secret-lake-desert-riyadh ccLast weekend we visited one of my favorite spots in the desert just outside of Riyadh, a beautiful place I have coined the “Secret Lake”. Secret, because not so many people seem to know of the existence of such a hidden gem so close to Riyadh, which I think is actually for the better. Unfortunately many of the most popular, picturesque picnic and camping areas have been ruined by litter! One such example is another desert lake, Lake Kharrarah at the Red Sand dunes, which on the weekends hosts half of Riyadh for a picnic!

But not the Secret lake..not many people know about its location, which I think is good for protecting the nature of the area. Many places in Riyadh sadly have been destroyed because of influx of too much traffic, people visiting and littering the places. To keep the location generally “secret“, I won’t post the coordinates and map publicly. I would not want the destruction of Secret Lake on my shoulders.

 UPDATE 2018 April: Someone has burned the forest at the Secret Lake and all the trees have been destroyed. There has not been enough rain this year and the lake is dry as of April 2018. 

Back to the story about our visit to the Secret Lake in November 2012. During our previous trip to this amazing desert oasis in May 2012, the lake still had deep water in it. Surprisingly there was so much water that sea weed and even fish were living in it. I was amazed by this tranquil and green place midst the harsh dry landscape. The area seems like the last place you would ever find water in! The first time I visited Secret Lake was back in 2009 and it still looks pretty much the same, untouched by mass loads of picnic goers and trash.

However, when we visited the lake in November 2012, most of the water had dried up and in the lake’s place was a beautiful green meadow full of flowers. At the end of the lake there’s large green willows growing very tall reeds. A cacophony of birds and frogs can be heard there but mostly not seen.

These kinds of temporary desert lakes form after heavy rainfalls, normally occurring during the winter months. Because the surrounding area is so arid, all the rainwater flushes down the dry hills into the valleys, from where it travels to the lowest grounds forming seasonal lakes such as this one.


 green desert lake riyadh

The wind blows softly through the reeds, swishing them back and forth. It looks like waves in the ocean.The sound is so peaceful, so calming.

I could stare at it for hours and not get bored!

Delicate like little snowflakes.

My friend Mandi who writes the blog Under the Abaya came with us and I’m so glad she enjoyed the trip despite the lack of water! After our little picnic we decided to climb up the hill to catch a better view of the lake.

My husband watched the babies next to the area we found water at, while Mandi and I made our way up the hill like nimble mountain gazelles (not).

A small sign of life peaking through from the rocks.

 It was very quiet and we were now the only people there.

The sun was setting behind the hills and the light started to color the valley first a golden hew and then a beautiful pink color.

The view from the top is beautiful!

Mandi making her way down. Be careful of the loose rocks especially when coming down.

This area is rich in fossils because it used to be the bottom of the ocean some 50 million years ago. I found this rock which I call the “caterpillar fossil”.

The dried up river bed. We were in a hurry to leave the site shortly after sunset because it becomes very difficult to drive here in the dark. We had such a lovely time despite the lake being dried up! When we visited in November the winter rains had not come in yet and it had been a really hot summer, so that might explain the drying up of such a huge amount of water.
P.S You’d definitely need a SUV to reach the location because the roads are in terrible condition. With a normal car you’d be looking at a 1-2 km walk to the lake from where you must leave the car, which is not at all bad when the weather is nice!
PLEASE take all trash away with you! Please protect the Secret Lake and leave nothing else behind than your footprints.

UPDATE: Available now the ebook guide to the Secret Lake with GPS- coordinates, maps, directions and more!

UPDATE: January 24th, 2016. Lake is full of deep, clear water! 

UPDATE February 19th 2016 Lake is still full of deep blue crystal clear water.

UPDATE: December 2016: There is water in the lake following November rains.


UPDATE 2018 April: There has not been enough rain this year to fill up the lake and it’s currently completely dried out. There’s also been a fire at the forest part and sadly all the trees have been burned down.

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  • NikkianaDecember 17, 2012 - 1:04 am

    Wow! That place looks really beautiful. Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Umm AbudiDecember 17, 2012 - 5:44 am

    Jazakillah khair! This is a beautiful place! My family is always on the lookout for new picnic places…we’ll try to go here this weekend, inshaAllah. (Don’t worry, we won’t leave any litter behind :) )ReplyCancel

    • LaylahDecember 22, 2012 - 11:00 pm

      Umm Abudi- enjoy it and leave only footprints :)ReplyCancel

  • JennyDecember 17, 2012 - 4:32 am

    What an incredible place! I loved the pictures of the different plants and how they changed through the dried up lake bed. The desert is amazing.ReplyCancel

  • JennyDecember 17, 2012 - 4:34 am

    What an incredible place! I loved the pictures of the different plants that thrived in this unique setting.ReplyCancel

  • flawlessvelvetDecember 21, 2012 - 1:46 am

    How long does it take to get there?ReplyCancel

    • LaylahDecember 22, 2012 - 10:59 pm

      About 30 minutes from DQReplyCancel

  • NoorDecember 24, 2012 - 4:38 pm

    Wow its so pretty I want to go there so bad.ReplyCancel

  • NoorDecember 24, 2012 - 4:38 pm

    You go girl lova ya!ReplyCancel

  • bigstickDecember 27, 2012 - 7:54 pm


    Great pictures.

    Have a happy Winter Solstice and New Year. :)


  • The Secret Eye of L.A.Y.L.A.H. |September 5, 2013 - 1:21 pm

    […] Blue Abaya: The Secret Lake […]ReplyCancel

  • Mohannad zidaneSeptember 8, 2013 - 10:19 am

    That’s really beautiful place. Could you tell us where is it exactly?ReplyCancel

  • TusharJanuary 24, 2014 - 9:59 pm

    Dear Layla, Thanks to your excellent directions we found the secret lake. Its really amazing. It was full of water as it rained a lot this year. We recommend going there before it becomes too hot and the lake dries. Thanks again.ReplyCancel

    • LaylaJanuary 25, 2014 - 10:21 am

      Wonderful!! Thank you for the feedback and letting us know there’s water in it :)ReplyCancel

  • Mohammad AmmarJanuary 25, 2014 - 9:45 pm

    Please share the GPS coordinates

  • TusharJanuary 27, 2014 - 7:30 pm

    Dear Layla,
    I have got some real good pictures of the lake full with water. How can I share it with your blog? We also want to tell you that we left no litter there and also request others visiting there to do the same. Pl carry back your litter and preserve the beauty of the lake.:)ReplyCancel

    • LaylaJanuary 27, 2014 - 10:20 pm

      if you want you could email them to me, or I can post them on the Facebook page too :)ReplyCancel

      • jhunexSeptember 28, 2015 - 12:50 am

        Dear Layla,

        We would to go to this secret lake.. how can we find the location? please help us. thank u.

        please email me the location.ReplyCancel

    • FaizMay 4, 2015 - 9:50 am

      Can u please provide the GPS Co-ordinates for this lake….ReplyCancel

  • Nur Qyyum NgApril 5, 2014 - 7:52 pm

    Visited this place today…. I can only say “MASYAALLAH … BEAUTIFUL!!”…. we finally found the place after almost 2 hours search….
    we followed your direction… The 3 forks road before reaching the lake has become 2 forks…. :)
    that was where we kind of got “lost” but never giving up…. Alhamdullilah, we found it….
    thank you Layla…ReplyCancel

  • Wael HJanuary 8, 2015 - 9:59 am

    Can you please post the GPS in Google map the please.

    Thanks for sharing :)ReplyCancel

  • Ten Beautiful Places to Discover in the Desert » Blue AbayaJanuary 26, 2015 - 12:36 am

    […] and sometimes even a small waterfall can be spotted there. There is a lesser known location, a Secret Lake, which has very deep water and even fish in it, located also just outside of the city. The lake […]ReplyCancel

  • FebNovember 2, 2015 - 11:23 am

    Hi, Can i get the GPS coordinates please ?ReplyCancel

  • tyamustaphaNovember 24, 2015 - 9:18 pm

    Hi im new here in riyadh working as a nurse in kamc. Where should i start my travelling around ksa? I always wanted to go out but i dont know many places round here. . ??ReplyCancel

    • Laura of ArabiaNovember 25, 2015 - 1:58 pm

      Start by doing the closer stuff around Riyadh, for example Ushaiger Heritage village :)ReplyCancel

  • sufyanDecember 18, 2015 - 1:21 am

    Please share co-ordinates for this location , i am pretty confusedReplyCancel

  • Arabian LauraJanuary 16, 2016 - 3:12 pm

    Downloadable ebook coming soon where you will get all that info from, stay tuned!ReplyCancel

    • NanditaFebruary 3, 2016 - 11:46 am


      Plasee could you give us the location – would like a vist this weekend if possible. TksReplyCancel

  • Arabian LauraFebruary 7, 2016 - 11:44 pm

    Hi Sufyan!

    The Ebook guide I wrote about the Secret lake will give you clear directions, maps and gps coordinates, so you don’t have to be confused anymore :)ReplyCancel

  • […] known amazing place in Saudi Arabia is this Riyadh Hidden Gem: The Secret Lake For more amazing places to see in Saudi Arabia click here! Experienced and […]ReplyCancel

    • BertApril 25, 2016 - 1:44 pm

      Nice try Rakan but it is not the correct location. I’ve been there and it is one of beautiful hidden places to visit with crossover 2×4 car can do at the moment (my yaris car did it sometime ago before the flood). We found frogs & fishes when we went there but unfortunately I cant say or post the location cause it will never be a secret no more.ReplyCancel

      • Arabian LauraApril 27, 2016 - 10:54 pm

        Thank you Bert for the comment, and you’re right. Posting the location publicly is a sure fire way to ruin the experience for everyone.
        That’s why I have protected the location for 4 years now since I wrote about it.

  • William HurleyJanuary 13, 2018 - 11:16 am

    We followed the detailed directions in the guidebook to the Secret Lake yesterday. Thank you so much for developing them. I wanted to provide an update.
    The lake was DRY on 12 January 2018, but our group & children had great fun hiking & picnicking in the dry lake bed.
    The road to the lake has become a dumping ground for construction waste alongside the road, but the area around the lake remains relatively clean & private.
    Thank you again for your wonderful blog & guidebook.ReplyCancel

    • LauraJanuary 15, 2018 - 12:21 am

      Thank you so much William, for purchasing the Secret Lake ebook and providing us with this detailed update! Yes this year has been a very dry year unfortunately it has not formed a lake but the place is beautiful as you mentioned. Let’s hope for more rains soon and you could visit again to see it with water too :)

      Best regards


  • RiaNovember 13, 2018 - 12:02 pm


    I hope you are doing great. I and my husband both are fan of your blog. Love reading it before planning any trip :).

    We really want to go and visit this place and couldn’t find ebook guide. Page not found. Can you please share the location of this secret lake? I would really appreciate it. Thank youReplyCancel

    • LauraNovember 13, 2018 - 12:06 pm

      I’ve taken the guidebook offline because the place got destroyed by too many people visiting, hiking groups started going there and trash was everywhere. when I was there last March someone even burned down the forest. So I don’t want to encourage anyone to go there the place needs to recover.ReplyCancel

      • OliviaDecember 9, 2020 - 2:17 pm

        Hi! I’ve been looking for places to visit in Riyadh and I just came across your blog. Have you visited the lake recently? I would love to visit this place.ReplyCancel

        • LauraAugust 2, 2021 - 6:56 pm

          It was ruined with rubbish after too many people and hiking roups started going there. Also this year not enough rain.ReplyCancel

The Blue Abaya blog recently won gold at the Expats Blog Awards 2012! Woohoo!! I am so thrilled! A huge big shout out and thank you for each and every one of you who voted.

I want to take the chance to thank all the readers and fans out there for all the amazing support and positive feedback you’ve given me during the years. I’m really touched and even a bit overwhelmed with the blog love you’ve shared!

Saudi Arabia expat blogs</a>

When I started blogging in 2010 I never thought (or wanted) my blog would become popular or win any awards, so that makes this extra special for me. I just wanted to share my experiences and spread some much needed positivity into the Saudi blogosphere. Soon I noticed writing made me feel good and it became a sort of outlet to my creative side so I continued.

Today, as a mom of two under two year olds, I barely have time to sit down anymore. I often feel frustrated and have so many ideas on my mind it seems like I’m going to explode if I don’t get to somehow express myself! I also have heap loads of photos waiting for watermarking and editing. There’s so many places I visited that I want to let people know about! Events I want to attend and then share my experiences about..

Blogging takes so much of my time it has started to feel like a job. If not full-time, then at least part time. The only difference from a “real” job is that I don’t get paid. But positive and encouraging feedback keeps me motivated and keep giving me reason to continue!

Some readers might remember a while back I wrote a humorous post exposing some hate comments called Blog Hate Mail: Hall Of Shame.

Thank God 99% of the feedback is positive and I’ve been told once you have people stalking your blog and writing anonymous offensive comments that means you’ve really made it. LOL I’m not sure if I agree with that observation, I think they’re just people with empty lives and nothing else to do!

I have decided to make a quick compilation of some of the blog love Blue Abaya has received during the years along with some of my favorite shots from around the Magic Kingdom..
Some of these comments were left on the Expats Blog page and others on various posts on Blue Abaya. I appreciate all comments, please keep them coming!

Here is the Blue Abaya Blog Fan Mail: Hall of Fame

“I love your blog, it makes me laugh at work when all I want to do is take cover. I find it witty, intelligent and extremely resourceful. I must admit that I often come here on a daily basis to check if there is something new. My advice to you is to keep writing as you are clearly blessed to be able to write so well. It would be haram if you were to stop.
Lotsa love and encouragement always,”

“Thanks for your wonderful blog. I lived in the kingdom for 9 years 77-86 and was a journalist for Arab News. Your blog helps me keep up with the changes–important for me as I frequently speak on the kingdom”
-Jean Grant author of Burning Veil

Seriously, I thought my life ended after I moved to Riyadh this Summer, but after discovering your blog today, I realised there is so much fun to be discovered! So thanks so much for that (: Also, after a bit of reading, I can safely assure you that you’re aMazING! Eeek, I love what you write! Your positive tone, unwavering Eemaan, and refreshing outlook on life has presented Saudi to me in a whole new perspective.” 
~ IrishTeen

“You should write a book! seriously i would buy it asap you writing skills are intriguing and I’m sure you have so many stories to tell. Ever thought about it? You’ll give Jean Sasoon and her false stories a run for her money.”

“I’ve noticed that you surely use a LOT of time and work hard to create your posts. Your blog is so informative and rich, showing KSA from a different and thus interesting perspective. And the photos make it feel just like a free holiday in a country where I’ve never visited.

Anyway, keep up the good work, Laylah! The fact that someone plagiarizes you only proves that your blog is very good. ;)”


“I love your blog so much, I am from Canada and find it so interesting hearing a “western” view of the very different country of Saudi Arabia. I find it funny to see that the women in Saudi Arabia find Western women as interesting as I find them. If I could I would like to go to Saudi as you have described a very positive interesting and beautiful place. Keep on telling it the way it is as I look forward to reading your blog…I have read every post!!

-LauraLee from Canada

“you are the best example to follow and learn from .. Don’t give up. You bring up a high ratios of people via your style of writing, the correct beautiful words & eloquence, thank you for everything …I am sure that you will be rewarded for changing this world to better..”


“I spent more than a year in Riyadh struggling with the culture shock before I accidentally found Blue Abaya’s blog. It made me understand, be more aware, and laugh. It opened my eyes to see the positives in KSA and see the humor in the negatives. I look forward to each blog; it’s a family event for us to read the new blog together, laugh together, then discuss it. THANK YOU Layla!”


