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# 52 SnapChat

snapchatWhen it comes to the social media game, Saudis with no doubt are always on top of it. That is why when the world introduced SnapChat … it took Saudis minimal effort to figure it out (I think); poking it here and there … scratching their heads … then Eureka! then the rest is history. Let me break it down for you, SnapChat didn’t come with a user manual … so expect people to use or should I say abuse it the way they like. Is SnapChat meant to record every minute of your day? or share with the world your opinion on everything? or show  how your sense of humor is absolutely has nothing to do with comedy? or report high school gossip? or ask the world to admire your ass? no one knows but I still feel that Saudis figured it out.

Side note: Apparently, Twitter is not enough to express your self and convey your ideas. You need now to watch opinionated-people video taping themselves expressing themselves. For attention-whores SnapChat came to the rescue. I am not against SnapChat, but why do I feel this App gathered the stalkers and self-centered and put them all in one platform to deal with each other … genius!

# 51 Desserts

3786PHW_21356_r48416-1.tifNo meal will be completed without finishing it strong with a sugary, creamy, feeling big time guilty dessert. Speaking of sugar rush, if you observe Saudis eating desserts you might think they will be running all over the place from that energy that was generated by the amount of sugar in their bodies. However, what Saudis experience is the total opposite, an over dose effect that will knock the hell out of them.

In some societies, desserts are considered as a privilege after a good meal… it is a nice thing to have, but in Saudi it is mandatory; you may hear the head of the family asking with full confidence after finishing his meal … So what’s for dessert?
With the tsunami movement of people taking photos of their food wherever they go, especially photos of desserts, restaurants became more focus on how to come up with desserts that attract those youngsters … you will find red velvet cakes filled with chocolate mousse with an ice cream vanilla hidden in it … wrapped with brown sugar cinnamon crepe … drizzled all over the plate  by the one and only Nutella® chocolate and topping it off with a heavy load of whip cream and cherry on the top … all that just to be picture worthy!

# 50 WhatsApping

whatsapp-wallpaper4WhatsApp is so Saudi you will think they invented this smart phone application. The App icon is green and white similar to the Saudi flag, you know it is meant to be Saudi from day one, but who are we kidding? Last thing Saudis invented was mixing apple juice with sparkle water and calling it “Saudi champagne”.

Phone calls are so 1994, now Saudis use WhatsApp as their main channel of communication; from greetings to asking about each other… for a nation that treats socializing as a religion, WhatsApp made their life much easier.

From my experience I realized that there are five types of WhatsApp users in Saudi:

  1. The Comedian: Specialized in sending funny videos, pictures, and jokes. This user is the life of the party.
  2. The Mutw’a (religious): Specialized in sending prayers (دعاء), some kind of greetings with prayers, and all kind of religious texts. This user makes you feel as if you are an infidel and trying to convert you to islam .
  3. The Reporter: Specialized in sending breaking news… the Reporter will always send the latest and current news from any kind, even if it is fake; the reporter will always share them first.
  4. The Doctor: Specialized in sending all kind of gibberish cures and treatments. For instance they will send something like if you mix lemon with dog shit and rub it on your forehead, you will get rid of headaches for ever.
  5. The audience: Specialized in not sending anything, just watching and replying with smileys ;).

ahmedThe man the myth the legend … allow me to introduce to you Mr. Ahmad Al-Shugairi. Saudis see Mr. Al-Shugairi as the world saver who will save them from all evil …  that is why we can call him Saudi “Grendizer”( غراندايزر). Ahmad started airing his famous TV show “Khawater”  almost 10 years ago, and from that point…people became glued to their TV screens watching his show with high emotions and “sighing” on every scene that touches their delicate hearts.

Mr. Al-Shugairi  is a true definition of success, and Saudis admire his great story and how he became a glowing star among other TV personalities. Basically, what Ahmad is conveying in his TV shows is simply how to be a good human being, and since nowadays the world started to drift away from their values and goodness, an example of a good human being is something unheard of, as if an alien came from another plant to show us how to be a good citizen of world …

Not all Saudis jump-in with Mr. Al-Shugairi’s wagon to go to Peter Pan’s Neverland, some see his ideas are out of reach with pessimistic views … but those people are the same people  who keep complaining about Saudi-summer-heat inside their air- conditioned homes.

# 48 Walking

walkingIf you build a public park with a walking track (ممشة) around it, Saudis will start marching towards it out of no where…It will look like one of the scenes from the classical movie The Wizard of Oz ; where Dorothy and her friends are walking on the famous yellow brick road.

One of the main theories why Saudis like to walk, is because it is a good exercise and most doctors recommend it; not running nor jugging … just simple walking. And since Saudis recently started to worry about their health and lifestyle, walking is the perfect “sport” for them. Now you might ask, but walking is what human beings suppose to do to move from a place to another, right? Yes, but for a nation 90% of its status are sitting still; laying in  couches, sitting in cars, sitting in offices, sitting at cafes and restaurants, sitting at parks,  sitting in waiting rooms, etc. walking is the prefect activity to start with.

I don’t mind people considering walking as a sport, but there is a big difference between sport walking with little bit fast paste, and walking as if you are site seeing at the Champs elysees -Paris talking on the phone (this is not what the fitness world meant by walking).

 

# 47 Burgers

cheeseburgerIf Saudis learned anything from the impact of globalization, it will be the love for burgers. Hamburgers were introduced to the kingdom long time ago, but only the past few years burgers became so popular. It used to be McDonalds, Burger King, and Hardee’s that dominated Saudi’s bellies. But nowadays, a new era of burgers are in… we can call them the Rolls Royce of burgers (gourmet). With jacked-up prices for one of those gourmet/angus/high quality/organic burgers it is not a big deal for a country most of their population are young and hip with daddy’s money in their pockets.

Saudis took burgers world to the next level, now they became burgers entrepreneur and started to establish burger joints and coming up with their own secret sauces (usually it is mayo and ketchup base) to compete with the big boys: Shake Shack, Fuddruckers, Elevation burger, etc. A side note just to make it clear, I am talking about burgers made from beef, because chicken burgers are for little girls.

# 46 Western people

busisnessmanIf you are blond and have blue eyes and speak with an American or British accent, you have a big chance of “making it” in Saudi Arabia … socially, financially , or whatever your goals are. Since Most of Saudis somehow were exposed to the Western world through media, travelling, education, networking, reading, you name it… the impact was substantial.

You will witness Saudis admiring Western people while talking or listening to them with a big smile on their faces or telling them lame jokes about why do Arabs marry four wives. I don’t mind the multicultural interaction, but as far as I know telling an American guy to eat with his hands or to repeat some bad Arabic words and laughing at him has nothing to do with culture exchange.

In the business world, here where you will see the real admiration of Western people. Let a well dressed (navy slim fit suit)British person stands in front of filthy-rich-big-belly management executives to sell and idea or to give them a consultation advice …basically you will be witnessing a hands-on hypnosis therapy session. This British person can tell the Saudi executives that we can invest in natural gas and I mean not the gas that comes as a by product from crude oil, but natural gas that  comes from human’s butts…yes butts, and they will buy-in with glazed eyes and a big clown-ish smile.