Monday, July 30, 2007

Summer in Saudi

Internet connectivity is now ubiquitous in Saudi Arabia. Even small villas, offices, hotels have in-room internet connections - and seemingly every coffee shop, as well as increasing numbers of restaurants, now has Wi-Fi.

But again, even the thought of being able to browse the web over dinner has only come with the last couple of generations of mobile devices. Ultra-portable laptops are now sufficiently powerful to offer a usable experience, and PDAs and mobile e-mail devices are also now user-friendly enough for day-to-day use.

Even though Saudi Arabia may traditionally shut down for the summer months (temperature reaches 50C) and school vacation time because more Saudis flee the heat, heading to London, Paris and New York, the rest of them keep going and some need to stay in contact with their businesses. So you’ll see more Saudis in coffee shops carrying their laptops.

Personally, I'm not sure I'd relish the experience of dining alongside my laptop, catching up on work e-mails - but presumably there are sufficient numbers of workaholics, or connectivity-junkies, out there to make this a viable proposition. I prefer to stay home with my WI-FI connections… more relaxing, less expense..with maximum security. Anyway, who would dare to open sexually provoking sites in public, you might end up caught unaware by Mutawwahs (religious police).

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