“When I moved to Riyadh from the US two years ago I was in culture shock and very depressed to be in such a foreign and strange place. Blue abayas blogposts helped me cope with the craziness and look at the negativity of this country from a different light. Layla put humour and sarcasm in such bizarre situations that made me only laugh and actually look fwd to hear about more experiences … Everyday is a new experience in Ksa…  Love ya Layla hope u win!”


“This blogs makes you believe that ‘LIFE’ do exists in KSA :)”

-Mohammad Ali Sohail

“The best and the most interesting blog I have read so far. Talented writing about important topics in KSA and the writer has great sense of humor as well. Also the photos of the blog are amazing.”


“By far the best Saudi expat blog! Blue Abaya gives true insight on the pleasures and hardships of being an expatriate (woman) in Saudi Arabia, all the while maintaining a great sense of humor. This blog has had great impact on me personally, as well. I discovered it a year before moving to the Kingdom and started following it faithfully, as each post gave me courage and reduced my anxiety about moving to this foreign land. Not only that, but it inspired me to create my own expat blog. Thank you Blue Abaya, keep up the amazing work! :)”


 “Blue abaya’s style of writing is witty and funny, she candidly describes exactly the same frustrations, trials and tribulations ex pats face living in the kingdom, she tells it so well! Keep up the good work!”

-Umm Hassan

“Laylah tells us her real and personal experience inSaudi and that is why I love her blog. Although I may not totally agree with everything but she is one of the rare expats who truly embraces a different culture and doesnt complain too much hehe. She has a positive outlook on life and hat is how everyone should live be it in KSA or USA. Love you Laylah”
-Umm Gamar

“Blue Abaya gives a wonderful insight into Saudi Arabian culture and isn’t afraid of being critical. It is always a pleasure to visit her blog because there is always something new and interesting to discover.”
“I nominated Blue Abaya for a listing and an award because it presents a real slice of life in SA, plus the photos are beautiful and Laylah is honest and insightful. Her photo journal at is also amazing. I don’t have much time, but I always make a point to stop in. You should, too.”

“Her blog opened new worlds and countries(Finnland, Saudi Arabia) to me, and reading differences and similarity brought me to be a person to adapt and accept differences in my own life as well. I love the way she expresses her experiences.”


 saudi female tourists souk

“I am an avid fan…as others stated before, you have a unique style of communicating…open, funny and honest. I also live the experiences though your blog even though I have been living in KSA a number of years, guess am not as keen or adventurous…so it is fun to visit all the places from the comfort of my home LOL keep on blogging!”


“Laylah, just wanted to say that I adore your blog and check in a couple times each week to see if you’ve posted anything new. When I first stumbled upon it I was absolutely delighted because although I’m America, my Dad’s family is from Suomi. And I’m in grad school studying the Middle East and Arabic. You offer unique observations and help demystify Saudi. I even cited your blog for my undergraduate thesis about modernity in Saudi Arabia. Keep it up and let the haters hate!”


If only, every culture around the world would have a Laylah.”


“I’ve been a reader for a while now and every time I come to your blog it amazes me. Your stories are interesting yet different compared to many other blogs, and at the same time your writings are honest, but Oh, for Pete’s Sake, you do your best trying to be fair. Afterall we Finns know a little bit about honesty, or at least we are supposed to. I don’t think many readers can get this. 

I know it’s hard to get accustomed to a new country and their traditions and cultural settings. I’ve been thru that too. But you coming from Finland to KSA. I don’t think I could have done that. Too many restrictions, but yet you seem to look at the glass half full! Keep on writing! 
Blue Abaya is a fantastic blog. The writing is entertaining, honest, and compassionate. The pictures are excellent, and the mood and feel of the blog transport me. I love the mix of cultures— glimpses of Finland and views of the Desert and real life in Saudi Arabia. It’s one of my very favorite blogs.

Thank you all for the blog love!

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  • sohaDecember 10, 2012 - 9:46 am

    Hi there, I’d love to help! What do you have in mind?ReplyCancel

    • LaylahDecember 15, 2012 - 6:22 pm

      Thank you soha sooooo much for the offer!! Well for starters I need help with watermarking the photos and then I need to change the tabs on the top and redo the sidebar :)Could you help with those?
      could you pls email me? princesslaylah@rocketmail.comReplyCancel

  • Susie of ArabiaDecember 10, 2012 - 10:55 am

    Congratulations on winning the Expats Blog awards! I have loved your blog since the start. You are so open about your experiences and have a way of injecting humor and sarcasm that has had me in stitches many times. Your photos too are amazing – it does get difficult to choose favorites and with this post you have compiled a fabulous variety of slices of life from Saudi Arabia. I’m so happy we have become cyber friends through the internet – Keep on blogging! My very best wishes to you always!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahDecember 15, 2012 - 6:16 pm

      Thank you Susie! I really appreciate it and I’m so happy to be your cyber friend as well :)

  • IreneDecember 10, 2012 - 11:30 am

    Congratulations!!! I was sure it would go to you :)
    Keep up the amazing work!
    Oh, and I have to say, I’m glad I made it to your hall of fame :PReplyCancel

    • LaylahDecember 15, 2012 - 6:04 pm

      Hi Irene and thanks for the comments :)ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousDecember 10, 2012 - 10:10 am

    Congrats! Alf Mabrouk! Well deserved!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahDecember 15, 2012 - 6:17 pm

      Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • HeliDecember 10, 2012 - 1:16 pm

    Onnittelut! Seuraan aika montaa expat-blogia, ja tämä on kyllä aivan kirkkaasti kärjessä. Mielenkiintoisia juttuja ja näkökulmia sekä upeita kuvia :)ReplyCancel

    • LaylahDecember 15, 2012 - 6:03 pm

      Kiitos tosi paljon Heli :)ReplyCancel

  • mizyénaDecember 10, 2012 - 10:33 am

    Wau!! Mabrouk Sisko voitosta!!!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahDecember 15, 2012 - 6:17 pm

      kiitos mizyena!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousDecember 10, 2012 - 10:50 am

    Congratulations you deserve it!!
    Good idea about the advertising you need to look at it from the viewpoint of readers,it will benefit them as well.
    Keep it going.

    • LaylahDecember 15, 2012 - 6:17 pm

      Hi Joy thanks!!ReplyCancel

  • Umm GamarDecember 10, 2012 - 10:54 am

    Yahoo you won!Congrats dear, u deserved it!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahDecember 15, 2012 - 6:16 pm

      Thanks Umm Gamar!ReplyCancel

  • miolannDecember 10, 2012 - 11:36 am

    Congratulations!!! The blog lovers speak the truth. I love this blog too!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahDecember 15, 2012 - 6:03 pm

      Hey there miolann, thanks!ReplyCancel

  • IldiDecember 10, 2012 - 6:45 pm

    Congratulations again Laylah! Thank you so much you posted my comment! :D I love this anon’s comment “”If only, every culture around the world would have a Laylah.”
    You deserved this honour so much! Keep writing! Thank you dear!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahDecember 15, 2012 - 6:03 pm

      Thanks Ildi!ReplyCancel

  • ربة منزلDecember 11, 2012 - 6:21 am

    Mabrouk Layla!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahDecember 15, 2012 - 6:02 pm


  • sessiDecember 11, 2012 - 3:39 pm

    Hiphei! Onnea, ihan mahtava juttu!

    • LaylahDecember 15, 2012 - 6:02 pm

      Moikka Seikku kiitti :)ReplyCancel

  • NestiiDecember 11, 2012 - 5:38 pm

    Congratulations! I love Your blog:)ReplyCancel

    • LaylahDecember 15, 2012 - 6:02 pm

      Hi Nestii! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • julieDecember 12, 2012 - 8:56 pm

    Congratulations Layla on a very well deserved award…although I do not live in KSA, I relate to almost all of what you write about….even in Dubai, a lot of what you write about happens, I can assure you!Being an expat woman (especially) in a Middle Eastern country has its own set of challenges, frustrations and joys….please keep posting..I love to read about your insights into life in KSA.
    Julie, DubaiReplyCancel

    • LaylahDecember 15, 2012 - 6:01 pm

      Hi Julie, thanks! Dubai seems so civilized and organized to me compared to KSA, haing just returned from a week long holiday there..many things are WAY better over there, you’re lucky :)ReplyCancel

  • OrangeJammiesDecember 12, 2012 - 10:29 pm

    Hello from California! Loved the pictures in this post and had to tell you that. :)ReplyCancel

    • LaylahDecember 15, 2012 - 6:00 pm

      H OrangeJAmmies and thank you for the comment!ReplyCancel

  • Umm TimoDecember 14, 2012 - 10:14 am

    Loved all the pictures! Where and what is the name of the beach with the white boat? The one underneath the comment from Rubear? Thanks.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahDecember 15, 2012 - 6:00 pm

      Umm Timo-thanks!it’s from the Farasan islands an uninhabited island.ReplyCancel

  • LaylahDecember 15, 2012 - 6:02 pm

    Thanks Miu!ReplyCancel

  • AuraJanuary 4, 2013 - 10:10 am

    Thank you so much for including my comment in this post! :) Lovely photos again, and you so deserved the gold medal! I know you are busy with your babies and all, but I hope you will never stop writing this blog. I wish you luck and hope you will reach your aims. Once you open that abaya shop, I will buy one from you ;) Onnellista uutta vuotta 2013!ReplyCancel

  • daveMay 1, 2016 - 6:48 am

    Good workReplyCancel

You’ve probably heard about the crappy customer service in Saudi-Arabia before. Disservice, un-service, no service, customernoservice..WHAT service?

To give you a better idea of how things work (or don’t work) in the Magic Kingdom, read this experience with SAMSUNG Saudi Arabia customer services. More specifically Samsung in Riyadh and their washing machine maintenance and repairs. UPDATE: Since this post was published, I’ve tried posting it numerous times on Samsung Saudi Arabia’s Facebook page, Samsung KSA on Twitter and every time instead of someone contacting me and apologizing (at the least), the Samsung people have just deleted my comments! And then blocked me too. Same happened to friends who tried to post on Samsung KSA social media accounts complaining about their service. I think they owe us a new machine after putting us through living a month without a washing machine, with a newborn baby and a 1,5 year old, and both babies sick with vomiting and diarrhea.

Sometimes I’m lost for words when describing these things. It makes my head hurt and I can feel how my brain cells are slowly dying from trying to handle the ultimate stupidity. I try not to think about it too much in fear of permanent brain damage.

Let me tell you that writing this post literally made me sweat in agony. Experiencing this in real life however was something else altogether. The customer service here can only really be understood by someone who has had the “privilege” to experience it.
Like those moments when you called the plumber to come “plumb” something, he comes and pours water on it and says “ma’m it’s plumbed”.

Read our ordeal with our broken Samsung washer-dryer.

The Curious Case of Samsung Godfathers and Washing Machine Eating Mice of Saudi Arabia 

28th October

Our a little bit over a year old Samsung washing machine breaks. An error message appears on the computer screen when the machine tries to start rinsing cycle. I inform my husband. We suspect a problem with the drain or filter. Husband calls plumber and cleans filter.

29th October

Plumber arrives, checks drains. Pours water in them. “Kulu kweis. Mafi mushkila.”
Husband calls Samsung maintenance service telling them our machine is broken. They promise to send “someone”.

1st November

The first Samsung maintenance dude arrives. Cannot diagnose problem, finds no issues, machine appears to be working when he checks. Note he checks the machine with no laundry in it. DUH!
An hour after his “check-up” I run a cycle of laundry, it happens again, husband calls him to come back. Dude says he will come back Saturday and order the spare parts to fix the computer board. As if the problem is in the computer screen itself and not the actual machine. Silly me for thinking that when an error message appears, it means there’s a problem somewhere else. The maintenance dude naturally knows what he is doing right. RIGHT?

8th November

After about 192 calls to Samsung that week the same dude finally comes and changes the computer board. They test it, now with laundry inside (which my husband insisted to put in) and it seems to work. Charged 700 SAR for all this.

9th November

I start doing laundry. The same freakin problem comes up and I scream a little bit inside. I am starting to have a huge pile of laundry by now. The laundry room has started to stink.
Husband calls Samsung and says the machine is broken again. “We will send someone” they say.

11th November

The someone comes after about 36 phone calls to Samsung asking when is mr. Someone coming.
He tries to check the machine, opens up the backdoor and takes some wire out.

Diagnosis: The lock and the computer board has to be changed. 
Excuse me? Samsung dude #1 already fixed it and we paid for it.
Dude #2 says when dude #1 changed the computer board he should have also changed the lock because if he doesn’t they’re both going to break. 
OK so you’re telling me he kind of un-fixed it? Like, as in BROKE it more?
Dude #2 leaves saying he has to now order the spare parts from somewhere (maybe somebody will hand carry them from China, on a donkey?)

12th-13th November

Husband calls Samsung, nobody knows anything.
Laundry room has now started to seriously stink. Stink as in MOLD, MILDEW stink.  Plumber comes. Says the nasty smell is coming because we’re not using the washing machine which normally would flush the drains. Pours water on drain, leaves.
Thank you Samsung for the lovely TOXIC home odors.

14th November

The same dude comes back again after a few days with a co-dude. They change the computer and the lock. Next he cannot locate the wire which he had removed the first time for reasons not understandable to people with logic. (try looking in your arse perhaps? ) After an hour searching an area of about 3 square meters they finally relocate the mysterious wire. Dude #2 puts the thing back in.

Machine does not work.

Another two hours goes by and either dude #2 or #3 can figure out what’s actually wrong with the machine.
“Too much work, can’t be done here” he says. “we need to take it to the workshop“.
Husband says sure, take it. “Oh but we don’t have a car big enough to transport things in.”

Wait a second, WHAT? You’re telling me you’re a maintenance dude for SAMSUNG which mostly makes large home appliances such as washing machines and refrigerators, and you drive around in what? A Morris Mini or a Toyota Corolla? Somebody please tell me this is a joke right?
They leave and say “someone” will call you tomorrow.

For transporting washing machines in Saudi Arabia.

15th November

Big surprise! No news from Samsung! Husband gets upset and refers to Samsung customer service as “piece of crap”. He calls them to schedule a pick up. Samsung Riyadh say next available appointment is following Monday. This is totally unacceptable after waiting two weeks already and especially after the unprofessional maintenance disservice. Husband demands to talk to manager. “No manager here sir”. Husband asks to leave a message for the manager to call him on Saturday.
The smell of mold in the laundry room is getting stronger and stronger. Plumber arrives. Pours water in drains and also on the floors. Smell of mold then spreads to entire apartment.
Toddler is now down with a bad flu and vomiting all over the place.

17th November

Saturday rolls along.
Husband receives SMS from Samsung Saudi call center saying your appointment has been CANCELLED. Husband goes nuts. Is now referring to Samsung maintenance as “piece of s**t”.
Calls Samsung, asking for maintenance manager. The employees at call center are all Saudi females with the same default replies:
“we don’t have a maintenance manager, only a call center manager”
 “we can only reach the manager by email” 
“I will send the manager an email and he will get back to you”
So to reach these mysterious managers (all Saudis of course), who seem to enjoy the status similar to some sort of untouchable, unreachable “mafia Godfathers”, the call center ladies have to send emails.

Nobody knows where these “Godfathers” are located or what they look like.

The Samsung Godfather then either gets back to you, or doesn’t, depending on his mood or how busy he is with his other ahem, “businesses”.

Later that day, the phone rings. Lo and behold, it’s the SAMSUNG Godfather. He listens to my husbands complaints and promises to call back. The Godfather named Raed Al-Something NEVER calls back. He probably got busy smoking cigars or just didn’t bother.
The toddler is very sick now, vomit and diarrhea is everywhere, no washing machine. Funtimes!

