Sleepless in Riyadh

There’s something about being away from Riyadh for an extended period during the Ramadan Eid holidays and then having to return back to the old routine.  Particularly when coming back from a place like Mecca where every moment is filled non-stop with activity and late late nights are the norm.  What does this mean?  I’ll probably be going through “jet lag” symptoms for the next week where my days and nights will be off-kilter.  I’ll be going around bleary eyed with something of a dazed look on my face like I have not had enough of that morning wake-up coffee.  The same thing happened last year so I’m not surprised that it has also happened this year.  Last night I managed to stay away until 9pm but then could not keep my eyes open any longer so I retired for what I had hoped would be until a reasonable hour the next morning.  Unfortunately being awakened by someone who thought it would be nice to chat with my husband around midnight resulted in my not being able to drift off back to sleep.  After all, I had a good three solid hours of sleep so I found myself wide awake…again.   No use crying over spilled milk so rather than sit wide-eyed in the darkness I decided to just get up and be productive and hopefully tire myself out again.  The house is very tranquil with the quiet of the night.  Even my cats are smart enough to be sound asleep and not affected by my nighttime wanderings.

 

If I were going out each day to a regular office it would be easier and faster to return back to a normal routine.  However I recently left my position at King Faisal Hospital and have been doing freelancing and independent consulting instead.  I like the flexibility and diversity as a freelancer.  And, also happy to remark that for one who is willing to take initiative, market oneself and network, numerous opportunities avail. 

 

Today will be a long day as I’m determined regardless of how drowsy I may become to not succumb and take a nap.  However I do hope to manage a few hours sleep before what is considered the night period is over.  Time will tell if I am successful in this endeavor.

Innovative Techniques of Men in Saudi to meet Women

19 October 2007

Innovative Techniques of Men in Saudi to meet women

Due to the enforced segregation in the majority of Saudi Arabia it can prove difficult and challenging for males and females to meet one another or mix. As a result, many will use innovative and imaginative techniques. Most common of course are those who have “Bluetooth” on their mobiles which allows them to search for other active devices in the near area. So if for example a male is sitting in a shopping mall or is able to sit in a family section of a restaurant and sees some lovely ladies nearby who obviously have mobiles, he can have his Bluetooth search for other devices. If a device is identified as active, then using Bluetooth he can seek “permission” to send an sms or file or image to the other persons blue tooth. One must be careful of accepting unknown Bluetooth requests because in addition to this mechanism being used to discreetly exchange information, one can also receive viruses into their mobile phone via Bluetooth as well.

Other old techniques which are somewhat comical to observe is when a male will casually drop a piece of paper containing his name, phone number and sometimes more information about himself. At other times this may not even be dropped casually but even blatantly thrown at a woman.

And of course it goes without saying that nowadays the internet plays a major role in bringing together unrelated males and females in Saudi Arabia. They meet via chat rooms, news groups, etc. However in this capacity one must be very careful. For example I can cite one incident where a respectable woman thought she had been corresponding with another woman. They had been exchanging benign correspondence about living in the Kingdom and things to do and life in general. Eventually they decided to meet for lunch. This took place in Jeddah which is more open, especially in regards to places where individuals can meet. Imagine the woman’s surprise and shock when instead of meeting her female online correspondent, it was instead a young Saudi male!

Yes; the overall rule in the Kingdom is segregation and that males and females are only supposed to be mixed with “approved” family. Yet to deny or disregard that attempts such as I have described above do not happen in the Kingdom is comparable to burying ones head in the sand. If a male and female want to meet others they will find their ways.

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