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Winner Of The Epic World-Wide Travel Adventure

Archive for January 2009

- - -- by Ed Reif»
A Post Without Image

"Land Lines are places but cell phones,people"

One eyed man in the land of the blind

You don't go to The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a tourist. In fact, there's no such thing as a tourist visa. If you're not making a pilgrimage to Mecca, and not Muslim, the only way to get into the country is with a work permit. Mixing between unrelated males and females is forbidden. Most social functions are single sex only and there is barely even eye contact made between men and women. Sound like fun?

 The level of absurdity hit me when I read in the English-speaking newspaper that women cause 80% of the traffic accidents....this in a country that doesn't allow them to actually drive--"But you know what they mean" my Saudi counter part told me
 "They are, how you say,  back-seat drivers-go here-no there".
 Jeddah in 2002, I witnessed the ongoing airlifting of 
the entire 20th century infrastructure onto Saudi Arabia's 
sandy soil and wiring it up – from roads, to power, to 
communication, schools, housing, and utilities.




When The Teacher Is Read The Students Appear

Riyadh in 2009, 

on the other hand...

What's it like over there on the ground? It's a bit like Mars.

.In the kingdom of men, where are all the women? I don;t know what Riyadh means but Jidda means “grandmother” in Arabic, and the city may have gotten its name because tradition holds that the grandmother of all temptresses, the biblical Eve, is buried here—an apt symbol for a country that legally, sexually, and sartorially buries its women alive.
Is It Safe?

- - -- by Ed Reif»
A Post Without Image

Sun is shining. Wind is blowing. How bad can I be doing?



It's The Middle East not The Mid West


Hashing In Riyadh -a friendship of kindred spirits joined together for the sole purpose of forgetting about being so far away from home and remembering how simple it is to have fun.


Motion creates emotion, whether you run or walk


It's  good to get out and do something else besides work, sleep  eat, and complain about "Segregation Forever"(sexual apartheid) Mens-only Starbucks( and,  the naked mermaid logo is banned!), Mens-Only Mall hours (single men are only allowed into shopping centers at lunch time on weekdays)Men's Only...everything and everywhere!

Ah the brightside of repression for women-It's a man's world. 2 words you quickly learn are halal (permissible) and haram (forbidden).

With  the exception of wearing shorts (I was thrown out of a restaurant because my body parts were showing), "Western Rules" rule  for men and women expats INSIDE the compound-our barbed wired- walled residential community, built for  company employees, but not OUTSIDE the compound. 

Saudi Arabia is devoid of public entertainment, cinemas and clubs, and women are all covered up in black robes or abayas.oooh ahhhh. So what, you get used to it. After all--- Cha Ching $$$, I am committed to advancing America's values and interests of making a "fast buck" , even when that means  putting myself in danger of boredom!

As Blaise Pascal said" All of man's trouble stem from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone"

You get to reframe things- It is Modern Chivalry, an ethical standard and  a sign of modesty and respect in the local culture. 



"Land Lines are places but cell phones,people"

One eyed man in the land of the blind

You don't go to The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a tourist. In fact, there's no such thing as a tourist visa. If you're not making a pilgrimage to Mecca, and not Muslim, the only way to get into the country is with a work permit. Mixing between unrelated males and females is forbidden. Most social functions are single sex only and there is barely even eye contact made between men and women. Sound like fun?

 The level of absurdity hit me when I read in the English-speaking newspaper that women cause 80% of the traffic accidents....this in a country that doesn't allow them to actually drive--"But you know what they mean" my Saudi counter part told me
 "They are, how you say,  back-seat drivers-go here-no there".
 Jeddah in 2002, I witnessed the ongoing airlifting of 
the entire 20th century infrastructure onto Saudi Arabia's 
sandy soil and wiring it up – from roads, to power, to 
communication, schools, housing, and utilities.




When The Teacher Is Read The Students Appear

Riyadh in 2009, 

on the other hand...


What's it like over there on the ground? It's a bit like Mars.

.In the kingdom of men, where are all the women? I don;t know what Riyadh means but Jidda means “grandmother” in Arabic, and the city may have gotten its name because tradition holds that the grandmother of all temptresses, the biblical Eve, is buried here—an apt symbol for a country that legally, sexually, and sartorially buries its women alive.
Is It Safe?

- - -- by Ed Reif»
A Post Without Image



I'd appreciate it if you addressed me as Sir or Colonel, I believed I have earned it.


The Hash House Harriers(H3) is  a worldwide drinking club with a running problem 




The desert can be a near mystical/impersonal place, and heading out there on the weekends(Thursday-Friday here) is  a great way for expats to meet and keep in touch while enjoying the natural beauty of the desert. We even run in to a few camels once in a while.


I'm thinking of America, not the country, the folk rock band and their song....



I've been through the desert on a horse with no name 
It felt good to be out of the rain  

- - -- by Ed Reif»
A Post Without Image

 Mr Brightside, the sage on the stage chalk and talker- "His blackboard skills put Rembrandt to shame

Riyadh-"Learn English in five years---what's the hurry?"
The map is the territory
There is No Egg in Eggplant, No Ham in Hamburger, No Pine or Apple in Pineapple. You park your car in a driveway and drive your car on a parkway, Any questions about the English language? Yes...It's a language and a country.




 This is so different from Aloha Friday's and teaching girls in Hawaii.


Barbie Was Right-Math Is Hard
"DLI(Defense Language Institute)-It’s a plain vanilla program, but it is the best program in the world,” 


- - -- by Ed Reif»
A Post Without Image

In 2002 I was in Jeddah and had a great time making lots of money, getting paid in AMEX traveler checks, despite the cultural differences of dress and  conservative attitudes.

Saudis say that money is not the key to happiness, but they figure  if you have enough money, you can have a key made.

Signs???