18th-21st November

Husband calls Samsung customer service call center everyday, over and over. Same monotonous replies from the call girls. No signs from Godfather.
Baby is still sick.
Plumber arrives to “flush the drains”. This time is met by crazy Finnish woman who tells him some facts about plumbing, drains, mold, moisture and health. After the Plumbing-101 quick course the plumber laughs in disbelief but does what the woman instructs him and opens the drain up. He tries to remove the mold and then pours Chlorox in the drains. The smell is gone but is replaced with dangerous chemicals.

21st November

Fed up and furious, husband decides to locate the secret office of the Godfather. He goes to the Riyadh Samsung maintenance manager in person on Wednesday morning. Husband is now referring to Samsung customer service as piece of *#%#  s**t”.
The Godfather, Mr. Raed Al-Hamaad is smoking cigars in his office when husband enters. It is hard to see the Godfather from all the smoke in the room. The Godfather seems very pre-occupied and doesn’t look up from his computer screen the entire while husband rants about our situation. He only nods and writes something down. I guess he was busy reading emails.

The same day around 2 pm someone calls saying he’s on the way to pick the machine up. Really? Could this be it finally? Did the Godfather push some buttons?

The Samsung dude #4 asks for directions and husband explains the way to Diplomatic Quarters. The dude does not know where it is. The hero gets lost and calls husband. They try to figure out where the dude #4 he hasn’t the slightest clue where he is. Husband spends the next hour on and off the phone trying to locate the hopeless case. The Samsung dude is Yemeni so his understanding of Arabic is not the problem.

It’s 4 pm now and we do not know where he is nor does he know where he is, other than it’s bound to be somewhere in Riyadh. Husband asks the Samsung dude to stop somewhere on the side of the road and give the phone to someone around him. He does this and then husband tells the random person on the road that this clueless dimwit needs to be sent into the DQ. Turns out the dude was right next to the gate all along but didn’t realize (or know how to read).

A stubborn camel would’ve made it from the SAMSUNG store into DQ by this time.

Husband specifically instructs the samsung dude what to say when entering at the gate and IF the security doesn’t let him in, to STAY at the gate so husband can fetch him. It’s now nearing 5pm and there’s no sign of the dude, husband calls 15 times in a row before he finally picks up.


Turns out the Godfather had not sent one of his official men but an Iqama-less random Yemeni dude to us. Which the gate security naturally turned away. Husband is now referring to Samsung customer service as “%$#@ piece of *#%# s**t”.

22nd November

Husband leaves to Samsung store to kill people but on the way there Mr Someone calls him says we are on the way. They actually come, make it inside the gate and have a big enough car to take the machine. “A few days”, they say.
Newborn baby is now sick. Smell of mold still lingering in the house. Smelly laundry in the baskets and on the floors.

Plumber comes and says “you need a washing machine”. You don’t say??

24th November

Saturday rolls around again, husband calls and Samsung says tomorrow, inshallah. We’ve all heard that before. The next day it’s still being fixed. Same thing the next day.

27th November

Without asking if anybody is actually home, another Samsung dude calls in the middle of the day and informs they’re on their way to bring the machine back. 
Machine arrives and the dude starts checking if it works. I tell him we need to put laundry in it and wait the entire cycle to see if it works because the problem arises when it’s full of water and clothes.
He doesn’t get it and keeps pressing on the buttons. I try to explain again, this time speaking veeryy sloooowly. Now he thinks I don’t understand how a washing machine works and starts explaining the process in full detail. I give up trying to explain and hope for the best.

Out of interest I ask him what caused the problem in the machine. He tells me it was…..

wait for it…



MOUSE.  A mouse that had chewed up the wires in the machine and gobbled them all up. EXCUSE ME? A mouse ate my washing machine?

Wait a sec..You’re telling me a mouse entered my house? A house that’s full of cats? Wouldn’t they kill the mouse before it passed by all the delicious foods awaiting in the kitchen cupboards and made its way to the irresistible washing machine wire it was craving to chew on? Would it not leave droppings and some signs of itself?

Has anyone ever heard of a washing machine eating MOUSE before? I thought so. Do mice even live in Saudi-Arabia?

samsung wahing machine eating mouse

I felt so sorry for him for not coming up with a better excuse. It might have been more convincing had he blamed at least a gerbil because I had gerbils as pets when I was a kid and boy do they know how to chew things up. But a mouse? Get real dude. So DUMB. It’s like when a seven year old comes to his parents saying “a mouse chewed up my homework”.

I have a pretty good idea who “chewed up” that wire, Shamsung!

Well at least the machine seems to be working now and I don’t know what we would’ve done without our amazing friends and neighbors who helped us do the laundry during this whole anguishing ordeal.

What words would you use to describe this service?


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  • NoorNovember 28, 2012 - 8:36 pm

    Oh man sounds like a normal day in Riyadh sadly.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousNovember 28, 2012 - 5:48 pm

    All I can say is… What a crazy ordeal! I guess the next washing machine you buy will NOT be a Samsung! Maybe the next brand name company will have better customer service, but I won’t hold my breath.Just seems to me when things break down in KSA, you are expected to just chuck it out and buy a new one…What’s the alternative??? Having to deal with poor customer service and get the run around…what can one do?Glad you finally managed to get the machine working again. Very funny ending!!!!Mouse indeed!
    Do keep posting…you have a great BLOG!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousNovember 28, 2012 - 7:40 pm

    I got pissed off just reading this…geesh!

    Teresa in AmericaReplyCancel

  • Oum SanaaNovember 28, 2012 - 11:47 pm

    I’m irritated and i have just read thisReplyCancel

  • AnonymousNovember 28, 2012 - 9:47 pm

    We’ve all been through the same ordeal, only the name of the company changes.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousNovember 28, 2012 - 9:48 pm

    Dear Laylah,

    The culprit might have been a rat … not a mouse !

  • BoxieNovember 29, 2012 - 1:52 am

    yikes, just yikes. and here i was thinking the last dealing with Walmart was bad.ReplyCancel

  • Umm SameerNovember 29, 2012 - 7:07 am

    ouffffff…….I’m having a phobia from mice or rats ! It’s ugly and awful !!! Thanks God, your washing machine is working well now.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousNovember 29, 2012 - 5:12 am

    Hilarious story – I couldn’t help but laugh, otherwise I would be crying at the injustice & frustration. Sick kids + no washing machine = grumpy mom indeed.


  • PetraNovember 29, 2012 - 7:15 am

    OMG! and I thought handling things in Turkey is sometimes difficult…I’ll never complain again here, and it is probably same with all the companies not just samsung?ReplyCancel

    • LaylahNovember 29, 2012 - 5:54 pm

      Yes it’s pretty much the same with all companies!ReplyCancel

  • Jay69November 29, 2012 - 3:10 pm

    I think you should send a copy of this post to Samsung headquarters. This is beyond ridiculous!!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousNovember 30, 2012 - 4:32 am

    LOOOOOOL i love the way you write its so witty and fun!. Girl i cannot believe you have a sense of humour after having given birth not long ago and dealing with LOADS of washing.. Amazing!.lol keep up the good work.

  • AnonymousNovember 30, 2012 - 10:37 pm

    Hahaaa, this was funny. Especially the mouse-part, I laughed outloud.
    But for curiousity, I would like to ask are you able to have these kinds of conversations in Arabic or did you talk with them in English? Just I would like to know how much you have learned Arabic while living there. :)


  • AnonymousDecember 1, 2012 - 10:00 pm

    It’s really common for rats to chew wires inside washing machine. Most likely your Samsung dude was right.ReplyCancel

  • ربة منزلDecember 1, 2012 - 10:46 pm

    Wow! You know, you have written a very detailed report that can be used against Samsung in court. Sadly, we don’t have a strong justice system in KSA or even customer care. If we did, all calls would be answered and complaints would be solved in a matter of days.
    Hope your baby feels better soon.ReplyCancel

  • bigstickDecember 3, 2012 - 6:41 am

    Hey Laylah:

    Thought I check in on you and see what you were up to. Gee, is all I can say on this one.

    I could feel my blood pressure going up after this. I don’t know if I could have been so nice.

    On the side note the mouse was cute although you probably would have known you had a mouse or two as they leave evidence.


  • GeoffDecember 3, 2012 - 10:56 am

    I think I would have used the exact same words you’re husband did! I’ve had hit or miss service, both here and in the US when it comes to maintenance. Once I find people worth a damn I make sure to take their cards and their personal numbers. The guys who fix my HVAC at home were found on the 5th time. They always get my personal call now, coffee, donuts and a $20 tip. I should tell you about the time my plane broke down on the tarmac in Riyadh…they sent us on to London on a different flight…without tickets. Try explaining THAT to the ticket agent!ReplyCancel

  • LemmyDecember 4, 2012 - 9:39 am

    He he… sorry for laughing, but this reminds me of my washing machine troubles. Back in Finland, mind you, bought a brand spanking new washing machine from Markantalo. Plug it in, hoses, wires… start… no water inside. I call up the service centre… explain to half a dozen people.. “do you have the tap open”… graaahhh… so 2 weeks before someone comes over… the guy takes the whole machine in parts, the magnet valve wire had come loose in transport. No apologies or anything from the shop I bought it from. Well, so much for “quality”, except that washing machine survived 9 years before it conked up.

    The next one was a fancy Candy that had the drier cycle. Brilliant machine, except it started acting up in 6 months and had a guy come in and exchange parts for it 4 times before they gave in and called it a lemon and brought a new one. Which then needed a guy to come and see it…

    Looks like the “modern” washing machines lack the quality. The place I live in now had one that had the drum come loose and we had sparks fly in the drying spin cycle – fireworks! My mom’s ancient toploader works, and it was bought over 20 years ago… used!


  • AnonymousDecember 6, 2012 - 5:49 pm

    Congratulations with your patience, I really sympathise.

    Similar experience- but already had the washing machine for 4 years and I got in the end a new one :)

    Regarding the mice: sure the mice could not have just quickly popped in one day and eaten it.

    Nevertheless here is also a mice story: I live in the DQ also and I had a mice attack in our home during the summer that left the fridge badly damaged. That was while on holiday and due to the lack of water through the drains they climbed out and damaged quite a bit….ReplyCancel

  • SandyDecember 8, 2012 - 7:24 am

    Let me just say- after on/off attempting to get my dishwasher fixed (permanently fixed) for more than a year- I’m going to buy a new one. And I fully believe it COULD be fixed. I give up.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousDecember 11, 2012 - 11:39 pm

    Sorry in finish this time. Meillä miehellä oli vaikeuksia löytää siellä ns. normi pesukonetta kun sanoi, että kaikki tahtoivat olla niin alkeellisia tms. Löysi kuitenkin ja korealaisen Samsung/LG. Kone tuotiin kotia, asennettiin liikkeen puolesta, mutta hups, he unohtivat poistaa jonkin osan, joka on laitettu muistaakseni rummin turvaksi kuljetuksen ajaksi jo tehtaalla. Konehan vaurioitui heti alkumetreillä. Kesti kuitenkin muutaman vuoden pesut ja nyt ostettu taas uusi.ReplyCancel

  • LaylaNovember 26, 2013 - 2:38 pm

    Thanks for the comment :) Indeed, buying a new one seems to be the best and sometimes the only option available!
    We have our own maintenance here in DQ apartments/housing for electricity, plumbing, carpenters etc..So this was the only time we actually had to have someone come in from the gates :)ReplyCancel

A few months ago I was nominated for the Expats Blog Awards 2012 by a Californian expat Kat who writes the Living In Greece blog. A big thanks for her for the nomination and also for letting me know of this new expat blog portal!
Do check out her excellent blog (and of course vote for her too!) here:

I got so busy with my newborn I totally forgot about the competition until recently when I saw other bloggers posting about it! There are many great expat blogs nominated as well, American Bedu, Jeddah Blog, and Undertheabaya to name a few. Honestly speaking I think American Bedu should win because she is like the queen of the expat Saudi expat blogs :)
But if you like Blue Abaya and would like to give me a review then you can do it here:
I would really, really appreciate it!! It’s worth browsing through the site to find more blogs and info on the countries too.

The competition is partially based on reviews left by the fans and readers so I would really love if you guys could leave comments and feedback there! Just a short sentence saying why you like Blue Abaya and why it should win the best Saudi expat blog title.

On a side note, I have started to post images on my photo blog again! I can’t promise to post there as often as before but will try my best.

I have recently started a Facebook page for Blue Abaya too! I wish I had done that when I started but better late than never! I’m posting about events and things to do around Riyadh as well as just everyday Saudi life, photos and random stuff on there.

Thanks to all the fans and readers out there around the world! I love hearing the encouraging feedback from you and it gives me so much motivation! Now if I could only find the time to post more! Next week I will be in Dubai and you can follow our road trip there on my FB page. See you there!

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  • Umm GamarDecember 4, 2012 - 6:10 am

    I strongly yet respectfully disagree that American Bedu should win as her articles are full of ignorance and meant as Islam bashing. For instance stating and I qoute “Islamic law still allows babies to be married of” is sheer stupidity. For someone who used to be a Muslim,she should know this isn’t true.ReplyCancel

  • LaylahDecember 5, 2012 - 8:44 pm

    Well Umm Gamar then I would hope to see a vote from you on the competition site saying why you think Blue Abaya should win!

    Re american Bedu, the reason I think she should win is because of her many years of keeping up the blog,having such a variety of posts and informing people about KSA.. I for one as a blogger can appreciate that how much time is involved in keeping things up :)ReplyCancel

    • Umm GamarDecember 6, 2012 - 3:03 am

      Hehe Laylah,you’re cute, ok you shall have my vote inshallah. I understand your sentiment about the efforts in keeping up a blog but we need a blog that is true and reliable and not simply to keep up popularity or make fitnah. Blog is a powerful outlet and can be used wisely to spread peace and harmony as well as valid information OR it can be used as a means to break people and cause fitnah and more problems.ReplyCancel

    • Umm GamarDecember 8, 2012 - 3:00 pm

      Salam Laylah for some reason I was unable to vote for you. i tried but error many times. anyway, i hope you win inshallah.ReplyCancel

Father’s Day is celebrated in Scandinavia on the second Sunday of November which was this previous Sunday. Happy Father’s day to my own father and to my amazing husband who gets to enjoy two Father’s Days a year! But he deserves it! I want to dedicate this post to my dear husband and the father of my children.

