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cokebottleag
Texas A&M Fan
King of Knee Jerk Reactions here.
Member since Aug 2011
20284 posts

Heading to Saudi Arabia for work. What should I know?
Going with a few others to do some recon/fact finding for a new branch we're setting up for a local customer. Will be in Riyadh, Tabuk, and places in the Hejaz mountains for about 6-7 days.

Things to watch out for or make sure to see? We will have some time (not a lot).


LSU Delts
New York Yankees Fan
Louisiana
Member since Dec 2007
1639 posts

re: Heading to Saudi Arabia for work. What should I know?
I worked in Jubal, Saudi Arabia for 3 months.
Don't believe with the US media puts out there.
They were very friendly and welcoming people. They loved talking to US people to learn about the culture.
Do not discuss politics, women or religion. Do not attempt to talk to the women although when Saudi men were not around they would tell you hello or make small talk. Just a couple of sentences/questions.
They will never speak badly about their country.
Ask permission before taking any pictures with them in it.
There wasn't too much to do where I was working except for dining out. I found the food to be great.
I took a couple weekend trips to Bahrain. They sell alcohol at some hotel bars there. There was also a restaurant there that was owned by an American from Arkansas that had southern breakfast. Egg, grits, and pork bacon. No pork in Saudi.

You are going to love the experience.
This post was edited on 1/11 at 4:22 pm


HoustonGumbeauxGuy
LSU Fan
Member since Jul 2011
14907 posts

re: Heading to Saudi Arabia for work. What should I know?
Shoplifting is strongly encouraged if you want to be the center of attention in the town square.


tccdc
Virginia Tech Fan
Washington, DC
Member since Sep 2007
2176 posts

re: Heading to Saudi Arabia for work. What should I know?
I worked in Riyadh on a few occasions.

* I found the food to be terrific, and this will sound weird, but the best damn fruit I have ever eaten. The "bars" in the hotels serve juice drinks. Might sound corny, but get one, terrific along with their mint tea (not as good as Jordan, but damn close)

* Like previous poster said, the folks are very welcoming. If you get invited to a house or anything like that, go.

* Be prepared for way too long lunches and dinners with Saudis...I joked that I only worked 3 hours a day there because I was on from 9-11, then lunch from 11-4, then work from 4-5, and then dinner from 5 on.

* Saudi women are covered up, women who are not Saudi will be wearing Hijabs (Syria, Jordan, etc)

* Never, ever, put a woman in a position where you two could be alone that someone outside your company could see.

* Go to Bahrain or Dubai for a weekend. Dubai is preferred, but it is fun to do the drive over from Dharran to Bahrain to watch the Saudi women stopping on the side of the road and uncovering their faces.

* Shawarma House if you are for some fast food that is terrific


Jrv2damac
Kansas Fan
Member since Mar 2004
27641 posts

re: Heading to Saudi Arabia for work. What should I know?



quote:

Favorite team: Texas A&M


Avoid open displays of homosexuality

Previous posters have other stuff covered


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390
Manzielathon
Texas A&M Fan
College Station
Member since Sep 2013
6002 posts
 Online 

re: Heading to Saudi Arabia for work. What should I know?
quote:

their mint tea (not as good as Jordan


This guy Middle Easts


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70
cokebottleag
Texas A&M Fan
King of Knee Jerk Reactions here.
Member since Aug 2011
20284 posts

re: Heading to Saudi Arabia for work. What should I know?
Thanks everyone for the notes!

quote:

* I found the food to be terrific, and this will sound weird, but the best damn fruit I have ever eaten. The "bars" in the hotels serve juice drinks. Might sound corny, but get one, terrific along with their mint tea (not as good as Jordan, but damn close)



Will definitely try.

quote:

* Go to Bahrain or Dubai for a weekend. Dubai is preferred, but it is fun to do the drive over from Dharran to Bahrain to watch the Saudi women stopping on the side of the road and uncovering their faces.



Won't have the opportunity, but I will be in a few historic sites along the Hejaz mountains. We plan on doing some sightseeing while there.

quote:

* Be prepared for way too long lunches and dinners with Saudis...I joked that I only worked 3 hours a day there because I was on from 9-11, then lunch from 11-4, then work from 4-5, and then dinner from 5 on.



Noted. This sounds a lot like Mexico, and I'm now prepared from experience. I keep a fuelpod backup battery with me during latin lunches because my phone will get used and will die after the first two hours.



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cokebottleag
Texas A&M Fan
King of Knee Jerk Reactions here.
Member since Aug 2011
20284 posts

re: Heading to Saudi Arabia for work. What should I know?
quote:

They were very friendly and welcoming people. They loved talking to US people to learn about the culture.
Do not discuss politics, women or religion. Do not attempt to talk to the women although when Saudi men were not around they would tell you hello or make small talk. Just a couple of sentences/questions.
They will never speak badly about their country.
Ask permission before taking any pictures with them in it.


Got it.

How much english did you encounter? I've been taking a few Arabic lessons so I can at least order food and get around, but I'm wondering if it's necessary.


Manzielathon
Texas A&M Fan
College Station
Member since Sep 2013
6002 posts
 Online 

re: Heading to Saudi Arabia for work. What should I know?
Not who you were replying to, and I haven’t been to Saudi, but I was surprised by how many, and how well, people spoke English in Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine.

