 

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