Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Saudis at our house

Here's another old entry for ya!

So I'm still a bit surprised that we had a Saudi at our home last week, because it all happened so fast. A casual invitation turned into a serious one and a couple of Saudi men came over for a snack.

Ok, just a bit of background - Saudis and expats don't really mix socially very often - it happens, just it's not the most common thing. It's beyond a language barrier as many Saudis speak excellent English; it's a cultural divide. So, suffice it to say that I haven't really properly interacted with any Saudis here, especially not men. I was surprised to find myself fretting about the whole thing, and wondering the whole time what kinds of things would be rude to say, and what kinds of things would be halal. I worried about giving everyone a hearty handshake like I usually do in Canada. What kinds of cold cuts are on the platter? Would it be funny to say "mystery meat" to a Saudi?

I think the most interesting thing about this whole encounter was that the Saudis seemed a lot more comfortable with this visit than I did. It only took a few short months of zero contact with Saudi men to turn me into a bumbling jittery teenager around these men. It really makes me think about what it would be like to be born into this type of segregation. Does it make you think about it? Just think about it.

6 comments:

LadyLuz said...

Hi again - I've caught up with you and could relate to your jitters. I felt the same when we were invited to a Saudi's house for lunch. I thought I'd have to join the women in another room, but, no, lunch was on the floor and I was expected to join them.

True to form, it was lamb and rice followed by half a roast chicken - no cutlery - huge plates of the honey and nut pastries and fresh fruit.

It was all very relaxed and enjoyable but I couldn't help worrying about the women in the back rooms, doing all the work and waiting to get fed from the leavings in the other room.

A strange experience!

KSA_Australia said...

Interested blog from Canadian point of view.....

KSA_Australia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dodo said...

Hi,I am a Saudian lady living in Riyadh,I happened to pass on your blog and i just kept wondering why this fear from the Saudian community?also I would strongly advice you to reconsider your beleive concerning the delicacy or submissivness of Saudian ladies,we my dear are a force of nature but in a lady-like wrapped package.Finally,i don't blame you,obviously you did not GIVE yourself the chance to TRUELLY know the culture or the genuine genourousity of Saudian men and women....I guess the only generousity you are intrested in is the one that signs your monthly checks BY THEM....

Unknown said...

Dodo (very apt moniker dear coke bottle)

The sad reality for you is that if the monthly checks were not well subsidized by the oil under Thesiger's (ever heard of him?) Arabian sands (and developed by us despised Westerners) no, there wouldn't be many (any?) of us in 'the kingdom".

L NOW said...

@Unknown
The sadder reality is your ongoing domination of any country you set foot on ; draining it from all it's resources and leaving it to dry
Against the basic forms of humanity appreciate the chance you have of living safely in a country you are ROBBING

@orchidthief
Your blog gave us Saudis a feel of how you guys live and looks like you were bored out of your skull in your short say
It is sad though that u haven't experienced having Saudi acquaintances you see they are the gems of the kingdom

Riyadh is a social beehive and that is where you will find the "fun" side you were looking for
Bbye