I was born in Saudi Arabia, and lived there until I was seventeen. The fact that we lived in a secluded compound inhabited by mostly western folks where the radical religious police didn’t reach into did make life a little less miserable, miserable life in KSA was nonetheless. There is part joy; fried chicken called Al-Baik, tastes so good Popeye’s chicken tastes like shit. Gas priced cheaper than water. No taxes at all…and, that is about it! There is a seriously funny side to growing up in Saudi Arabia however. Several dimensions, but I start with the rain ritual.
The Rain Dance
The native Americans had a rain dance, the concept was to plead with the higher power to make it rain. Not quite like the Travis Porter version. You don’t have to be an expert in geography to know that KSA is mostly desert, extremely hot and dry. There is little vegetation, with temperatures agonizingly hot. Makes sense for the men to wear those white things they wear, absolutely no sense for the women to wear the black things they wear!
So every once a year, the temperature gets extremely hot. The king at that time, feels very sorry for his disciples and decides to do something about it. In an act of sheer magnanimity, he does the rain dance. Make no mistake, this is no ordinary rain dance, it is the dance that the king does, and makes it rain. I saw it year after year. The meteorology department gave the king a heads up, he did his dance, and it rained the next day. There is actually a name for the dance, which really doesn’t look like a dance and looks more like a prayer. But the disciples were always in awe. The king is the real deal, he dances and makes it rain!
What happens after the rain is a completely different story. Since it only rains once a year, after the rain dance, the Saudis decided that there was no real need to have a drainage system on the roads, essentially Jeddah turns into Venice, and all the cars make a failed attempt to look like Gondolas. Not quite the romantic scene that you would see in Italy…
The Sword Dance…Grind, KSA style
So the Saudis have a habit of getting together in groups, all carrying shiny swords, and raising them up and down while they chant some sort of weird mantra. It is supposed to be a group thing. A group thing that only men do. The women do something else, but no one really knows what that is. Now I would be absolutely fine with them getting together in a group and lifting their swords up and down, chanting whatever it is they are chanting in their language, only, they televise that ritual. Its a bit like like MTV grind, only there are no girls in bikinis, just ugly Saudis, and the music is a sound that will make you wish you were deaf.
What you see below is real master piece however. It is none other than the W Bush, doing the Saudi Grind!
The Mutawwa factor
Consider this, you are walking through a mall, shopping, minding your own business, all of a sudden, you hear a loud singing sound, scares the living day lights out of you, everyone starts running around, people start shutting their shops down, and they start doing the Muslim stand-sit-bend-bow ritual. If you are not part of the gang that is doing the bang, odds are, there will be a bunch of funny looking characters called Mutawwas, accompanied by the police forcing people into doing the gang bang.
One particular instance that I can never forget is…so the whole loud singing starts, people go crazy running, get together to do the gang bang, funny looking guy comes around screaming the top of his voice. The innocent little boy that I was, I joined the ranks, from the corner of my eye, I see a Chinese looking guy walking. The funny man with the police guy ran up to him and went blah blah blah, Chinese guy says, I am not Muslim, funny looking guy pulls out a baton and hits the Chinese guy on the ass, points towards the gang bang gang, Chinese guy joins the gang and does the whole bang. And seriously, this is not funny, it is pretty sad!
Off with his head!
So, every Friday, outside the two main gang bang ritual mosques in Makkah and Medina, they have a head chopping ritual. Yes, this is 2011, and they chop the head, or hand off of a human, in public, because they were found guilty of a crime. Of course the public gathers to watch the show, look in amazement, not a soul protests, not a soul dares to call this barbaric, for…this is the word of the g man. Occasionally, they will also have the public stoning to deaths, you know, throw stones at a human, because they had premarital sex! All in the name of religion, all legal, all tolerated.
Fuck what you can
Since a human muff is the toughest thing to find in KSA, Saudi men will pretty much fuck everything else. Most Saudi families source housemaids from Far Eastern countries, predominantly from Indonesia. Stories of raping these women are more than common, they are actually taken for granted. After all, from a religious standpoint, the g man has no issues with it. Stories of killing of Indonesian maids who were convicted of adultery because they tried to get help and get away from the daily sex slavery are common. A Srilankan maid was tied up, and nails were hammered in her head because she wanted vacation time!
Now, their counterparts, the Saudi women, do take a particular liking to the Indonesian drivers. Well, they get that, since they do not get to drive themselves, they just let the drivers ride them.
The Black Marker on Magazines
Life in KSA is heavily censored. Every foreign magazine that is imported, actually goes through a censoring process. The censoring process involves a funny looking Saudi, which can be any Saudi, they all look funny, with a black marker in his hand. Funny looking Saudi used the marker to actually cover out legs, arms or any other part of a woman’s body printed in the magazine. You have to feel for the Saudi men, they will not even be given the luxury of a magazine to look at and jerk off. This oil rich state, is so much sexually starved, that child abuse is what they eventually resort to.
Saudi Men – their discussion topic of choice
When a bunch of guys get together in the civilized world, they have some cold ones, talk about the game, their time shares, girl problems, chat up the bar tender, hit on the waitress, you know the usual stuff. Bunch of Saudi men get together and guess what they talk about…planning their third or fourth marriage! That is right, imagine the whole country is a bunch of polygamists, and we said the Mormons were a bunch of morons.
So a typical planning exercise starts identifying the hunting ground. You see, the first wife typically is of a Saudi origin, Egyptians are common seconds. Moroccans or Tunisians are preferred thirds, Lebanese and Syrians work well too. Once a hunting ground has been identified, vacation period starts.
The funny looking Saudi with a couple of friends travels to the grounds, and contacts these match makers that exist in all the above listed countries. These match makers are also sort of head hunters as the women in those countries will give up all freedom for the captivity and the gold and the opportunity to ride her Bangladeshi driver!
Finally, the wedding takes place abroad, the wife comes back with the funny looking Saudi, into her new home. It is very traditional and acceptable for all the wives to sit together and discuss what they got the night before. Bit like the American guy and his wives, you know, the one on the reality TV show. I guess there is a funny Saudi in every mormon!
Ok, fact is KSA has invested most of its oil money trying to create a football league that matches the EPL. Fact is, they are the best team in the middle east. That sort of tells you how much the rest of the Arabs suck at football. But they love the sport, are crazy about it, and, have no clue about it. The goal keepers wear pajamas, and all players are under 6 foot tall. Most players will dive at will, and do the utmost ugliest job of it.
It has been reportedly told by several sources that FIFA has requested the funny looking Saudis to stop diving in the field or their membership will be cancelled. Funny looking Saudis in return gave bag full of money to FIFA.
Women as drivers
Now most of the world knows that women cannot drive in KSA. No one quite knows the rationale behind it, but of late there has been increasing and mounting pressure on the government to allow the women to drive. So while voting remains a far cry, women in KSA are not really expected to show their face in public without a male accompanying them, a male that is a direct relative, cousin don’t count. Well they kind of marry the cousins as well.
I have heard that lately they have come up with a university in KSA that is not segregated. But hitherto, all learning is segregated. Again, it is in the name of not letting men and women come in contact.