July 11, 2006

Random pictures from Riyadh

I’d like to share (and comment on) these random photos I took throughout last week.

For those who were in Saudi up to the early nineties this will definitely sound nostalgic, a vantage yellow taxi with an old Saudi plate number and hand scribbled side “stamp".

I found it abandoned next to our office this morning out of the blue, given that it’s against the law to be driving a car with old plate numbers, the rusty condition of the car and the fact that 99% of yellow taxis were righted off long back, it seems this one simply dropped down from the heavens!

Next is something that goes well with the plenty of strange encounters you come across here in Saudi, where else in the world will you find the national dress worn by most being banned from entering neutral places (I’m aware that national dress is not allowed in Dubai bars)?

This is the walk-in entrance of one compound (Sahara towers) clearly stating that no one wearing the Saudi national dress is allowed in! it look like a military camp entrance by the way.

Many housing complexes over here have various irrational rules, some decline tenant families whose female members wear veil (not even Niqab), others make it explicitly clear that visiting Saudi guests (Saudis are usually not allowed to live in by default) must wear their national dress, the Kingdome compound is notorious with this rule… its all but erratic, offensive and pointless!

Though I strive to boycott American products, but I found myself inclined to buy this soda for the mere cheeky statement they printed on the Arabic tag (as a token of arrogant novelty), it reads:

صنع في الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية و نفخر بدعم قضية العرب و المسلمين من أجل السلام و الوحدة

“Made in the United States and we are proud to support the Arabs & Moslems cause for peace and unity”

It's poorly worded and doesn’t make any sense! What freaking "unity" are they talking about? I bet a business development manager of some sort thought in a clear moment of dulisinal intuitiveness “We might as well tag our exported goods with positive statements that will boost our sales, address any anti-American sentiments and dodge any boycott outbreaks” arrogance I'd say!

Visiting the company’s website (it’s called Blue Sky), there was no monition of their alleged “support” of “The Arab & Moslem just cause for peace & unity”, in fact the only cause they seem to be supportive of is adopting stray pets! The other me would probably write to them demanding an explanation on how exactly they support the latter “cause” or otherwise refund the overpriced “organic” drink they easily lured me to drink with blunt deceit.

Finally, the other day I complained to the restaurant manager of my favorite steak joint about the new burger buns they started using, and so the manager treated me with a Chocolate brownie, I’m not fond of sweets, but this one was exceptionally delicious at the time… the next day I ordered it, nothing was special about it anymore!


Hani said...

Basim, you know that http://photos1.blogger.com is blocked in Saudi Arabia, right?!
And I know that you live in this country as I do... would you tell me how you could use it?????????!!!

email me if it was a secret :D

How are you, by the way?!

Basem said...

I basically took my chances and uploaded the image regularly and hoped they’ll show up neatly once published as i was unable to preview…

Otherwise, I’m off to Jordan tomorrow with God’s will.

Tamara said...

Interesting post basem

I find it interesting how people are so delusional to think; they have the right to mandate to others what they can and what they can't wear. This is so frustrating I hope I live to the day we loose our inferiority complex.

As for the brownie …that's the taste of victory not the brownie : )

lammoush said...


Islamic ChoCoHoLic said...

u have a pic of one of the worlds yummiest desserts.... i had to thank u for making me drool all over the keyboard lol

i thought only girls enjoyed such things!! unlike u i can order this everday without feeling its LESS special.. im hurt... somewhat offended cause i adore chocolate!

yummy... *stomache growls