Dear baba/isi,
On this Father’s Day we want to thank you for everything you’ve done for us. You are the world’s best dad!

baby feet fathers day saudi arabia

Thank you for being there for us from the moment you heard we were just a tiny little peanut growing in mommy’s belly. Thank you for helping mommy during her pregnancy and especially for taking natural childbirth classes with her and becoming a certified labor coach to help us come to this world. We are very proud of you. Thank you for being there when we first opened our eyes and saw you and mommy for the first time. Thank you for protecting us from all the unnecessary interventions at the hospital and for giving us a peaceful and safe journey and first few days into this world.

baby feet in shumagh

Thank you daddy for all the times you rocked us to sleep in your arms, even though you were so tired yourself. Thank you for all the hours you spent walking around trying to help us sleep and for the lullabies you sang to us. Thank you for reciting Quran over us when we were sick or tired and easing our discomforts. Your voice is like magic to us. Thank you for letting mommy sleep in on weekend mornings and for the special times we spent together playing.
Thank you baba for making me breakfast every morning and taking me to daycare. Thank you for all the fun times we spent at the park, sliding, climbing and exploring the places. Thank you for reading me a bedtime story every night, it is the best moment of the day when I get to lay my head on your shoulder and sleep. I will always remember those precious moments with my daddy. I love you baba you are my habibi.
Thank you baba for never ever loosing your temper with us and always having so much patience with us even if we were driving you up the walls.
Thank you isi for learning some Finnish language and for understanding how important our other roots and culture are. The best memories from summer are from our other home country with you at the summer house, thank you for taking us every year.
Thank you for all the kisses and hugs and love and affection you shower us with. They mean more than any gifts to us and make us the happiest and luckiest children in the world. When we are older we will take care of you. We love you always, daddy.
your Habibis


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  • NoorNovember 13, 2012 - 3:59 pm

    Ahh mashAllah what a sweet post. I want to email you about the blogher thing can you mail you so I can tell you more about it. I am horrid at texting.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahNovember 14, 2012 - 6:27 am

      Ok sure will do Noor!ReplyCancel

  • HudaNovember 13, 2012 - 2:58 pm

    Laylah! That is soooo sweet!!! I love it! And I especially love the part about becoming a certified labor coach! Too cool!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahNovember 14, 2012 - 6:26 am

      Thanks yes I love that part too lolReplyCancel

  • Bourne69November 13, 2012 - 8:38 pm

    This is just sooo adorable <3ReplyCancel

  • HebahNovember 14, 2012 - 1:22 am

    such a sweet postReplyCancel

  • Umm GamarNovember 14, 2012 - 2:43 am

    Mashallah so lovely! They say behind a great man is a great woman but I believe in vice versa too and I believe your husband is great and you are lucky my dear mashallah :) Happy Isi Day!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahNovember 14, 2012 - 6:27 am

      aww thank you :)ReplyCancel

  • IldiNovember 14, 2012 - 8:14 am

    We love you, Laylah! :)
    What a honest confess to your beloved husband! <3 I love your warm heart! Awesome post!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousNovember 14, 2012 - 9:48 am

    It gave me tears in my eyes, so sweet..

  • Umm SameerNovember 14, 2012 - 5:31 pm

    Very beautiful text ! Your husband sounds an amazing father and you are so lucky for everything. Remember this and say alhamdullilah daily for all things God almighty granted you.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousNovember 15, 2012 - 7:10 pm

    May God bless your father, husband, and all your beloved ones.
    If you don’t mind me asking, I would like to know more about the childbirth classes. I am pregnant now, and I had had a horrible experience in my first pregnancy and I ended up with a c/section. Are these classes offered here in Riyadh? Are they really beneficial ? Do you have any hospital or Doctor recommendation ? Sorry these are a lot of questions but I am really confused :).
    Thank you,

  • TarjaNovember 16, 2012 - 3:34 pm

    Kaunis kiejoitus, mashallah!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousNovember 18, 2012 - 5:35 am

    I love this post! So heartwarming and I am glad you found such a great Saudi guy! I wish I could be as lucky in love as you are. Thanks be to God! : )ReplyCancel

  • RuBearNovember 18, 2012 - 7:26 am

    just ,,, здорово!
    thank you ..ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousNovember 18, 2012 - 4:08 pm

    Layla, can you please tell me where I can find this lake in Riyadh? GPS coordinates will be very helpful.ReplyCancel

  • sahara dashNovember 25, 2012 - 9:26 am

    I know this might sound stupid but are you married to a prince or is that a joke?ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousNovember 26, 2012 - 9:35 am

    That is so sweet:) May Allah always protect and bless your family. Ameen.ReplyCancel

  • FullestMay 21, 2016 - 11:58 am

    Hey Layla,

    I think you tried to use: showed, but you typed shower in line 2 (last paragraph) Good luck!
    I like your blog a lot.ReplyCancel

  • L.LORAMay 21, 2016 - 3:02 pm

    Hey Layla,

    I think you tried to use: showed, but you typed shower in line 2 (last paragraph) Good luck!
    I like your blog a lot. ?

    My bf is also SA … Hopefully we have a great outcome, too. You inspired us.ReplyCancel

  • FullestMay 23, 2016 - 5:52 am

    Hi Layla,
    I saw your reply.

    Thanks for your response)

    If I am logged in via Facebook, I can’t reply the post. Don’t know why Lol

    By the way, maybe you can delete my other post
    The one with L.LORA


  • FullestMay 23, 2016 - 6:01 am

    Hi Layla,
    I saw your reply.

    Thanks for your response)

    Anyway, I like your blog a lot.


  • FullestMay 23, 2016 - 6:04 am

    I prefer not to show my FB name .. you can reply to the other post L.LORA) and delete these XDReplyCancel

  • FullestMay 26, 2016 - 7:54 pm

    I tried. It didn’t work. It’s Okay)ReplyCancel

Il Terrazzo is a lovely outdoor buffet restaurant in the very heart of Riyadh. This Brazilian barbecue restaurant is situated on a large terrace overlooking the fountains and courtyard of Rosewood hotel Al Faisaliyah.  You can dine under the stars while enjoying a fantastic view of the Globe on top of the Faisaliyah tower.

This is my all time favorite restaurant in Riyadh and I’ve been to it numerous times. It’s always been a big hit to bring our first-time visitors to Riyadh to Il Terrazzo.

During the hottest summer evenings there are cooling mists and fans on the terrace, while in the coldest winter months they offer warm blankets to snuggle under the heaters. A rarity in Riyadh, this terrace is not gender-segregated or “boxed-up” but totally open and mixed with lively music is playing in the background.

The ambiance here is relaxed and as “normal” as it gets in conservative Riyadh. Large groups of expats can often be seen dining here. The laid back atmosphere and beautiful setting makes Il Terrazzo a popular choice among couples for romantic date nights.

At the center of the restaurant there is a buffet island with salads and appetizers on one side and desserts on the other. At the table the customers will be served to side courses such as rice, vegetable and potato dishes accompanied with different sauces from a revolving multi layer tray, which you can combine with the different meats.  The open fire-barbecued meats are served to the table at frequent intervals by the friendly and always smiling Kenyan waiters.

The waiter will serve a different meat on each round from a long bbq stick. The variety of meats range from beef, lamb, goat, chicken, fish, beef, kudu, jumbo prawns and even camel.  It could be said this restaurant is not for vegetarians! They give you a card which has a green color on one side and red on the other which, when flipped to the red indicates to the waiter that you’re done with the meats.

For starters indulge in the 5 star salad buffet full of fresh colorful produce. This is by far the best salad bar in town in terms of variety, freshness, quality and presentation. Additionally there are soups and freshly baked breads to choose from. The drinks you order separately and they have a great Saudi Champagne and some excellent non-alcoholic wines on offer too.

You will literally feel like bursting from all the juicy meats, combined with the tasty side dishes on offer, but be sure to leave space for dessert! The dessert buffet is diverse and you can find high quality freshly baked cakes, pastries, puddings, chocolates and some Arabic sweets as well as specialty desserts. The desserts are presented in beautiful ways and usually they come in small portions which is great if you want to taste more than one or two different ones. A variety of fresh exotic fruits are also available. Everything can be topped off with a choice of sauce!

If by now you are not ready to be towed out with a Toyota pick-up truck, there’s also an ice cream bar with a choice of delicious flavors and more sauces!

The buffet costs 200sr per person excluding the drinks. The restaurant offers a nice Saudi champagne and for those who want to splurge a bit, an excellent selection of non-alcoholic wines and sparkling wines which will be served from a standing ice cooler.

Another great thing about this restaurant is the professional and helpful service provided by the friendly African waiters. If informed beforehand they will sing a Happy Birthday song while playing African drums and a small Birthday cake with sparkling candles.  Certainly a night to remember! Keep in mind Il Terrazzo can only be visited by making a booking and it’s advisable to do so well beforehand for weekends and bigger parties. The buffet starts at 8pm every night continuing to around midnight.

For more restaurant reviews go here:


Star ratings:

Overall: ****1/2

Ambiance: *****

Decor: *****

Food: **** 1/2

Service: ****1/2

Value for money ****

Toilet cleanliness: *****

Kid Friendliness: ****

Romance Factor: *****

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  • NoorNovember 4, 2012 - 11:46 pm

    We were wondering if it was any good thanks for letting me know I will go for sure now.ReplyCancel

  • […] On a lovely open terrace overlooking the courtyard fountains of Faisaliyah hotel and with the tower hovering directly above. A buffet restaurant with excellent food and service. Music is played and ambience is relaxed. Full review of Il Terrazzo here! […]ReplyCancel

  • BernadetteYapFebruary 28, 2015 - 2:48 pm

    Hi… Good day… I did a reservation on March 9 at 7pm… Can you please help me to have surprise special birthday for my husband. Like having a birthday song and a sparkled candles on a birthday cake. Can you please help me?thank youReplyCancel

I’m so happy to announce that we were blessed with a healthy baby boy a week ago. Everything went well with the labor this time around, thank God we were able to avoid another awful birthing experience in Saudi Arabia. We were lucky and blessed to have a beautiful, all-natural birth with a midwife. Something which would be a given in my home country Finland, where most hospital births are handled by our highly educated and trusted midwives (Finland has one of the lowest maternal death rates in the world) as opposed to the greedy, cesarean section-pushing obstetrician which are the norm in Saudi Arabia, and all over the Middle East. I must say I could not have succeeded in having a VBAC without the support and presence of my husband, my own certified labor coach (for real!). It was the most amazing experience of our lives. We are so proud of our little peanut, his birth weight was 4 kg and he was 53 cm long.

welcome to world little prince

The little man is keeping us very busy.

yummy babyfeetThe hospital we went to is a large private hospital in the center of Riyadh. The reason we went there was actually to be able to have the labor with a western midwife who works there as a Head Nurse, as opposed to a doctor which we would be forced to have in any other hospital. My first delivery in another large private hospital in Riyadh ended up being one of the worst experiences of my life. After 26 hours of labor we were pushed and bullied into having a C-section. So we were really hopeful to have a VBAC this time, our midwife was very supportive and encouraging, saying we had a 80-90% chance of succeeding.

I had been told by all the doctors I had seen (there were over 15 in different hospitals all over Riyadh which I went to in search for a pro-natural pro-VBAC physicians) for the entire nine months, that this would be practically impossible. These physicians only discouraged me and pushed me for another c-section. Some told me I was crazy, or stupid to even think of trying to have a natural delivery after a cesarean. They said my uterus would rupture and the baby (and maybe even myself) would DIE. Listening to this same crap for months literally had me feeling hopeless and with little trust in my abilities to birth “normally”. I had lost most of my hope to actually succeed in avoiding another c-section, and in most likelihood would have ended up having another “emergency cesarean” if it weren’t for my awesome husband. Side note, we took birthing classes for 12 weeks when we were expecting our first-born, check out AMANI birth if you’re interested in childbirth classes in KSA.  I highly recommend them.

newborn Baby handBirthing in Saudi has become such a business it’s actually sad to see how far people have gone. Many if not most of the women going to private hospitals are now opting for elective c-sections. Having experienced both a natural birth and a c-section, I cannot fathom how anyone would choose to have the surgery if they don’t have a medical reason for it. That said I did have a nightmarish experience. C-sections are very hard to recover from compared to normal delivery and major abdominal surgery is a huge risk both to the mothers and the babies. The c-section rate in Saudi-Arabia is sadly very high, one of the highest in the world.

All this laboring business has somehow become about making the delivery most convenient for the mothers (although I still don’t see how major abdominal surgery would be convenient for anyone). Nothing about child-birth seems to be natural anymore, it’s all about getting the baby out as “easy” as possible with least damage down there to the woman and then after the birth going overboard and showing off. Many Saudi women are so concerned that their husbands would take a second wife if they get damaged from childbirth and this is even openly discussed among women here which came as a surprise to me.

I was shocked how the hospital was offering all sorts of “vanity” services to mothers who have just delivered, as if the baby itself is secondary importance. Most important thing here seems to be looks. The hospital catalog was more like a five star hotel directory. The services on offer tell a lot about the priorities of women giving birth nowadays.

Where are the most important service for new mothers; breast feeding support and lactation consultants? How about nutritional advice and exercise support? What about informing mothers of post partum depression symptoms and how to get help? Which of these services actually support bonding of a healthy mother and a baby?

The sad truth is breast-feeding is not at all encouraged and all newborns will be offered formula from day one, unless the parents specifically refuse it. Even if parents specifically refuse formula feeding, the baby is still at high risk to be fed formula while the parents are not watching. The nurses will secretly give it in the nursery just to keep the babies quiet, or because doctors ordered it for “low blood sugar levels”. We always kept our babies in our room at all times and watched them if they were in the nursery for doctor check-ups. There is no respect for parents wishes in most Saudi hospitals, sadly.

What normally happens here is infants will spend most of their time in the nursery, where nurses change diapers and give formula feeds, then bring the tightly swaddled babies to the rooms for viewing.

We were actually told by the pediatrician that our baby was in fact starving and NEEDED formula. Unbelievable. How did the human race survive without these genius doctors, I wonder? We of course refused and they got even more upset. For the record our baby has gained 200 grams in just six days on breast milk only, despite the fact that infants normally LOSE weight for the first two weeks.

Only in Saudi? In-room maids and private nurses so that mothers don’t have to “lift a finger”.

The most shocking service to me was the piercing of the newborn babies ears “while the sleep”. In my country it’s simply not common at all and girls get ears pierced at the around the same time they would start doing other “beautification” such as wearing make-up. So to me personally, piercing a babies ears has always been strange, but I understand that it’s a cultural difference. But to do it on the first days..and while the baby is sleeping? As if they want to say babies will not wake up to having a piece of their earlobe chopped off?? Quite frankly in Finland this would be categorized as child abuse.

I’m all for women being able to look and feel beautiful after delivery! It surely makes us feel better after all those 9 months of feeling bloated and what else..But maybe this is going a bit overboard. It’s not Oscar night, it’s a special time with your baby.

The price of this service “Elite package” is mind-blowing. 5200 SAR for room decorations! That’s almost 1400 US dollars! For the love of God I just don’t see the point. Even if you swim in money, it’s just too much. I would like to see how the bed of mother is decorated with flowers, crystals and lights, it must look like a spaceship.

And after they are done entertaining the guests for a good 4-6 days..How to get all this stuff out of the hospital?? Answer: Hire a TRUCK.

My husband had ordered these balloons for me and the baby, I thought it was so sweet of him, even though I told him to please not waste money on it. I know in Finland people would probably laugh their butts off if they saw someone bring all these balloons to the hospital, but in Saudi these are actually really modest!