I’d imagine the Saudis you’ll be encountering will be pretty damn good at English.

Always good to know the basics of the other countries language, and they will appreciate it immensely when you use what little you do know in the appropriate manner.

Although to be quite honest I’m not sure how much Arabic is Saudi differs from Modern Standard Arabic which is what I imagine you’re learning. Arabic is a strange language in that the dialects are a lot more different than one might imagine. Sometimes on my study abroads it felt like I was learning two different languages.

Jealous of you btw, I would love to go to Saudi one day.


Tygra
LSU Fan
Bee Are
Member since Jan 2008
218 posts

re: Heading to Saudi Arabia for work. What should I know?
Um so you said don’t believe the US media then followed that up with the things that the US media talk about. Politics, women and religion. Methinks you are confused.


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Tygra
LSU Fan
Bee Are
Member since Jan 2008
218 posts

re: Heading to Saudi Arabia for work. What should I know?
Lebanon is completely different than those other countries. And how was it in Palestine and not Israel?
Speaking Arabic in Saudi is different than the countries you listed. More than likely he’s going to do better than he would’ve in the places you listed. If you told a Saudi you were comparing them they would be insulted.


Manzielathon
Texas A&M Fan
College Station
Member since Sep 2013
6002 posts
 Online 

re: Heading to Saudi Arabia for work. What should I know?
Hilarious that I can already tell the kind of person you are by a few short sentences.

First, Lebanon is definitely not “completely different” than Palestine and Jordan. The presence of Shia Muslims and a history of significant interaction with the West does not some how make them completely unrelated. I drew the comparison because many Americans wouldn’t expect Arabs of any nationality to be that well versed in English.

My entire point was that my experiences in other Arab nations lends itself to the idea that OP will be completely fine and need damn near zero Arabic skills during his time abroad.

Second, I’m not going to get into a Israel / Palestine argument on the Internet. I am Pro-Israeli, but when speaking about my experience in the West Bank, specifically as it relates to the Arabic language - I’m going to refer to it as Palestine.

Third, I quite literally stated that Saudi Arabic is likely different from the MSA he has probably been spending his time learning. I wasn’t even comparing Khaleeji Arabic to Shaami Arabic.

Fourth, don’t care if Saudis would be offended. All Arab nationalities would be offended when compared to others, have you ever even met an Arab? They all hate each other, of course they’d be offended.
This post was edited on 1/14 at 5:23 am


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62
Manzielathon
Texas A&M Fan
College Station
Member since Sep 2013
6002 posts
 Online 

re: Heading to Saudi Arabia for work. What should I know?
Replying to your first stupid post as well, in defense of LSU Delts.

U.S. media’s portrayal of Saudi Arabia goes far beyond suppression of political and religious speech.

In most travel situations outside of the Western world, it’s best to avoid conversations about such topics, unless someone brings them up to you first. That’s just Common Travel Sense 101.

You can clearly tell by his post that what he meant by the media comment was that the Saudis he encountered were friendly, hospitable, and open to discussing a wide variety of topics - whereas the media typically portrays them as backwards and hostile. It’s only sensible that would not include topics that could earn them retribution from their own government. Believe it or not, a majority of countries in the world are like that.

Your two posts in this thread reek of ignorance about travel, at least as it pertains to the Middle East. I’m not going to fault you, because your posts could easily have been made by the average American.

I would suggest you spend more time researching these places, or actually traveling there, before making comments like you’ve made in this thread. They aren’t really productive in any capacity.

I’ve spent the better part of my adult life studying and living in these places that you think you know so much about, so I’ll apologize if my two responses come off as hostile, but your posts weren’t exactly well thought out or written in a constructive or kind manner, so I’m not sure I care too much.


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47
geaux88
LSU Fan
Northshore, LA
Member since Oct 2003
11600 posts

re: Heading to Saudi Arabia for work. What should I know?
quote:

Tabuk


I “think” that the wreckage of the “Lawrence of Arabia” train is still there... been many years so not sure.


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Gondor
LSU Fan
Dallas
Member since Nov 2004
382 posts

re: Heading to Saudi Arabia for work. What should I know?
Something I did not know in Qatar when I was there. When you sit and cross your legs, do not expose the sole of you shoe as it is considered an insult. Think it is same for Saudi. Luckily I had a colleague there who warned in advance.


KajunKouyon
LSU Fan
White Castle, LA
Member since Jun 2012
1539 posts

re: Heading to Saudi Arabia for work. What should I know?
Jeez that place sounds miserable


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DustyDinkleman
LSU Fan
Here
Member since Feb 2012
13714 posts

re: Heading to Saudi Arabia for work. What should I know?
Women are allowed to drive now.


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deeprig9
Georgia Fan
Member since Sep 2012
31728 posts

re: Heading to Saudi Arabia for work. What should I know?
Salaam Alaikum


Wa alaikum assalaam




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mizslu314
Missouri Fan
Dirty STL
Member since Sep 2013
7525 posts

re: Heading to Saudi Arabia for work. What should I know?
what kind of crack head shite is that?!


Lima Whiskey
Virginia Fan
Member since Apr 2013
4363 posts

re: Heading to Saudi Arabia for work. What should I know?
quote:

Jealous of you btw, I would love to go to Saudi one day.


Why?

Truly serious question.


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