Work gig in Saudi Arabia

This is a discussion on Work gig in Saudi Arabia within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; I have the opportunity to do a short, week long stint in the "kingdom". If there are any of you who have worked there for ...

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Thread: Work gig in Saudi Arabia

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array MotorCityGun's Avatar
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    Work gig in Saudi Arabia

    I have the opportunity to do a short, week long stint in the "kingdom". If there are any of you who have worked there for any period of time, I'd love to hear about your experiences and any do's/don'ts worth mentioning.

    I've already done quite a bit of online research, but there's nothing more valuable than first hand experience.

    For those of you who want to just share your opinions but have no experience there, need NOT reply. I'd like to avoid any blah-blah, wah-wah posts about the right-ness or wrong-ness of my decision to take advantage of this opportunity. Thanks in advance for your cooperation.
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    VIP Member Array JoJoGunn's Avatar
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    While I have never ever been to Saudi Arabia I do know that alcohol consumption is strictly forbidden. They really do not like other "faiths" trying to convert their citizens so be careful of what you say. You might want to get information from a travel agency, the U.S. State Dept or perhaps the Saudi Government has a web site to let travelers know what not to do.

    The Saudis are supposedly our "allies" but being in a predominitely Islamic controlled country, you need to tread lightly.
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    Be sure of the laws...go and make some mega-bucks!
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    Never been to Saudi, but I have UAE- JoJogunn is on it. If you can hook up with some locals that can help you along would be most helpful.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    VIP Member Array Eagleks's Avatar
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    Don't sit down in a way you show the bottom of your shoe towards someone, it's disrespectul and an insult. Leave the women alone (LOL). Don't wear any religious jewelry. Don't drink alcohol and don't take a Playboy magazine or pics with you of any females that aren't covered well. Be polite, and do your thing & enjoy it. Most hotels that foreigners tend to stay at will have an executive floor, where foreigners can gather, talk , eat snacks and find others in the same situation as you are. It's also a good place to meet people who have been around that area awhile and know the good / bad places to go or to avoid.... as well as any particular local quirks. The people working on those floors, are good advisors and sources of information.
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    VIP Member Array swiftyjuan's Avatar
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    I lived in Saudi Arabia (Jubail) for 1 year, 1 month, 5 days, 16 hours and unknown seconds. You have received good advise above, and a lot depends on where you are and what you will be doing. If you are in a facility like Aramco, it is like a western oasis where you can live an almost normal life (inside the walls). If not, tag onto a westerner who has been there, and learn the local do's and don'ts. The Secret Police are everywhere, and you will be monitored closely, so obey the country's customs. The Mutawa, the religious police, have tremendous power, so do not run afoul of them! The best way to treat any Saudi female is to act like they aren't there: if you bump into a lady in a store, do not apologize. Her husband can consider that an afront, and take, what is to him, appropriate action. Alcohol is readily available in the western underground, but be aware of the consequences if caught. NO DRUGS!!! One of the westerners working in the same city as I was had a teenage son who was caught with marijuana. He refused to tell the police where he got it; they hadn't even pulled the first fingernail completely out before he told them everything.
    Other than that, have fun and make mucho bucks!
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    Senior Member Array Chad Rogers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eagleks View Post
    Don't sit down in a way you show the bottom of your shoe towards someone, it's disrespectul and an insult. Leave the women alone (LOL). Don't wear any religious jewelry. Don't drink alcohol and don't take a Playboy magazine or pics with you of any females that aren't covered well. Be polite, and do your thing & enjoy it. Most hotels that foreigners tend to stay at will have an executive floor, where foreigners can gather, talk , eat snacks and find others in the same situation as you are. It's also a good place to meet people who have been around that area awhile and know the good / bad places to go or to avoid.... as well as any particular local quirks. The people working on those floors, are good advisors and sources of information.
    Some good pointers here.

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    Distinguished Member Array Arborigine's Avatar
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    A good man takes work wherever he finds it. You might as well go on-topic. Can a westerner carry a weapon there?

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    I've been there, and also worked for an office in CENTCOM that had some responsibility for ensuring that our deployed troops knew what to do and what not to do. The easiest way to wrap up all the advice in the world: just keep your nose clean, out of anybody else's business, and whether you agree with their rules or not obey them if you want to come home.
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    Distinguished Member Array Elk Hunter's Avatar
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    Driving is an adventure pay attention. Last time I was there one of the guys decided to bring in some poker chips he did not know gambling devices were against the law. Paid a fine we went on our way sans the chips. It is also against the law to bring anythng pork into the country. If your a big football fan leave the "pig skin" at home.

    The advise others are giving is good, avoid eye contact with the women. I doubt you would have to worry about it in KSA but avoid elevators if it only you and a female. In KSA most females are accompanied so you shouldn't have to worry, but you may if you visit other countries in the reagion.

    Be respectful during prayer time, most shops close during prayer. Plan on eating before or after evening prayer. Some places will pull blinds and you can eat, but the religous police might come in and throw you out.

    The weather is not bad this time of year, but just wait the blast furnace kicks on in about four - five months.

    If you venture to one of the markets they expect you to bargin with them its part of the fun.

    Keep your eyes open and aware fo your surroundings.

    Semper Fi
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  12. #11
    Senior Member Array MotorCityGun's Avatar
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    Thank you all for the great insight. I'm sitting in Dulles, as I write, waiting for my flight on Saudi Arabian Airlines into Jeddah and then onto Hammand. I'll do my best to make those buckos. Should be interesting...
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    Senior Member Array sdprof's Avatar
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    Ditto on the driving as an adventure, or the worst thrill ride you'll ever take. At least in the bigger cities.

    In Riyadh, the three lane interstate type road normally had 5 lanes of traffic running, one on either shoulder. Roundabouts are fun: might makes right. Suburban has right of way over Chevy Caprice, bus beats all.
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    Distinguished Member Array Arborigine's Avatar
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    Aside from the rules of whatever company you work for, Do the Saudis and Bahrainis allow you to buy and carry a firearm?

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    Senior Member Array MotorCityGun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arborigine View Post
    Aside from the rules of whatever company you work for, Do the Saudis and Bahrainis allow you to buy and carry a firearm?
    Writing this while in SA. The answer to firearms is no. They're pretty strict about that and drugs. In fact on the immigration card, right at the top it says in red font, "WARNING, DEATH TO DRUG TRAFFICKER". I haven't witnessed any public executions or chopping off of hands, but I understand, and saw where, they do this about 2 miles from the 5 star hotel I'm staying at.

    Everything you all stated is fairly accurate and has been heeded by my associates and me.
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    Senior Member Array adric22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MotorCityGun View Post
    Everything you all stated is fairly accurate and has been heeded by my associates and me.
    This has been an interesting thread. I've been all over Europe, but never to the Middle East. Someday I might want to go to Jordan when they finish building their gigantic Star Trek theme park.
    "Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws." -Plato

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