And now I’m off to feed our little prince again!baby fingers

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  • DianneOctober 15, 2012 - 12:30 am

    Hi Laylah! Congrats on your new bundle of joy! I can’t wait for him to have his little adventures. May he grow into a humble, obedient, creative and loving person. :)



  • Blackballerina TeaOctober 15, 2012 - 1:24 am

    MashaAllah!!! Mabrouk sister, may Allah SWT continue to bless your family! Ameen!ReplyCancel

  • Colleen DaleyOctober 15, 2012 - 12:14 am


  • dBOctober 15, 2012 - 4:47 am

    Congratulation for your price!ReplyCancel

  • UmmAhmadOctober 15, 2012 - 2:08 am

    Mabrook ukthi! I am glad you had the birth you wanted! I have to say, I am quite surprised with all the extra stuff they have!ReplyCancel

  • I'm FarsillaOctober 15, 2012 - 5:20 am

    hey laylah. congrats for having a baby boy. :D tho im not yet becoming a wife or a mother, but ive seen my mum being pregnant many years back. i was below 8 YO. for an asian, i can consider my mum petite n small. when she gave birth to my 2nd sister, she needed to undergo C section bcoz my sis was too big her position wasnt normal. her head was at the side of my mum’s tummy. n doc said my sis was too big. n indeed its tru lol. my mum weight was less than 50Kg n her height was below 155cm. so u can imagine how SMALL she was during that time.n mashaallah my sis’s weight was 4.13Kg. we were so happy that both were safe during that time.n i do believe every mom in this world are very strong bcoz they have to get tru with all sort of challenges just to bring a lil person in this world. again , congrats dear :D n plz doo upload more of ur lil prince. :D


  • AnonymousOctober 15, 2012 - 4:06 am

    Congratulations, both on your beautiful baby and your VBAC! A successful natural birth is a real blessing. And best wishes to your husband and the new big sister. From a reader all the way in California.ReplyCancel

  • JennyOctober 15, 2012 - 5:06 am

    Congratulations!!! I am thrilled to hear that you had a wonderful birth experience and successful VBAC. The services offered in that hospital book were incredibly bizzare. Thanks (as always) for sharing. May Allah bless you and your family, and I wish you as much sleep as possible in the upcoming month!ReplyCancel

  • JennyOctober 15, 2012 - 5:07 am

    Congratulations!!! I am thrilled to hear that you had a wonderful birth experience and successful VBAC. The services offered in that hospital book were incredibly bizzare. Thanks (as always) for sharing. May Allah bless you and your family, and I wish you as much sleep as possible in the upcoming month!ReplyCancel

  • ShimshimOctober 15, 2012 - 5:08 am

    Many many congratulations on becoming a mother for the second time, I hope that you and baby recover well from the whole birthing experience! Look after yourself and well done on having a natural birth, it is very sad how they have turned such a natural process into a money making venture at the cost of the mothers health.ReplyCancel

  • miolannOctober 15, 2012 - 5:40 am

    Warm congratulations on your new family member! And thanks for sharing this hospital story, very entertaining :)ReplyCancel

  • RuBearOctober 15, 2012 - 5:49 am

    from deep in my heart i wish you “both” health, power and plenty of wonderful moments together, and wish all the best to your little miracle, let this new life be full of health, love, and happiness.
    i’m very happy for you.ReplyCancel

  • PetraOctober 15, 2012 - 7:00 am

    Onnea pikku prinssista! Synnytin Turkissa ja taalla on hieman sama meininki touhussa, ei kylla ihan tuossa mittakaavassa…taalla pyritaan aina aidinmaidon antamiseen ja siita on vahva mainonta mutta myös taalla sektioita tehdaan jarjetön maara. Uuden lain myöta niita ei saa enaa tilauksesta vaan laakarin tulee perustella syy sektioon. Kaikkea hyvaa vauvailuun!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahOctober 21, 2012 - 9:34 pm

      Kiitos Petra! Taalla olis hyva saada samalainen laki aikaan! mutta vaikka sellainen oliskin niin silti kaikki kuninkaalliset ja muut rahakkaat sais sektio paatoksen ihan vaan pyytamalla..rahalla saa ihan mita vaan!ReplyCancel

  • NoorOctober 15, 2012 - 10:27 am

    Mabrook sis hes a doll mashALlah.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 15, 2012 - 7:30 am

    Hi Laylah! MashAllah & Mabrook :)
    I’m glad we was born healthy and without any problems! A children is always a blessing. May god always protect him.
    I hope when you find a little time to blog you would be telling us about his first days in the world & a little about your husband first reaction when he saw the baby for the very first time, and how haves the parenting been … Stuff like that hehe! Congratulations, I’m sincerely glad & happy for you- from: Silent readerReplyCancel

    • LaylahOctober 21, 2012 - 9:32 pm

      hi silent reader :) Actually he was born with his cord wrapped double around his neck and with meconium! But nevertheless he was fine! My husband was so excited and overwhelmed when he fist saw him and I just remember us being so shocked somehow that we were lost for words! I guess we said something like wow what just happened :) My husband is such a great father I’m so lucky to have him help with the kids!ReplyCancel

  • SoileOctober 15, 2012 - 10:36 am

    Onnittelut tätäkin kautta!ReplyCancel

  • mizyénaOctober 15, 2012 - 7:44 am

    Mabrouk koko perheelle ja masha Allaah!!

    Olipas tosi mielenkiintoinen postaus ja suomalaisena olen tietenkin aivan yhtä yllättynyt noista palveluista kuin sinäkin. Hieman on eri systeemit kuin kotona päin ja tosiaan missäimetystuki.

    Ihania vauvantuoksuisia päiviä arkeenne ♥ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 15, 2012 - 7:45 am

    Congratulations, Laylah !
    God bless you and your family !ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 15, 2012 - 7:45 am

    Laylah, what a wonderful news. Congratulations on the birth of your second child. I hope that this child will bring as much happiness to your family and your life as your first child did. Mashaallah. Now little princess have a baby brother to play with soon.


  • sessiOctober 15, 2012 - 11:11 am

    Onnea vielä tätäkin kautta! Suloinen prinssi!


  • NadiaOctober 15, 2012 - 11:31 am

    Salam alaykum sister,
    and congratulations on your baby boy. May Allah bless your family and dear ones. This topic of delivering is quite actual for me as well as my second baby is due in about four weeks. Alhamdulillah, we don’t have so big business around babies and delivery in our Finnish hospitals – I would feel quite unconfortable, even though I understand that is must be a lot about cultural differences. All the best for your family.ReplyCancel

  • HeliOctober 15, 2012 - 11:38 am


  • AnonymousOctober 15, 2012 - 9:43 am

    Congratulations on your baby boy :) In the south african muslim community we also pierce our babies ears early but not so early, usually after a few months. My mum said its better beacause you won’t remember, and can be calmed down quickly. In hospitals here they will also only circumcise the boys after two weeks,so you usually have to go back, they also dont’t allow the mother to watch the procedure, you can bring a friend or grandparent.ReplyCancel

  • HudaOctober 15, 2012 - 10:00 am

    Congratulations Laylah! alhamdulillah everything went well and your baby is healthy and happy. I have to say, I’ve heard stories and knew a small bit about the lack of understanding surrounding childbirth in Saudi, but I had no idea it went this far! It’s unbelievable, sickening and sad all at once. I wish more women, more mothers and mothers to be, could have access to services which educate them about natural childbirth options and how to care for their newborns and children afterwards – without needing a “maid” or “helper”. Is it not enough that they already have maids at home?! And that their kids grow up calling them mum?! And this is the future generation we’re talking about… the one that’s supposed to lead the society out of the problems it already has, not add to them.ReplyCancel

  • HudaOctober 15, 2012 - 10:29 am

    Btw Laylah you probably know of the blog Saudi Birth Story run by sister Aisha Al Hajjar, but if you haven’t seen it it’s really worth checking out. She’s a childbirth educator and an amazing woman mashaAllah with a lot of experience and effort going into teaching women in Saudi and abroad about natural childbirth and child rearing. I hope we can have more women like her in the Saudi community inshaAllah.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahOctober 21, 2012 - 9:27 pm

      Huda-yes I know Aisha very well we took the Bradley birth classes with her and she’s my good friend. She really is a pioneer for natural childbirth in Saudi-Arabia!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 15, 2012 - 10:52 am

    Congratulations on your new addition to your family. Just discovered your blog and hope to read more about your adventures in Riyadh.

    Pharm. Tech RDC’06ReplyCancel

  • swedemomOctober 15, 2012 - 11:26 am

    Congratulations! Your son is gorgeous! Thank you for sharing your experience. I honestly wasn’t surprised when you wrote about the beauty/vanity services offered. You once wrote in a post that wearing the abaya frees women from vanity, unhealthy body images, and comparisons. But from what I see in the mall with the clothing and makeup offered, I just don’t think that is true. The expat market isn’t large enough to support the number of stores here that cater to women’s vanity. The obsession here for beauty and clothing seems on par with the western obsession. I don’t think either is healthy and feel sad that Saudi women seem to be so vulnerable to the same western obsession for an unhealthy body image to pursued at all costs.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahOctober 21, 2012 - 9:26 pm

      Swedemom you do have a point there, it seems to be an obsession here as well, I guess most of it is displayed behind closed doors and not in public, but nevertheless the women are obsessed about looks.ReplyCancel

  • EryahOctober 15, 2012 - 5:26 pm

    Hurjasti Onnea! On halla niin pienet katoset viela, oiii :) Nuo sektiot taitaa olla yleisia koko “arabiassa” (tahan lasken siis lahi-idan ja pohjois-afrikankin ;)) Ma juuri eilen mietiskelin, etta tunnenko taalla ketaan, joka ei olisi sektiolla synnyttanyt. En taida tietaa kuin yhden, ja hanellakin vain ensimmainen lapsi :/ Itsellani taitaa olla lapsiluku taynna, ehka ;), ja jos nyt sattuisin viela lisaantymaan, niin aikamoinen urakka olisi loytaa laakari, joka suosii luonnonmukaisuutta, niin raskaudessa kuin synnytyksessa. Tuntuu, etta joka pieneenkin vaivaan maarataan kassillinen laakkeita raskaana olevallekin… Ja Euroopassa taas niita kehoitetaan valttamaan muulloin kuin hatatilanteissa. Ja pienemmastakin tekosyysta kiidatetaan sektioon.ReplyCancel

    • mizyénaOctober 16, 2012 - 7:15 am

      Eryah, mä taas en tunne ketään täällä (ystävistä, sukulaisista, naapureista) kuka olisi synnyttänyt sektiolla vaan kaikki alateitse eli ei se taida olla kuin tietyn yhteiskuntaluokan piirissä suosittua nykyään.

      Mä olen kahden raskauden aikana ollut täällä ja ollut erittäin tyytyväinen raskaudenajan hoitoihin sekä kontrolleihin. Ollut jopa paremmat systeemit kuin Suomessa ja sairastuessa on määrätty nimenomaan vain tarpeelliset lääkkeet (joiden sopivuuden varmuuden vuoksi tarkistin suomalaiselta farmaseutilta ja olivat ok).ReplyCancel

    • EryahOctober 17, 2012 - 7:23 am

      Oot Mizyena varmaankin oikeassa, vaan aina ei voi luottaa onko kyseessa oikea pakko, vaiko laakarin/sairaalan rahanteon tarve ;) Ma olen kaynyt taalla kontrolleissa molemmissa raskauksissani eri vastaanotoilla (ja Suomessa en ollenkaan, joten siita ei kokemusta, vain kuulopuheita ;)), ja vaikka kaikki testit, 3-4D:t ja ultrat toimiikin upeasti, oli laakareiden asenteissa viela parantamista. Ja ihan perustietoakin naytti uupuvan (mm. mita pitaa valttaa ja mita ei). Lahinna pelottavaa on se, etta naiset eivat kyseenalaista ollenkaan noita leikkauksia.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahOctober 21, 2012 - 9:23 pm

      Joo se taitaa olla yhteiskunta luokasta kiinni, mutta Saudeissa suurimmalla osalla on medical vakuutus joka kattaa synnytykset mukaanlukien sektiot yksityis sairaaloissa ja siksi varmaan sektioiden maara senkun lisaantyy..ReplyCancel

  • VihreatniitytOctober 15, 2012 - 7:36 pm

    Onnea koko perheelle!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 15, 2012 - 5:51 pm

    Masha Allah, congratulations!


  • HOctober 15, 2012 - 9:19 pm


    Please EVERYONE do this ….

    US govt. is holding a Public poll to initiate and implement a law against the disrespect of Prophets.
    Nabi Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam,
    Nabi Esa Alaihisalam,
    and Nabi Musa Alaihisalam.

    Kindly sign that petition, they require 25,000 signitures till 17th October.




    • swedemomOctober 16, 2012 - 10:48 am

      H, I understand where you are coming from. But as a American who understands how free speech laws work in the United States, it is highly unlikely that such a law is even in the works or even likely that such a law would be written. Some states have passed Hate Crimes laws which include crimes that are committed against religious groups or individuals because of their religious beliefs. I definitely support such hate crime laws because they are important.

      However, the right of freedom of speech also allows Muslims to freely speak their religion and openly practice in the United States, a freedom which not all countries allow. In fact, Saudi Arabia does not allow any other religion to freely meet or practice. Perhaps when Saudi Arabia is more willing to allow more religious freedom, other countries, like the U.S. might be more sympathetic to your petition.

      I’m a Mormon and the media frequently mocks my faith, religious beliefs, and religious leaders. In fact, our founder, Joseph Smith was murdered while in jail by an angry mob. Instead of sparking violent reactions, my people chose to withdraw and move out to the western United States, and settled in Salt Lake City. Mitt Romney is the Republican candidate for President of the United States and is also a Mormon. Because of his deeply held faith, the media has felt free to mock Mormons. There is a very popular Broadway musical which openly mocks and seeks to degrade things are precious to me and my religion. In fact, a recent documentary produced by a major U.S. news channel about Mormons was full of lies and misrepresentations and was very disappointing.

      Have you seen Mormons (and there are over 11 million Mormons around the world) taking to the streets, burning down embassies or rioting? No. Because the mocking ultimately does not harm us. I believe our God is greater than the mocking. I believe that religious leaders can handle criticism. The point is that when Muslims respond peaceably and calmly to media that mocks their religion, then the only ones shamed by the mocking are the producers of the filth themselves, not the ones mocked. In fact, responding peaceably and calmly, and even ignoring will make people respect you.

      I’m sorry to take space away from Laylah’s joyful announcement. If you wish to civilly discuss this further, you are welcome to visit my blog by clicking on my name and we can have a conversation. If you do not want to discuss civilly or rationally, then it would be best to ignore me.ReplyCancel

    • AnonymousOctober 27, 2012 - 9:02 pm

      Hi Swedemom,

      Muslims do respond peacefully and amicably when our Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) or religion is mocked. Below is a facebook event page where volunteers handed out roses with famous quotes from our Prophet (pbuh) to the public to enlighten them about who he really was.

      It was actually carried out in the US and many more were carried out throughout Europe and Canada. I myself as a Muslim do not agree with other Muslims responding violently when our relgion is mocked, and furthermore our Prophet did not teach us to do this. Those horrible actions are done only by a few. I think what “H” is trying to do above with her petition is fine and a very peaceful means of getting attention or trying to get people aware of a cause.
      I agree with your point that if people react peacefully then it produces better results.
      I’m also understand and am sympathetic to the disrespect and mockery that people show Mormons and the Church of Latter Day Saints, as my mother was Mormon before she reverted to Islam and my/her family are still Mormon. I think all religions need to be respected equally and I believe in freedom of speech but not to promote hate and animosity.



  • BigstickOctober 16, 2012 - 3:49 am

    Don’t mutilate the boy!!!! No circumcision.


    Hope you will be able to drive in the Kingdom before he is allowed.


  • pikkujututOctober 16, 2012 - 11:48 am


    Mikä onkaan mukavampaa kuin törmätä blogiin, jossa pääsee heti onnittelemaan :).

    Tuohon sektioon liittyen, Libanonissa lähes kaikki tuntemani äidit ovat synnyttäneet sektiolla, joskus jopa tietty päivämäärä mietittynä. Mutta yhteiskuntaluokat eroavat toisistaan todella paljon-köyhemmissä perheissä synnytetään normaalisti.Sairaaloissa rahakkaimmilla on omat huoneet ja käytävälle asti näkee kumpi on tullut :). Aikoinaan, v.2002 ollessani raskaana kuopuksesta, lääkäri totesi että olen aivan liian isokokoinen ja joudun laihdutuskuurille- toki jos olisi tsekannut huolella, olisi ymmärtänyt, että kyseessä oli raskauden aikainen turvotus- kotiin mentyä tilasin samalla lentoliput Suomeen ja kuopuskin syntyi Suomessa .ReplyCancel

    • LaylahOctober 21, 2012 - 7:34 pm

      Moi pikkujutut ja kiitos onnitteluista! Joo taalla on sama meininki eli on se tietty paivamaara mietittyna.sitten taas todella suuret erot yhteiskuntaluokkien valilla on myos taalla.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 16, 2012 - 1:55 pm

    Congratulations to you and your family on the arrival of baby boy!! I too am expecting a baby boy in about 6 weeks (I also have a daughter). The services offered at the hospital are crazy!! Wow, things sure are different in KSA. Shocking! Nevertheless, enjoy these precious moments with your new prince! Francesca from Ottawa, CanadaReplyCancel

  • QusayOctober 16, 2012 - 7:07 pm

    Congrats on the new baby, I hope he has a blessed and wonderful life.

