Saudi Arabia: The Barter System is Alive and Well

Some traditions from days past never die out as illustrated in this Arab News article.  A Saudi who has his farm within Jeddah’s municipality was informed that he would need to pay SAR 248,000 (US$66,133.28) in order to get electricity since his property was two meters from the nearest line.  Now for anyone that is a significant amount of money and especially for a villager who supports himself through his farm.  Towards showing his intent and desire for electricity, he took it upon himself to deliver what he believed to be the equivalent amount…in goats.

This story also reminds me of an experience that Abdullah had in Pakistan.  He had provided some assistance to a Pakistani national.  This individual, towards showing his assistance had three gorgeous peacocks delivered to Abdullah’s home in Islamabad.  Abdullah was not expecting such a thoughtful gift and at the time did not have a pen for the peacocks.  As a result, until a pen was built, his security guards were spending most of their time chasing the peacocks around the neighborhood!

8 Responses

  1. Security guards spending all their time chasing peacocks around the neighborhood – am in hysterics and hoping my neighbors won’t try to kill me for the resulting noise…

  2. It was a sight to see! I never knew peacocks could jump so high in order to get out and about!

  3. What a cool story! I just love it!! I can just imagine those poor guards with the peacocks!!! But what a wonderful thought in giving them for a gift.

  4. Ha, ha! Gotta love the “Green Truth” aka Arab News!!! Just as well Abdullah was sent peacocks and not goats! A friend of mine’s husband was offered a couple of camels in exchange for her (as a joke…), we had great fun imagining the camels being delivered to the compound….

  5. wow, but that’s still a LOT of goats.. assuming a minimum goat price of $1k per head, that’s 66 goats,but most probably double or triple that number!!!

    oh my lord.. still.. my other question is, why charge so much for 2 meters worth?!

  6. Oh, how funny! I bet those guards couldn’t wait for the pens to be built :)

  7. what an awesome gift to receive!

  8. The guards actually helped to build the pens!

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