I’ve noticed myself pretty annoyed lately. Lots of stuff going on last week. Some things in Saudi just tip off my irritation. I’m going to have to rant to let some steam out. If you’re easily offended and don’t have a sense of humor, stop reading now PLEASE.
What really gets to me is the constant DUST. Seems like it’s been here since January. The last sandstorm started Thursday and only cleared up a week later. Saturday came along, the weather was perfect. We headed out to the desert for a nice outing and picnic with friends who haven’t been out in the desert for many years, so I convinced them it was a fantastic idea to go. So after five hours of preparations and driving all the way to Rawdhat Kuraim. BOOM. Sandstorm hits. Fantastic.
This wasn’t the type of somehow barely tolerable-kind of sandstorm. Nope. It had to be the brain-blasting, bloodstream-invading, eye-quenching, hair-raising type of a hell of a sandstorm.
If you want to have your house clear of this nasty ass stuff, you’d need to clean and wipe all over like every hourly. The dust is so fine it’s more like flour, or powdered sugar. It’s so sneaky it seeps through the apartment building’s main door, then sneaks in through the hallways, to our front door, then makes its way through the living room door to reach the kitchen door and finally arrives at the cupboard door only to creep inside the freakin sealed (or so I thought) food boxes. Can you believe the nerve of this stuff??
I HATE DUST.
No one gives a damn about where they live. The environment outside of the villa walls or apartment buildings simply doesn’t seem to matter. Seriously sometimes I think people here just live in pink bubbles floating around, oblivious to the world around them.
Who cares if the street outside your house is full of trash or the empty lot next to your villa has been turned into a dump yard?? Who cares if there’s a river of stinky sewage flowing through your neighborhood from a leaking septic tank and it’s causing multiple health and environmental risks to inhabitants? Who cares if jus outside your window there’s a pile of crap and dangerous looking stuff left there by the construction site next door? Who cares if I park my car sideways and take up three reserved spaces? Who cares if the roads are not lit properly causing accidents and who gives a damn if they build a power plant next to your neighborhood?
Answer: NO ONE CARES.
How about service.
You know like customer service?
Why is it impossible to find good customer service here? You would think with all this money and having hundreds of employees in one store that there would be at LEAST one person who knows something. But no. That’s just too much to ask for. And how about when you want to return something and they give you just a plastic card instead of money back? And then you go all the way to the other shop it works in only to realize they FORGOT to charge it. That is like someone handing you an empty cardboard box when you thought you were in fact purchasing a coffee machine. And then when you go back to show them their mistake you are not allowed to even return the EMPTY BOX.
So you go back to the original store (which btw is H&M in this case) with your empty card and the guy has to do the whole thing over again. Then another customer service killer expert comes in and suddenly tells you in a very rude manner that the items you’ve just successfully returned, cannot suddenly be accepted anymore. Because of policy he says.
The first customer service hero did not know. So now you end up being forced to take the things back as well as your pathetic few riyals on the ridiculous plastic card which at this point you want to shove down the manager’s throat. Off you go after spending three hours with this disservice. At home you realize the dimwit manager stole your receipt and the rest of the stuff on it cannot therefore be exchanged. EVER. What would H&M headquarters in Sweden for example say to this “service”?
Answer: They would fire these incompetent rude idiots.
That reminds me.
I was trying to bake some Finnish cinnamon rolls also known as pulla the other day for a visit. We didn’t have milk. But only in Saudi does this become a huge logistical issue. Obviously I’m not allowed to drive. Not even going to start on that one. Second, there’s no supermarkets nearby I could walk to. Third, people don’t walk anywhere, not even a 30 meters distance can be done without a car so there’s no sidewalks or safe areas to walk on, IF I had somewhere to walk to. Fourth, I don’t have a driver so I need to sit at home like a duck waiting for my husband to bring the milk after work. But he forgot and had to go somewhere else.
SO now what? Pulla needs to be ready in few hours. My husband has genius idea, he orders the milk from the small store and the Indian moped dude brings it over to me. Problem #5. I have no cash. Husband says it’s not an issue.
Ok so dude arrives at door. I open and see the milk on the ground in front of me. I confirm with him that they agreed husband will stop by later to pay for the milk. He had a sudden change of mind. No ma’m BIG problem! I say no problem! This goes on for a while. I start feeling desperate and decide to snatch the milk from the ground. As I reach for it he tries to take it from my hands which should be a huge no-no here, to touch a woman like that.
I panic and slam the door closed. OOPS. I just sort of stole milk. Meanwhile the dude goes crazy, bangs on the door, shouts and rings the doorbell for at least half an hour. For SIX riyals. He could be a psychopath killer and I have just set him off. Imagine the headlines: Finnish woman killed In Saudi over milk bottle.
I start baking and realize that just because they don’t allow women to drive I just had to go through this crap. How utterly ridiculous.
Why are we not allowed to drive again? Why are women forced to be nearly killed rather than drive to the supermarket, HUH???
Take a look at these pics:
Ladies and gentleman this is professional Saudi service at its finest. Words cannot describe my irritation when I saw this in our new apartment.
Did you blast it with dynamite?
Can someone pass me the rifle?
Have you not painted a freakin wall before? You’re supposed to remove the nails and smooth out the holes, not paint around them! If you’re painting in a room full of furniture at least cover it or better yet take it to the nearby empty room! Don’t use furniture to climb and stand on and don’t scratch it! Don’t you have your own freakin ladder or something? And for the love of God don’t place the dirty items on the sofa when you’re done! Did you think it was placed there for your convenience! I bet you took a nap on it too! When you’re done clean up and air the room!
Ugh. And then last but not least. Saudi postal services. What freakin SERVICES? Took you two months to send a couple of freakin postcards by EXPRESS mail to Finland. WAY TO GO. Yeah, I know why. You’re too busy sampling all the chocolates and other candies and reading through the women’s magazines on your sugar high. I bet you took those ripped off pages from my health magazine home.
Saudi professional thieves and terminators I would say! Every single time I get a package from Finland you must snatch something or destroy something in it. You think you’re clever huh? You think I don’t notice when you take out something that has an actual packing list to go with it? You bastards.
How dare you open my long awaited special 300g Finnish chocolate bar and munch on it and then PUT IT BACK IN half-eaten?
And btw the last item you STOLE was not real gold you chocolate monster. It’s kids play money. You thought I wouldn’t know my sister sent me three bags instead of two? WRONG.
I hope you almost choked on the Finnish salty licorice when you thought it’s chocolate.
Next time at least get rid of the evidence and throw away the empty wrappers.
And look what you missed from my latest package!
See that there? WINE gum. congratulations. You have just allowed something that says “WINE” into Saudi-Arabia! So much for the censorship! You should have at least blacked out the word WINE, just like you black out the word pork on other products and women’s arms legs cleavages and faces on my magazines.
As we would say in Finland: “Break yourself into small pieces”.
That is all for now folks. Excuse my language. I’m off to bed.
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Hello there, I’m Laura, the author of Blue Abaya, the first travel blog in Saudi Arabia established in 2010. I’ve been traveling around and exploring Saudi Arabia since 2008.
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