    Hospitals in Saudi… well the whole medical profession is a big business, I guess they are like the big pharma that keep them all going. and the decorations… don’t get me started… anyhow, good luck to you and your husband and congratulations again :)ReplyCancel

  • YunnanOctober 16, 2012 - 7:36 pm

    Congratulations! And I love the balloons! They’re a very sweet touch, and not as overboard as some, I’m sure. And good that you were able to choose the birthing experience you wanted – I see the pushing of c-sections and formula by the hospitals as distinctly monetary in motive. These are services and goods that you have to pay for, despite the existing natural alternatives.
    Having said that, I’ve been told(from a family friend and gyno expert) that planned (not emergency) c-sections are statistically safer for both mother and baby if carried out well and not in emergency circumstances. However from your account, I deduce that either way, the body takes a lot of trauma. It’s very worrying, however, to hear that Saudi women elect for c-sections not for health reasons, but for aesthetic/cosmetic reasons. This shows how cheaply women value themselves, not just how their husbands value them.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahOctober 21, 2012 - 2:24 pm

      That planned c-section would be safer for the mother and babies is not true from any point of view! Remember these doctors have their own agendas and will try to justify surgeries with all sorts “statistics”. There are really not many health reason to opt for a c-section, natural is always better for mother and baby in normal circumstances :)ReplyCancel

  • Sandra-DXBOctober 16, 2012 - 7:55 pm

    Congratulations!!! Gotta say, love the balloons! :)ReplyCancel

  • Umm GamarOctober 17, 2012 - 6:33 am

    Congratulations Laylah, he looks adorable. Have you had him circumcised yet? I think it is better done while he is still very young as it heals faster and he won’t possibly remember anything about it. As for ear piercing, I personally do not see what all the fuss is about as it is hardly an elaborate procedure, simply a harmless (if done correctly in a clean environment) piercing in the lobe of your ear, not the cartilage part where it hurts like hell. I had my 1 year old’s ear pierced and there was no crying at all mashallah, she was in good hands. I guess it boils down to the parents’ decisions since they are the caregiver and knows what is best for their angels. Again Mabroook alf alf mabrook and may Allah grant your beautiful boy wisdom, strong Iman to his God and huge respect for his Mommy and Daddy and not to forget his eldest sister :)ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 17, 2012 - 9:55 am

    Congratulations Laylah on the birth of your beautiful baby boy. may god bless him and keep him safe always. xxx i really loved your hospital story of how Saudi women are opting more for C-Sections here. As a westerner from UK i cant begin to tell you just how beautiful it is to be able to give birth naturally and for the skin to skin bonding experience that follows what a beautiful gift from god. why any mother would want to risk their babies being filled with drugs before they even take their first breath in the outside world is beyond me.and something wich i will never comprehend, but then again, this is not my culture, so sorry for them if they view vanity as being more important than the life and well being of a new born. xxxxxxxReplyCancel

    • LaylahOctober 21, 2012 - 1:44 pm

      Exactly, the moment right after the baby is born and handed to your chest, it’s something I will never forget. It was like a dream, too good to be true! It’s a short moment in our lives but so momentuos. It’s very sad that women are opting not to have that experience.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 17, 2012 - 11:00 am

    mabrook!! thank you for sharing your story of a successful vbac…I had the same first birth experience as you do and inshallah I will fight for a vbac next time :) your so is beautiful mashallah!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahOctober 21, 2012 - 2:14 pm

      Inshallah you can, please visit and if you’re in Saudi then I can recommend a doula and natural childbirth classes for you :)ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 17, 2012 - 3:33 pm

    Congratulations!!!))) You are the example to all the women )
    P.S. What you described looks like Mamlyaka Hospital
    All the best,

    • LaylahOctober 21, 2012 - 1:45 pm

      thank you so much :) It was Dallah hospital, but my first birth was at Kingdom hospital!ReplyCancel

  • LaylahOctober 17, 2012 - 10:20 pm

    Thank you soooo much everyone I am so happy to hear from each and everyone of you :) Our little milk monster is keeping us busy but I will be back soon!ReplyCancel

    • Umm GamarOctober 18, 2012 - 1:05 am

      Oooh Laylah, you’re making me miss the pleasure (and stress) of having a newborn :) Our lil angel is already a big baby, had her first birthday last week. From your point of view, is it wise, health-wise, to try for another baby? I’m asking coz I’m still breastfeeding my angel. Lots of love!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahOctober 21, 2012 - 1:42 pm

      Umm Gamar-congrats on her first birthday! Well I was still breastfeeding my daughter when I got pregnant with my son and what happened was the milk slowly ran out, she was about 11 months. But I know many women who manage to breastfeed the entire pregnancy, if that is what you were worried abut. Otherwise there should be no issues :)ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 18, 2012 - 12:49 pm

    First of all, congratulations on your new addition!! I agree with you on the whole csection issue. I had one with my first child, due to him being breach and 2 months early with a ruptured amniotic sac. So I was so excited to attempt a vbac this past August. Unfortunately I was unable to dialate past 4 cm and developed a fever so the docs said it was csection time. I was devastated, but ready to get my little girl out safely.
    I ended up havIng a successful surgery so i thought. After a week from being released I ended up in the emergency room with massive abdominal pain. As a result of the surgery I developed 5 intra abdominal
    abscess’s from 3 serious bacterias that were allowed to travel around my abdominal from the trauma of the
    surgery. I was hospitalized for 2 weeks and did not see
    my baby for those 2 weeks, and it was traumatizing. I
    am still recovering and am at risk for the bacteria to regrow, but thank Allah I am doing well now. I will never
    attempt another pregnancy again. Csections are major surgeries, so please ladies understand the risks involved. I would have loved a natural birth and think everyone should try for one especially after what happened. I am just thankful to have my baby girl here now and to be able to hold her. Allah knows best, and enjoy your little man, how fun :)ReplyCancel

    • LaylahOctober 21, 2012 - 1:39 pm

      That sounds like a horrible experience, so sorry to hear you had to go through that! In which country are you?
      I had also complications after my c-section, two weeks afterwards I was hospitalized with endometritis. the pain from that was like being in labor again!
      I hope you get well soon and can leave this all behind! You tried your best and there was some reason this happened to you, but you might not know it now. Please never say never and don’t loose hope!

      If you are in Saudi I can direct you to my friend who teaches natural childbirth classes is a doula and a wonderful person, if you need someone to talk to about all this..and in case you ever do have another child.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 20, 2012 - 7:21 am

    Congratulations Laylah!! I love reading your blog! By the way,there’s a hospital here in Kingdom who promotes breastfeeding but its not a private hospital,they got a breastfeeding nurse and if that nurse cannot encourage the moms, she can call an Arab lady, called breastfeeding support who can really onvince moms.. ;) But, few Saudis wants to breastfeed their babies…Congrats again!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahOctober 21, 2012 - 1:27 pm

      Hi can you tell me which hospital that is?ReplyCancel

    • AnonymousOctober 26, 2012 - 1:46 pm

      Its King Abdul Aziz Medical City…the milk formula for newborns is a big no no there… Lol..ReplyCancel

  • Lyse bOctober 20, 2012 - 4:34 pm

    Concerns me these dial a piercing or circumcision is done just so!! It’s a crazy town! Glad he is here safely :)ReplyCancel

  • EliOctober 20, 2012 - 8:37 pm

    Hi. I just found your blog yesterday, but Have read through a lot already. Very very interesting posts… :) I hope you’ll write a whole lot more…

    Congratulations for having your son! :)

    Terveisin Eli Suomesta, mutta nyt Afrikassa :)ReplyCancel

    • LaylahOctober 21, 2012 - 1:26 pm

      Moi Eli! Kiitos ja toivottavasti paasen taas kirjoittamaan pian!ReplyCancel

  • JessicaOctober 20, 2012 - 7:09 pm

    Mashallah, congratulations.. May Allah watch over your new princeReplyCancel

  • Satu VWOctober 21, 2012 - 3:02 pm

    Congratulations, amazing news!! And yeah, this is definitely quite different to giving birth in Scandinavia… :)ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 22, 2012 - 7:33 pm

    Alf mabrook! May he and your daughter be a blessing to you and your husband!

  • yamaamaa.comOctober 24, 2012 - 10:24 am

    Congratulations! I’m so happy for you that you had the birth you wanted. 4KG MASHALLAH! Superwoman! mine averaged 2.7 and that was a feat lol. Hope you are getting all the rest you need!

    On another note, I have been reading the comments and I totally disagree with the ones that say getting help after birth is a horrible thing to do. I think it is essential for a mothers well being to have as much help as she can get. When I had my first some I moved into my mothers house and she would take him in the morning so I could sleep. If he was hungry she’d bring him to me to feed him (half asleep) then would take him and do everything else needed (burp him, change him etc) so I can go right back to sleep. After that I had a nanny. Having help doesn’t mean you are a bad mother. A mother who is going ot neglect her child will do so with or without a help and a mother who is going to raise and love her child will also do so with or without help.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahNovember 4, 2012 - 9:40 pm

      Mama B Thank you for stopping by and your comment! You're absolutely right that mothers with newborns need help from family members! I don't think that the commenters saying mother having help is a bad thing. As I understood the "issue" is when people start hiring maids and go through all this crazy decorating and superficial mumbo jumbo in the hospital, as if they’re forgetting about the actual baby and mothers real needs. And no, they don’t need crystals and flashing lights under the beds or a maid. In fact, they absolutely should not be needing a maid because of the close family structure here should allow them the luxury of having help from their own mothers, sisters, aunts etc..
      What your mother did for you is awesome, many women in the west can only dream (myself included) of such luxury. It’s a completely different social structure as I’m sure you very well know :)ReplyCancel

  • LucyOctober 25, 2012 - 5:53 pm

    Congratulations. :-) I recently found your blog and love it.

    Re: ear piercing – I live in the USA, and this doesn’t seem even remotely strange to me. I see newborns, here, with pierced ears ALL the time. I see them getting it done at jewelry stores whenever I go in – tiny, tiny babies, definitely under one month of age. So, having it done in the hospital – eh, no real difference between that and going to the jewelry store a couple days later.

    I also had a lot of help with my children. As I mentioned, I live in the USA, but was actually in France when I gave birth to my second. They offer great services for women there, including massage and … ummm, teaching you how to exercise your vaginal muscles. No other way to say it! I actually found this super helpful. NOT because I was worried about damage or looking bad for my husband or whatever, but, for me, giving birth, pregnancy, etc., was a HUGE change in terms of my body. I felt it as more of a trauma than anything else, to be honest. So, when healing, I really wanted to give my body the best. Good, healthy food, gentle exercise, fresh air, sunlight, love, etc. I felt a need to gently love myself and care for myself as I would gently love and care for my baby. And having help for that was of immense benefit. I actually wish the US was more proactive about helping mothers. I gave birth to my first here in the hospital, and they just kicked me out with the baby within 24 hours from the hospital. My husband and I were CLUELESS. We were both only children, had never had any experience with newborns. I remember us driving home in the car, and then sitting in the living room in total shock, staring at this newborn for which we were now responsible. For weeks the overwhelming emotion was terror that we would somehow kill our baby! We couldn’t even enjoy those first few weeks. Fortunately, by our third we got over that, lol. I think it’s like with anything. Nannies can be a huge help, as can services for the mother. But, of course it can be abused.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahNovember 4, 2012 - 10:41 pm

      Hi Lucy thanks for the comment!
      I guess the piercing is more uncommon in Europe, mainly northern european countries.


  • UMM LATIFA (in Saudi Kingdom)November 1, 2012 - 9:09 am

    Mabruk! Time is flying so fast ;) – I just read about your little princes and not – a prince ;). All the best for happy parents and for the new addition to your family :).ReplyCancel

    • LaylahNovember 4, 2012 - 10:42 pm

      Nice to hear from you Umm Latifa! Long time no see!Hope you're well :)ReplyCancel

  • Umm SameerNovember 2, 2012 - 9:02 am

    Congratulations for your new born baby boy ! It is a blessing and I'm happy for you. Mabrook once again !!!!!!!!!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahNovember 4, 2012 - 10:42 pm

      thank you!!ReplyCancel

  • fatoukamounNovember 13, 2012 - 12:12 am

    Alf mabrouk dear sister. May Allah bless you and your family with joy, happiness and barrakah and may he let you enter his paradiseReplyCancel

  • AnonymousJanuary 11, 2013 - 12:51 pm

    Here in the the U.S. it’s considered kind of trashy to pierce your young kid’s ears, and never a baby’s. I fought with my father throughout my teens to pierce mine, I wasn’t allowed until I turned 16! (In his Catholic school growing up, only the slutty girls had pierced ears, what a cultural difference!).

    Keep up the breastfeeding, it’s very healthy! Here in the U.S., people try to feed up to a year to try to provide as many health benefits as they can for their babies. I can’t fathom not breastfeeding at all! How else do they pass on the antibodies to their kids? Hello, not even the doctors have heard of colostrum?ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousFebruary 2, 2013 - 10:52 pm

    Congrats.. Also I’d like to say that with arabs its quite common to have the ears pierced as a baby.. My ears were pierced within the 1st or 2nd month I was born and my mother says I looked like a tomato but didn’t cry.. Well must be because she was breastfeeding me…ReplyCancel

  • Syed AslamOctober 7, 2015 - 11:02 pm

    Congratulations dearReplyCancel

  • FatimaOctober 9, 2015 - 7:58 pm

    I know I read this article so late since it was published already in 2012 but this was really something I was expecting before moving to Saudi. All the women I know have given birth “naturally” and for them the cisearian is definitely the last option. I don’t know if attitudes have changed that much during three years but as Muslims women here believe that natural delivery is something from God and the original way women have done it for ages. Especially elder generation have gone through natural deliveries so maybe they have encouraged younger women to do the same. Anyway from my personal experience people here think c-section is something unnatural and a bit selfish as well….:)ReplyCancel

  • MalenaApril 4, 2016 - 10:05 pm

    Hello! I read your blog from time to time, and it is really interesting – I´ve learned a lot about Saudi from your blog since we moved here in September last year. And now we have our kids at the same kindergarden (I´m the mother of Cornelia) ;) And now I hope you can enlightening me some more :)
    I just found out that I´m pregnant, really early (week 6). And since we are here for two years I will be having the baby here in KSA. Should I contact any doctor here during the pregnancy? What hospital can you recommend? Are there any specific things you can tell me about being pregnant and giving birth here in KSA? Is it even possible to have a “normal” birth here? I really don´t want a cesarean, but I really do want to have like epidural. Are there any Scandinavian nurses/midwifes working in Riaydh at the moment?
    I´ve giving birth two times already, but back home i Sweden so there I know all of these things – but here I feel like a have noooo clue at all!

