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Saudi Arabia

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Large monarchical country in Arabia run with absolute power by the Royal House of Saud - hence the name. All shit and giggles.

Reasons to be Cheerful

The money. Most Westerners on contract work are reasonably well-paid and quite cossetted in their protected compounds. There's a reason for this: incentive - and it's probably the only one. There's quite a lot of ex-pats in the Kingdom due to the Saudis being absolutely fucking useless at doing anything. Even if they were deemed competent enough, they'd still find it hard to find enough time to achieve anything productive between regular bouts of carpet nodding. However, there is a downside.

Reasons to be Miserable

The downside is that the Kingdom is positively Medieval in its outlook. Sure it's quite advanced technologically in some areas (that's why the whiteys are there in force), but it is socially stifled by the ever present shadow of Islam - which even Winston Churchill recognised as being conducive to lack of progress - and that was back in the 1890s!

Before undertaking any civvy contract work in the Kingdom, it's worth noting the following:

  • No alcohol.
  • No bars.
  • No social life.
  • No cinemas.
  • No women allowed to drive (not necessarily a bad thing).
  • No nice Chinese food.
  • No Sainsbury's, M&S, or Tesco.
  • No smoking in public (women again).
  • No Sky TV.
  • No quilted bog roll, as it is un-Islamic.
  • No anything during Ramadan (a ding dong).
  • Shops close five times a day (always just as you arrive).
  • Roads are manic during prayers, because this is the time when they are allowed to escape prayers.
  • Very few jobs for women (good selection if you are a teacher).
  • The tap water is always warm and it's always dark by 1900hrs.

There's More!

There are separate eating areas for women and some branches of (the equally un-Islamic) McDonald's won't even let women in to order a takeaway. Women are also not allowed to travel in a car with a member of the opposite sex, unless it's your husband or the driver. Even sitting on the bus in an un-Islamic manner could result in arrest by the Religious Police.

Women have to cover themselves head to toe in black. I left my headscarf off today and got hissed at in the shops - I was going to knock her out but might have got arrested by the Mutaween.

In a nutshell, it's all down to Sharia Law - an extreme form of apartheid-like control - only the Saudis make the South Africans look totally gay - and don't even go down THAT route!

Still, there's always the public executions here in Chop Chop Square to keep one amused, and one should bear this in mind when knocking out shampoo bottles-full of illicit booze on the illegal still in your room. Travel certainly broadens the mind.

Still fancy it?

Should the reader still be desperate enough for beer tokens enough to undertake a contract in the Kingdom, there are many on-line sites to assist you in your venture - particularly the 'do's & don'ts'. Interestingly, many of the 'don'ts' are not reciprocated when Saudi nationals visit non-Islamic countries... such as the UK for instance, whereupon they simply do what the fuck they like. I rather like the bit about not expecting them to live by your infidel Western values. Ho ho!

Top tips: Don't Do's

By far the best tip of all is to avoid the place like the bubonic plague and stay in good ol' blighted Blighty, where you can go on the lash, smoke tabs, grab women's arses and gob off to the ol' Bill to your heart's content - without fear of losing your swede amid a baying mob in the town square... for the time being anyhow.