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# 71 Patchi

patchiPatchi chocolate (or Batchi chocolate with capital B; this how most Saudis like to pronounce it) is the perfect gift you can give when you are planning to attend any kind of occasion. For instance, if you are attending a holiday family gathering, a graduation party, or even if you are going to see your future in-laws… Patchi chocolate is the go-to gift. Honestly, I don’t know why Saudis like to buy Patchi chocolate as a gift; first it is not that cheap and second the taste is not that great, it’s a mediocre milk chocolate with fancy and shiny wrap around it. Back in the days, Patchi chocolate was the only place in Saudi Arabia where you can get fancy shmancy chocolate as a gift, until it became a tradition to get it for any event, what so ever.

If you walk to any Patchi store you will think that you just entered Buckingham Palace to visit the Queen; you will see people wearing three-piece suits with white gloves on… welcoming you with a soft smile and low voice… and once you choose the chocolate to buy, they will bring it laying on a pillow as if they are brining you the Queen’s crown to put it on, royal treatment .

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# 70 Lebanese Food

When we talk about Kebabs, Hummus, Falafel, Shawarma; we refer to one of the most popular cuisines in Saudi Arabia or the safest bit to go to when Saudis feel hungry; you can never go wrong with grilled chicken on skewers. That is why you see Shawerma and Kebabs places all over the kingdom; it is basically safe and convenient. For the sake of this blog I will call it Lebanese food. We can argue all day long on the actual origin of those types of food, but who cares?

mix grill

The Lebanese food places here have different styles and sets, you will see the fancy five stars restaurants where they add olive oil and garnishing to their hummus so they upgrade their hummus from just a plane ground chickpeas to a 50 SAR plane ground chickpeas. Those places are suitable for newlyweds … you can see couples dipping pieces of pita bread into their plate of hummus and feeding each other (romance at its best) … and finish their meal with some giggles here and there and of course some warm Kanafa (middle eastern dessert). The other type of Lebanese food places is my favorite; usually they are located in neighborhoods that are not advisable to visit during nighttime. The queue is long and people are very close to each other as if you are setting up dominos pieces to fall against each other. Those places also serve meat on skewers, but the meat is usually mysterious meat; it’s a guessing game from here … bon appétit.

# 69 MBC

mbc_OGThe most watched TV channel in Saudi Arabia … and trust me it’s not by choice.

At first, MBC started broadcasting with one channel only before it was called MBC 1, now MBC has more channels than you can imagine; they cover categories such as, channels for kids, movies, sports, western TV shows, Bollywood movies, a channel dedicated to the Egyptian fans; called MBC Egypt and the list keeps getting bigger and bigger … don’t be surprised when you see MBC for pets, MBC for fat “couch potato” people that shows only food commercials all day, and you never know maybe one day you will see MBC 18+ it will be called MBC XXL (for my Hotbird satellite fans).

# 68 Vimto

VimtoSo big, so black, so thick, so sweet … I am describing the most popular beverage Saudis like to drink during the holy month of Ramadan when the time comes to break their fast. No one really knows why Saudis really enjoy Vimto only in Ramadan than any other month. See, Ramadan and Vimto bond goes way back in history … Rumor has it, that this syrupy drink was mistaken with oil when Saudis were looking for the black gold all over the kingdom; FYI Vimto and oil has almost the same color, consistency, and texture. Back in the days, while Saudis were drilling for oil … all of a sudden Vimto ejaculated out of the ground and showered everyone around that area, and they thought it was oil, but someone tasted this mysterious substance and said no way this is oil; its so sweet (as if he really tasted oil before!). Afterwards, the Saudis decided to make it a beverage for celebration since the real oil was discovered few minutes after. And there is no better time for celebration other than breaking your fast in Ramadan with your family drinking Vimto.

Side note: You can’t drink Vimto straight from the bottle, since it has a texture of maple syrup, therefore, you need to mix it with water … and to get the right drinkable consistency you need a professional chemist to do so, because it doesn’t come with instructions.

# 67 Bahrain

manama_skylineOnce I asked a Western fellow who works here in Saudi Arabia, what is the best thing you experienced in Saudi? He said … Bahrain. See, Bahrain is the Las Vegas of the middle east (sorry Dubai), at least to some Saudis it is the sin city where they can get drunk as a fish and fornicate anything that walks. But Bahrain has also a PG 13 option to Saudi families who plan to go there and spend their holidays and weekends … But I don’t want to write about Bahrain as if you are reading from TripAdvisor, but let us give this kingdom (yes it is a kingdom) a credit where credit is due, they have nice shopping malls, live entertainment for all ages, and of course we can’t forget the cinemas and movie theaters … you know how Saudis and cinemas goes, we love movies, that is why we go to Bahrain … to watch movies; not sure which movie to watch but I just want to sit in a big dark room with bunch of strangers looking at a big screen and eat popcorn. Welcome to Bahrain! or as I like to call it Saudi Arabia’s playground.

# 66 Home Remedies

oilWhen Saudis get sick or don’t feel well … doctors and hospitals are not their first option. After going to bunch of exorcists in the neighborhood to cure their sickness with no results, Saudis will go back to their homes to come up with remedies that they inherited from their old ones and pray for the best. See, back in the days, medicine wasn’t that advance, so people used to cook their own medicine and mix shit up in order to cure themselves. And until now Saudis swear by those home remedies. Let me give you an example of what I mean, for instance if you suffer from stomach ache and nausea you will be recommended to drink cold 7up on an empty stomach, it has to be 7up not any other soft drink…not sure why. Another interesting remedy is rubbing extra virgin olive oil (make sure its virgin, don’t ask me how to figure it out but I am sure there are a lot of ways to know if the olive oil is virgin or not), rub the oil into your head if you have sever headache and keep pouring oil until you look like a bowl of hummus.

With the social media age, now people became all of sudden specialized doctors, so next time you don’t feel well just ask anyone in your social media groups and he or she will recommend you some BS remedy.

saudi_aramco_newThe pride and joy for all Saudis. This company is the main source (some argue is the only source) of Saudi Arabia’s continuous income over the years, it is the cash cow… and not any regular cow, it is a fat stubborn heavy chunky cow that keeps giving. This blog is not about Aramco the company per se, it is about why Saudis like Aramco … more of why Saudis would like to work for this giant company. Therefore, If you want to know more about Aramco as a corporation and its businesses; first that means you been living under a rock. Second, you can “Google” it.

Since day one, and Armaco’s strategy with their employees is to pamper each “Aramco-nanian” and spoil the hell out of them, comparing to other employers in the kingdom; with attractive salaries, housing programs, recreation centers, beach camps and more. Those kind of benefits make it appealing to the average joe; since we are in Saudi we will name him the average Abdullah. So why Aramco is offering all this to their employees? simply because they can; period. Moreover, Aramco with its state of the art facilities that operates on human blood, it has the capability to brain wash their workers and make them think that they are superior human beings and they are God gift to earth, so next time you are in the area and you see someone acting like the persian king from the movie 300, you know in which company he or she is working for.