    Kind regards

    • Arabian LauraApril 20, 2016 - 9:40 am

      Malena, I will gladly answer all your questions in person and give you tips on where to go for the prenatal check ups in Riyadh :) I went to all the different private hospitals in Riyadh and tried over 30 different obstetricians in my search for someone “normal” as we are used to back in Scandinavia.
      It’s possible to find a few doctors who won’t push the cesarean so don’t worry :) the good thing is you’re already experienced in childbirth so you know what to ask for.

      Congratulations on the pregnancy! ReplyCancel

  • How I Met My Saudi Prince » Blue AbayaNovember 26, 2017 - 1:51 am

    […] and now 7 years later, here I am, married to a Saudi guy and we have 2 kids (at times it does seem like there are in fact 20 of them in the house). So I called this post […]ReplyCancel

  • FatimaMarch 31, 2021 - 9:08 pm

    Just came across this in my search for vbac friendly options for a friend who recently shifted to Riyadh. If the author happens to see this, please can you mention names and contacts of the hospital/midwife that supported your vbac? Also the mentioned friend does not have insurance yet so that’s another problem :(ReplyCancel

    • LauraAugust 2, 2021 - 6:52 pm

      Hi all asking for the contacts, the midwife we went to is no longer practising in Saudi Arabia, sadly no other midwives with authority to handle births on their won exist in KSA to my knowledge. Some VBAC friendly options can be found at Habib Rayyan branch and Kingdom hospital with a search.ReplyCancel

  • MariamJanuary 10, 2022 - 5:51 am

    Hi, what were the prices of the birthing classes you took with AMANI?ReplyCancel

In case you haven’t heard of them, InterNations Expat Community is a very useful site aimed at expatriates residing in Saudi Arabia (or anywhere in the world). InterNations offers a platform to share information, network, meet other expatriates and find interesting places and things to do. The Inter Nations community and forum require you to send request to join, which you can do it for free here: Once you’re in you can join all kinds of activity groups, tours and and ask questions from experienced expatriates in your area.

Blue Abaya is one of the InterNations recommended expat blogs and I did a short interview with them some while ago.  You can read it on the InterNations site as well.


–   Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Saudi Arabia, etc. 

I’m a Finnish medical professional who moved to Saudi-Arabia four years ago for a position in a large government hospital. Originally the plan was to come for one year and then go back home, but you never know where life will lead you! Read what happened to me in this post: How I met my Saudi Prince


–    When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?

I actually first started a blog about Saudi when I relocated in 2008 but I only wrote a few times and then deleted it (which I now regret because it was full of those funny first encounters of Saudi culture) because I simply did not have the time to continue. I started again after my life had settled a bit from the hectic first two years. After reading so many negative and biased views from other blogs, I wanted to write about Saudi in a more light hearted but also realistic perspective and to help expats find activities around the Kingdom. Having a Saudi husband gives me a special insight into both the local and the expat life of the Kingdom.


–      Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?

I like some posts about Saudis I’ve encountered as patients most and then the cultural comparisons of the Finns and the Saudis are always fun to write!


–     Tell us about the ways your new life in Riyadh differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?


Yes it differs a lot of course! There are some things that are better now, some worse like the obvious no driving for women. I find the relaxed pace of life here is more suitable for my nature and I love the weather (except sandstorms!). Everyone experiences culture shock; people just go through it differently. I think I had an easier time than many because I had previously lived and worked abroad and was used to scenery changes since childhood. 

My culture shock presented itself as an unexplained anxiety and restlessness which I treated by keeping myself active and making many friends as well as getting to know and understand the local culture better.


–    Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Saudi Arabia? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?


I think I was fairly well prepared, but could have read up more on the local customs and culture and especially religion before coming! I was in the impression that the hospital’s three week orientation program would prepare us but I was very wrong! Knowing just the basics of Islam I think should be included in the orientation especially the medical professionals would benefit from it greatly and it would prevent many misunderstandings from occurring.


–      Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?

Oh there are so many stories! I think some of the funniest happened with patients and lack of understandings of each other’s cultures. Encounters with Bedouin patients would be among the funniest, because their style and outlook on life is just so different from ours. I have written about many such experiences on the blog :) 


–      Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Saudi Arabia?

1. Keep your mind open, always try to take things with a pinch of humor and surround yourself with positive people.

2. Try and find out as much as you can about local customs and culture before you come and once you’re here, ask the locals and get to know them. Don’t get stuck in the closed (minded) expats circles only.

3. Keep in mind that although this is a Muslim country not everything you see around you is from Islam. Don’t judge the book by its covers or the religion by some of its followers. Always try to find out for yourself and don’t listen to or believe in the rumor mills.

open your mind




–     How is the expat community in Riyadh? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?

The expat community is very lively and there are many different nationalities to make friends with. Unfortunately some nationalities prefer to mostly socialize with their “own kind” and sometimes very tight knit groups form. Saudi Arabia, I’ve noticed, has the tendency to make people feel very patriotic and hold on to their own customs and beliefs very rigidly. This can unfortunately lead in some cases to the expatriate becoming extremely negative towards the host country.

Some western expats that live in closed compounds hardly ever interact with other nationalities let alone locals, which I think is a shame. There are of course many like-minded expats out there who have no problems making friends across borders, ethnicities or religions which makes Saudi-Arabia such an amazing place to make new friends in. I have made true friends from around the world here and am truly grateful for that. It was one of the reasons I came here!


–      How would you summarize your expat life in Saudi Arabia in a single, catchy sentence?
Life in the Magic Kingdom is full of surprising adventures and undiscovered beauty for those who seek them!
 You can find more interviews with Blue Abaya here and some more here! 
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  • ربة منزلOctober 8, 2012 - 6:03 am

    Another great post. Thank you Laylah.
    Being a Saudi living in the US, I had a similar experience to some of the expats in the beginning. I used to think all Americans are mean to Arabs and that they are waiting for me to slip to put me in jail for life. I even thought that a person cannot walk here without a gun ( American T.V. sucks) and that all children are rude to their parents.
    This all changed once I met an American family and we became friends and I got to see real American people.
    Unless we encourage ourselves and those around us to break the brier and learn about cultures and meet people, we will continue living in isolation and it will be our loss.ReplyCancel

    • LaylaJanuary 30, 2013 - 11:31 am

      thank you! I think you’re very right in your observations :)ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 10, 2012 - 1:02 am

    Hi Laylah,

    Not sure whether this is normal, but your blog prompts for user id and password from Will your blog be password protected soon?


The Kingdom of Saudi-Arabia celebrated its 82nd “birthday” or National Day on Sunday the 23rd of September 2012. As usual, the streets were full of Saudis celebrating the National Day. In addition to everyone having Sunday off, King Abdullah had given an extra day off for government employees meaning many people got to enjoy a four-day weekend in Saudi Arabia.

All the main streets and roads were lined with Saudi flags. There must be literally tens of thousands of them. I wonder where they store them afterwards?

This year people had already began celebrating on Saturday and the streets flooded with cars flying Saudi flags and people hanging out of them. Tahlia street was fully packed with cars and young men dressed in the most creative outfits. Radio stations were playing patriotic songs and songs praising King Abdullah. Everything seemed to have turned green, including the Faisaliyah and Kingdom towers.

We went out on both evenings to see the celebrations. According to Arab News article there would be celebrations in Kindy plaza at the Diplomatic Quarters where thousands of Saudi flags would be distributed and there would be a special program there. We live nearby and went to check it out, there was nothing there to our disappointment! Strangely the article also said malls such as Panorama and Hayat would have programs for kids, but in reality the malls remained closed on Sunday. I wonder how many people went all the way to these locations only to find out there was nothing there.

Read on to find out all the cool activities and events we found around town!

*please note the below images are property of Blue Abaya and copyrighted under KSA and international copyright laws

There were many other events around town though and we headed to check them out. There was a small festival area set up in the historical Diriyah area. We drove around the Wadi Hanifa and saw many families had set up fires and BBQ’s around the wadi. The weather is finally cooling down and evenings in the wadi are very pleasant.

The Diriyah festival had some traditional dancing and music, poetry recitals, small handicraft market and camel rides.

I love how so many Saudi women relax and let go of their cultural restrictions in public on occasions such as National day. It’s always so much fun to share a laugh and so many insist on having their pic taken by me :)

A Saudi baba was showing how to make Arabic coffee by the fire.

Everyone was in high spirits and donning at least a Saudi flag or something green!

At the festival area I was busy taking pictures of all the people who were requesting to be photographed. I could have stood there all night because people were literally lining up.

My friend is becoming a celebrity in Riyadh because she always appears in my photos and people are starting to recognize her, asking if she’s “the Blue Abaya lady” :)

I love you! This is what some children came up to say to us!  How can your heart not melt being surrounded by all this kindness and love?

The boys were asking, Please please take my picture too!

My daughter was scared of the coffee making baba. The first thing she said when he took her in his lap was “aiti!” which means mommy. My little shy pumpkin.

Meanwhile on the streets kids were hanging out of car windows, doors, roof tops and even sitting on top of the cars! But thank God this time the cars were not really moving anywhere, the traffic was completely halted.

Older men enjoyed the fun in their “pimped up rides”. LOL so funny to see what people come up with.

And what would National Day be without a Saudi religious police (muttawa) patrol? Here they are supervising the celebrations on Tahlia street.

my daughter in her cute Saudi traditional outfit waving her flag :)

It was a very Happy Saudi National Day!

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  • NoorSeptember 25, 2012 - 6:34 am

    Looks like you all had fun.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousSeptember 25, 2012 - 8:04 am

    Nice pics!

  • JeanetteSeptember 25, 2012 - 2:20 pm

    Nice pictures! Looks like a fun time. Too bad the women weren’t able to let their hair out if only for one day!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousSeptember 25, 2012 - 9:42 pm

    I’m from Greece ! I’m so curious about customs there ! I’m reading often your blog ! It’s a totally different culture than western one ! Thanks for your time ! I wish all the best for you and your family !
    To be honest, I doubt if I could live there !
    Geià sou !

  • Bourne69September 26, 2012 - 7:53 am

    Great Post Layla ! Could u please share more pictures of ur beautiful daughter ? :)ReplyCancel

    • AnonymousSeptember 27, 2012 - 4:07 am

      Creepy :SReplyCancel

    • Bourne69September 27, 2012 - 7:13 am

      Creepy ? Really ?ReplyCancel

    • LaylahSeptember 28, 2012 - 11:35 pm

      Bourne69 you can see some on the Blue Abaya Facebook page click on the link on the top of this page :)ReplyCancel

  • sulai shaSeptember 27, 2012 - 9:56 am

    check this out layla…..taped on national day

  • LaylahSeptember 28, 2012 - 12:53 am

    Hey everyone sorry for not responding earlier, been terribly busy the last few days, thanks for the comments!
    I rather not post lots of pics of my daughter :)ReplyCancel

  • Khawla El-AlaouiSeptember 28, 2012 - 5:29 am

    Hey, great article and nice pictures! I was born on the 23rd September <3

    But it just doesn't feel right for Saudi flags which has Allah's name in it to be used in such away as to be worn like that…ReplyCancel

    • LaylahSeptember 28, 2012 - 11:37 pm

      Hi Khawla! Thanks and Happy birthday to you!
      Yes you have a point there! In Finland we are actually quite specific about the Finnish flags and it's respected a lot. Rarely you will see people "abusing" them :)ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 1, 2012 - 12:46 pm

    Salam Laylah
    Missing your regular posts abut interesting and thought provoking seems the blogging is slowing down. Looking forward to reading some more in the future.

  • ربة منزلOctober 3, 2012 - 9:51 pm

    (Habby) LOOOOL! My husband has lived 5 years in USA and still cannot differentiate between the P and B. I guess it is Saudi thing.
    Your daughter looks beautiful in her jalabia Mashallah!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 5, 2012 - 12:24 pm

    What a lovely post, I enjoyed looking at all the pictures. I also enjoyed my Sunday off, which I celebrated by having an early morning family picnic and then a super long nap :) So it’s nice to see what everyone else was up to.
    NB – I rexpect and agree with your decision to keep photos of your daughter to a minimum.
    Sorry to post as anonymous – I dont have a google, AIM etc accountReplyCancel

  • alexofarabiaOctober 29, 2012 - 4:23 am

    As always I love the amount of thought, time, and energy goes into your work Laylah. Great pictures, makes me miss my national days in Riyadh and Jeddah (Jeddah is much more fun than Riyadh on the National Day, and most other days).


    • LaylahNovember 4, 2012 - 9:24 pm

      alexofarabia-thank you so much and I agree about Jeddah :)ReplyCancel

  • […] while cheering and singing patriotic songsCheck out some of my photos from the previous year’s National Day celebration in Riyadh to find out all the stuff you’re missing out on if you decide on staying on the […]ReplyCancel

  • Saudis Love their King Abdullah » Blue AbayaJanuary 26, 2015 - 4:16 pm

    […] waving Saudi flags and posters of the King. A similar scenario can be seen on the streets during National Day celebrations, something quite new to be allowed to celebrate in the Saudi Kingdom […]ReplyCancel

  • KambohSeptember 20, 2019 - 3:27 pm

    Nice photographs. This is the way a nation should celebrate its national day.
    More power to Saudi ArabiaReplyCancel

There is no wrath like the one of a pregnant Finnish woman whose long awaited Finnish mega chocolate bar has been stolen by the Saudi postal guy. AGAIN.
Don’t attempt to steal chocolate from a pregnant woman. Ever.


So my long awaited package from the online Finnish food store called Suomikauppa arrived today. Husband picked it up from the P.O BOX, since Saudi-Arabia hasn’t arranged actual addresses for its citizens yet. Oh well it’s only 2012 and such an advancement can’t be anticipated for another 20+ years. I mean they don’t even let women drive yet so why would they be so advanced to have physical addresses? That’s just pure vanity! Is it a coincidence that the Saudi Postal services are responsible for both driving licenses and addresses? Hmm..

Now let me tell you how many times I have ordered from this online store. About like 100 times. Ok. How many times do you think I received the entire order? 0. Don’t get me wrong, the customer service in the Suomikauppa is excellent. They know what the word service means. Unlike in Saudi-Arabia where people think service means “sit on your ass all day tapping on your iPhone ignoring anyone who speaks to you and only answer back in a rude tone showing as little interest as possible while maintaining eye contact with the mobile device only.” oh and “never, under any circumstances answer the land-line phone”.

My package was very much anticipated this time because:

A) it contained a large Finnish chocolate bar which I have been craving for a long time now. This is like the best chocolate in the world, no joke people.
B) it contained my favorite Finnish coffee. I tend to get very grumpy sometimes if I haven’t had my caffeine fix. Also I’m pretty darn bored of drinking instant coffee which to me tastes more like boiled old dish water and should rather be called instant diuretic.
C) It was supposed to contain a surprise on behalf of the store rewarding my returning customer-ship.
D) I’m pregnant and craving this specific chocolate.

I had also ordered baby foods (yes I have to order some baby food all the way from Finland because it’s healthy and organic and babies love the taste and nothing like it is available here because healthy baby food in Saudi equals chips and nuggets). I also had some special rice and rye oatmeal in there.

I bet Mr. Saudi Post Office Guy aka Mr. Ruthless Thief already recognizes this package when it comes to the office. He probably has his fingers itching to take it into the back room for “inspection”. One time he was so thorough doing his inspection that he had sacrificed his safety and taken a bite or two out of the chocolate bar. He dutifully placed it back into the package though.

And what about that time when Mr. Chocolate Monster Maniac had to finish off the entire Fazer Blue chocolate bar, just to make sure no part of it contains liquor or, God forbid a hidden machine gun? His heartfelt dedication is admirable. I am still touched that he left the empty wrappers behind, like as a sign of his hard work and devotion.

