Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Don'ts in Saudi Arabia

1. Never ride a private car driven by Arab men. You might end up in jail charged as prostitute. Likewise, be aware that if a woman is found in a car with a man who isn't her husband, a close relative or a designated chauffeur she will be liable, under Islamic law, to be accused of either adultery (if she is married) or prostitution (if she isn't.)

2. Don’t keep pictures of your partner showing intimacy or any nude picture in your wallet.

3. Don't go walking around in skimpy clothes (even if you're a man). Saudis will be offended by the sight of men wearing shorts, vests, etc. If you want to go jogging, wear track suit bottoms (or whatever they're called these days) and a T-shirt. If you do walk around not wearing much during the day, the sun will burn you to a crisp anyway.

4. Don’t urinate in public. Don't leave the cubicle door open and show them that you are urinating while you are standing.

5. Arabs are easily attracted with clean-shaved Filipinos. Wear some mustache if you want not to be trailed by them on streets.

6. Don't bring any magazines featuring pictures of partially clothed women or daring men into the country. Don’t bring videos, with the exception that you'll be delayed for even longer as the customs man will insist on watching them. If you insist, well, better save it in USB flask disk. (There is a story, of a traveler who brought in a video recording of a football match. He, and everyone else, had to wait for two hours as all the customs men went off to watch the game (lol).

7. Avoid driving alone. The traffic in Riyadh is very dangerous. Fatality rates here appallingly high. Remember that most of the road signs are in Arabic (although some of the motorways have signs in our alphabet) and that, even if you can read Arabic, the generally secretive Saudi culture means that most roads you might want to find are not signposted. A lot don't even have names. Remember also that the Islamic justice system means that if you injure somebody in an accident, even if it's not your fault, you are expected to compensate him/her. Do you still want to drive?

8. Don't make any disparaging remarks about Islam, even if you think no-one is listening. In fact, it's best not to mention religion at all.

9. Don't mess with the women. The all-over black veil which Saudi women are obliged to wear makes for some bizarre sights - particularly if the woman in question wears glasses and puts them on outside the veil. Under the chadour, many of the women are extremely trendily dressed. But seriously, Saudi culture takes a dim view of any women having any sort of contact with men outside of their immediate family. Don't talk to any woman you might bump into in the street, don't stare at them, in fact it's best simply to act like you haven't seen them. If a woman says anything to you, it's best not to respond. The veil means that people can't see her lips moving, but they can see yours.

10. Don't go staggering across the street singing rugby songs and do not attempt to give any booze to a Muslim.

11. Don’t dye your hair. Many Saudi men consider blonde hair to be the last word in exotic sexual temptation.

12. Don’t try to enter a mosque without first asking permission. It’s unlikely that you will be allowed in. Don’t walk on a prayer mat or in front of any person at prayer and try not to stare at people who are praying. Don’t try to enter the Holy sites of the areas surrounding Mecca and Medina. The roads are well signposted to notify everybody of this restriction. If a non-Muslim is found within the prohibited areas, he’s likely to be assaulted and will be afforded no protection against the assailants.

13. Don’t beckon to people with a finger, as this is considered particularly impolite. Arabs might use such a gesture to summon a dog.

14. During Ramadan, don’t eat, drink or smoke anywhere where you can be seen by Muslims during the hours of daylight.


Richard Lionheart said...

Hehe :) Kahit ganyan sa Saudi...

Gusto ko pa ring makapunta diyan...

Hehe :)

Ewan ko lang... Parang exciting kasi e!

chase said...

wow, i'll definitely remember those things..
but there's no hope for me there.
i can't seem to grow some facial hair.

yoshke said...

wow. very, very interesting. nice to know.

uh, i think arab men are sexy. but then of course, i havent been up close and personal with any. ehehehe.

Anonymous said...

Hello every one !!!
I came across this page by accident .. my parents are fillipino but are BORN MUSLIMS from Mindinao.. ive lived in the USA my whole life i have one question.

I noticed alot of the issues that occur when working in ISLAMIC countires comes from the misunderstanding of customs etc.. Is there some sorta of program you can attend in the philipines that can instruct how to conduct yourself in Saudi Arabia before you arrive ? may be learn basic language skills and knowledge about Islmaic customs etc...