This time some pretty committed guy had opened my package and as usual rummaged through it. As I went through the contents it became evident that both my chocolate AND coffee were missing. Un-friggin-believable. Worse yet, it looked like the “surprise” has been taken too since there is nothing extra in the parcel. I am guessing they sent candy of some sort but it wasn’t mentioned in the list of contents.
I. Was. Fuming.
Why does he always go for the largest chocolate bar? Can’t he for once take the salmiakki, you know the ammonium chloride??
And the healthy foods are all there again. Of course. Why would he consume anything healthy?


Does Saudi postal services employ starving people off the street who are forced to eat whatever edible they can find in the parcels? Are the employees told to actually taste stuff? Are employees indulging in expensive goods sent from around the world, perhaps taking small bits home to share with the wife? Do some of these employees have huge stashes of stolen goods at home? Is there anyone supervising this zoo? Are there surveillance cameras? Do they employ ex-convicts only? What is this place anyways?
Where is that machine gun!?

I wanted to storm into the post office right there and then to find the guilty parties. I would find him even if he was hiding under all the boxes munching on my delicious chocolate. Does he even know how to make filter coffee, huh? I bet not!! This was the last time I was going to just rant about it. Something needed to be done. My husband was not too keen on my idea, knowing that I might need to cool down a “bit” before entering the office. I insisted he take me there but it was already closed (lucky for them) so we have to wait until the next day.

In the meanwhile I went to their website in hopes of finding a way to make a complaint. Not a huge surprise this was not possible. I saw a customer service number, but ignored it, being so accustomed to government offices or any other businesses here who predominantly employ Saudis not picking up the phone. Then something must have clicked in my head (I’ll blame it on the pregnancy brain which is lacking intelligent activity and possibly operating on two brain cells at the moment) because I changed my mind and called.

Lo and behold someone picked up after all the ‘press this or that button stuff’ was over. And get this. They spoke English. That’s not all folks. He actually tried to find out what had happened.
He tracked the parcel and asked me did we sign when picking it up. I told him of course, isn’t that the only way to receive it. Turns out if you already signed it, there’s nothing they can do for you. Even if they go to the dude that mishandled your parcel, he can always say they took it, not me!

Ok this makes sense in a way. HOWEVER why is the customer not informed of this policy when he picks up the parcel? I have heard stories of everything under the sun (including Victoria’s Secret panties) being stolen by Saudi Post officers. So why not have a system in place to try stop these violations? They should warn the customers to open it up at the office before signing just in case something has “disappeared into thin air”. And then there should be a system where you can file a complaint of missing goods. And someone should actually follow that up. On top of that there should be consequences for the violators. But this is veeeeryyyyyy complicated and advanced. Can this kind of development be expected to happen in Saudi-Arabia any time soon?

This is what the chairman of the Saudi Post has to say:

“Over the ages of human civilization and history, civilization experts confirm that post has been an important component in attempting to identify the progress and prosperity of nations, as it is one of the engines of sustainable development of human societies in its different stages, and in the moral values of society, the postman is always one that we desire to come to our doors.”

What does the Saudi Post tell us about the progress and prosperity of this nation? I don’t need a civilization expert to figure that one out.

I would love to have the Saudi postman come to my door with my parcel next time. Oh ya I forgot we have no addresses.

Until next time then, when I personally open the parcel at the office..

Watch out Mr. Chocolate Monster!


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  • umorna od zivotaSeptember 8, 2012 - 11:09 pm

    Wou i can’t believe this XD this is really so rude and overall haram, wish someone chops his hands off :( … i don’t even try to send packages to Egypt cos it never arrives :( … i sent something to my friend in Qatar tho, and elhamdulillah it arrived so i was so happy for that <3 how is he even able to open it up and still without leaving traces?ReplyCancel

  • umorna od zivotaSeptember 8, 2012 - 11:09 pm

    ahh sorry i posted from my sister’s nickname, it’s me :D Neli Saracen :))ReplyCancel

  • NoorSeptember 9, 2012 - 3:51 am

    Oh man I am so sorry I know before we moved here we sent my in laws gifts and they got only like 2 things and all the rest was gone I was so upset. Now thank God if it was not for dhs work we would never get anything. We get mail there (you know the drill) and alhumdullah I always have got everything. I am so scared that one day when hes not there I know we will deal with this same issue. Haram, haram, haram.

    Now I did not know you were having a baby sis mashAllah and mabrook <3
    I am sorry you did not get YOUR stuff I know how it is to want something no matter what it is its YOURS and you should be able to get it especially with child. ( I watch to many Tudors did I just say with child hahaha)

    I would LOVE to try coffee from Finland. I HATE instant as well yuck it taste like chemicals even the smell makes me sick. I get my coffee ground fresh and Starbucks or Dunkin Doughnut and I use a french press to make it, you should try that.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahSeptember 11, 2012 - 2:06 am

      Noor-ya I used to get almost everything when it was delivered to the work mail, although they still go through customs and sometimes there was parts missing, and they ripped pages off some magazines my dad sent.ReplyCancel

  • noonaSeptember 9, 2012 - 12:52 am

    OMG! That’s just unbelievable! Someone from Finland should mail you some Salmiakki-Chocolate just as a punishment for the Choc Monster… I thought AusPost was bad, but all of a sudden, I am very happy with their services. Hang in there!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahSeptember 11, 2012 - 2:05 am

      I have considered that noona ;)ReplyCancel

  • MunawarSeptember 9, 2012 - 4:05 am

    Nice article and actually a but shocked to learn this, I’ve managed a retail food store, for 3.5 years and in the last 2 years used to receive around 4-5 parcels monthly mostly of food samples from various suppliers. All the packages used to be opened for inspection but they would never touch anything inside. I’ve actually even received some contraband foodstuff as samples, but no one ever noticed. All of this of course used to come via Saudi Post (as DHL, UPS packages would be routed there for inspection). Quite sorry to hear your story but hope that u find ur chocolate eater.ReplyCancel

  • MunawarSeptember 9, 2012 - 4:14 am

    Just to point out one huge defect in ur article regarding physical addresses, the Saudi Post already made a new addressing system back in 2008 and went on to install boxes outside all buildings and houses, and then ran various campaigns to educate ppl on benefits of physical address system, but still ppl prefer to use the POBoxes. I had registered there couple of years ago and it works absolutely fine for me.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahSeptember 11, 2012 - 2:08 am

      Munawar I haven’t seen any boxes outside where I live now or the previous two places either..I heard they started some campaign but obviously it’s not working very well or at all.ReplyCancel

  • JennySeptember 9, 2012 - 4:30 am

    Congratulations on your pregnancy! And I hope that the positive conversation you had with the employee is a sign of an upward trend, one that may even include physical addresses and door-step deliveries. :) In the mean time shame on the chocolate monster and may he be haunted for his greed and thoughtlessness.ReplyCancel

  • JennySeptember 9, 2012 - 4:33 am

    Congratulations on your pregnancy! I hope that the positive conversation you had with the post employee indicates an upward trend that might eventually lead to physical addresses. In the mean time, shame on the chocolate monster and may he be haunted for his greed and lack of decency.ReplyCancel

  • Simone de moelSeptember 9, 2012 - 6:44 am

    Omg how frustrating this must be, especially when you want it so much..I know what its like to be husband also told me not to send anything valuable with mail, it will not arrive..ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousSeptember 9, 2012 - 7:05 am

    Maybe you could get your relatives (or even the Chocolate company themselves:P) to somehow disguise the package so that the postal guys would not even be interested in looking in it …

    For example, you could put your goods at the bottom of the box and then a piece of cardboard on top (so they think thats the bottom of the box but it really isnt) and then fill the rest of the box with tampons or cotton balls(or something else lol) so like something that would not intrigue the postal guys ..

    Just thought of this when i was reading the post :)ReplyCancel

    • ASeptember 10, 2012 - 2:37 pm

      watch out, these saudi guys would probably eat the tampons for breakfast and stuff the cotton-balls inside their head because i’s so empty.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahSeptember 11, 2012 - 2:09 am

      LOl that’s hilarious I like the ideaReplyCancel

  • RuBearSeptember 9, 2012 - 8:13 am

    I really sympathize you, and i passed thought this too.
    I never use their “services” anymore .. send/receive via other companies who respect themselves and responsible for liabilities and obligations.
    wish you all the best.ReplyCancel

  • LizzieSeptember 9, 2012 - 11:32 am

    Those Frazer Blue chocolates look heavenly. What are some of the other good ones that we ought to try out? And how expensive is the shipping?ReplyCancel

    • LaylahSeptember 11, 2012 - 2:10 am

      I would go for the Wiener Nougat and of course you would have to order some famous salmiakki candies too! The licorice is really good too.
      Depends on the weight, I think last time it cost about 60 euros..ReplyCancel

  • Lady CarrotSeptember 9, 2012 - 10:52 pm

    wow you are pregnant ;) mabrok sister :)ReplyCancel

    • LaylahSeptember 11, 2012 - 2:11 am

      thanks Lady Carrot!ReplyCancel

  • American BeduSeptember 10, 2012 - 11:31 am

    Is there an alternative option that you can use instead of the Saudi post? Is there anyone from the Finnish embassy or perhaps one of your expat friends that can take delivery? I can feel and hear your pain. I mean…come on…chocolate!

    Is there any chance of getting the products through Danube?

    I think you should also write about this to Arab News.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahSeptember 11, 2012 - 2:02 am

      Good suggestions Bedu, this company does not use the other services so I’m stuck with Saudi Post with them.
      I can get some Finnish licorice and rye crackers from time to time from Danube and then of course we have IKEA food store for emergencies :)

      I will look into the Arab NEws article as well!ReplyCancel

  • Coffee DrinkerSeptember 10, 2012 - 11:13 am

    Frankly, one one relying on Saudi Post to deliver goodies should suffer the consequences. Get DHL to deliver at your husbands office address. Works faster and there is usually an address. And no coffee when pregnant. Bad for mother and baby. Advance apologies.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahSeptember 11, 2012 - 2:11 am

      lol OK :) but I only have one or two cups a day, it should be fine..ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousSeptember 10, 2012 - 1:07 pm

    Congrats on your pregnancy Layla and may it be a strong and healthy baby!
    Your post has scared the hell out of me to be honest because I was relying on this service to make my life easier once I am there :(.
    Doest anyone know of a postal service that doest shame themselves?ReplyCancel

  • ربة منزلSeptember 10, 2012 - 11:45 pm

    Did you try FEDEX or DHL? They might expensive, but at least they are trustworthy.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahSeptember 11, 2012 - 2:04 am

      With this company I can’t but if I needed something really important or valuable it would be the way to go.ReplyCancel

  • islam_4_lifeSeptember 11, 2012 - 2:45 pm

    This is not good in Islam to steal and take, but I do think we have these problems in every country. Personally, I lie overseas all the time and most women still don’t drive and there are no real addresses for the mail man but that does not mean any of us are uncivilized or not with 2012 yet. Just because you have freedoms or advancements does not make a place more superior or better or the people any better. Personally, I grew up in the USA and drive and have problems with the mail and still have to remember addresses and get lost. Yet overseas, people don’t have addresses but know where everyone lives and works, have problems with the mail, most don’t drive, and still get around faster and better than we do. Just because you have a problem or cannot adapt to not getting your way, does not give you the right to blast an entire country. Saudi Arabia has its issues, but it did not start with women not driving; it started with colonization and groups like the British. Just learn from mistakes; try a different company even if it costs more; if you wonder why women don’t drive, ask more than two or three of them. Most Saudis, like New Yorkers, do not need to drive and have adapted to not doing so. Overall, this is simply a blog and rant, and people on here should stop taking your opinions and judgments as hardcore facts. But mabrook and congrats for the pregnancy, inshallah Allah (swt) make it easy for you and help you to do better.ReplyCancel

    • GeoffNovember 4, 2012 - 9:01 pm

      I wanted to just type "idiot"…then decided that was childish and uncalled for. However, justifying a nations problems and issues by downplaying them and highlighting other another country's issues instead is foolish. It appears you wish Saudi had never found oil, and never gotten rich, which is a fair enough point, but hardly appropriate here, and by the way Saudi Arabia wasReplyCancel

  • YunnanSeptember 11, 2012 - 11:49 pm

    As punishment, disguise the chocolate wrapper that your chocolate thief is probably so used to recognising and looking forward to by and wrap it around a CAROB BAR. that should teach him a lesson.ReplyCancel

  • {Life of Dee}September 13, 2012 - 4:16 am

    woow..just found out that there’s no mail adresses in Saudi. And shame for Saudi postman for such doing none other than stealing. In Indonesia, the government postal service is good, but we usually send/receive packages via private delivery companies :) I hope your post will make some better improvement, read by someone works in Saudi post office.ReplyCancel

  • Umm GamarSeptember 13, 2012 - 6:07 am

    The Saudi postal service sucks. Take a look at this video from the Victorian era and I bet their service is much better than the Saudi postal service now :)

  • Khawla El-AlaouiSeptember 16, 2012 - 5:53 pm

    As-salamu`alaykum, Layla

    I’ve been following your blog for awhile and had read a lot of your amazing and fabulous posts! But this is the first commenting here :)

    It really is very irritating, especially since it has been done more than once. The jerk needs to be taught a lesson.

    Have you ever heard of a rich woman who always has her wallet stolen every time she goes out? One day, she brought with her a new wallet – it was stolen as usual. But this time she just laughed it off… cause inside the wallet was nothing except a piece of paper saying, “Congratulations on winning this wallet for free!” Just imagining the thief’s disappointed face, she felt her heart at ease.

    I think you should do something similar, ha-ha. How about ordering a poisonous chocolate? Something really nasty in a delicious form that will give him bellyache for days! That’ll teach him a lesson! And I’m sure you’ll feel a lot better.

    But really, the service sucks… thanks for telling us this! Now I’m aware of this horrible monster, and will be extra careful if I ever get to live in Saudi. ;)


    Best regards, KhawlaReplyCancel

  • Coolred38September 17, 2012 - 9:47 pm

    How about order chocolate laxitives a couple of times….I think they will learn real quick to stop tasting your chocolates. LOLReplyCancel

    • LaylahSeptember 18, 2012 - 12:30 pm

      Lol that’s not a bad idea at all Coolred!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousSeptember 20, 2012 - 9:14 am

    I second salmiakki chocklate. Laxative in the coffee.


  • AnonymousOctober 1, 2012 - 5:29 pm

    Dear Layla, I can assure you the Indian Post is not much better. I lost 12 sets of underwear (bra+undies)… And purchasing fitting underwear of my size and liking is simply impossible in rural areas where I worked. I do not know if there is DHL or similar servis in the KSA; usually it is more reliable than the regular, local, governmental servis (more expensive but you will get your items intactReplyCancel

  • Mohammed IrfanDecember 18, 2012 - 7:34 am

    I have ordered T-Shirts from USA (TOMMY HILFIGHER)from E-Bay and as per their records its delivred and till date (3 months from Order) not yet recieved. I have checked with Saudi Post but in no result. If you can guide whom to complain i will be thankful to you

    With Regards
    Mohammed Irfan

  • Anthony CastroJune 21, 2013 - 6:26 am

    Saudi post does open the package and never even bother to seal it back. And I do symphatize with the author, everything she said is true judging from personal experience. I always order from, obostore and other stores who send parcels via hongkong post. I always receive the package already opened. I guess it is just a matter of time before something gets stolen.ReplyCancel

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    […] out what the Saudi Post Chocolate Monster did with my chocolates this […]ReplyCancel

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  • AJune 3, 2018 - 9:21 am

    You could use aramex, I have used it multiple times and all my packages from abroad are not opened or damaged.ReplyCancel