# 9 Talking on the phone for hours

samsung-sgh-p180People who think that women are the only one who talk for hours and hours on the phone are mistaken. In Saudi, men and women compete when it comes to talking on the phone, it’s like  telecommunication companies will hand prizes to those consume the most minutes. From friends to family to lovers, nowadays Saudis are all wired.
For those people who talk too much on the phone, of course one cell phone is not enough. The average Saudi has at least three cell phones plus the telephone at home. Don’t be surprised if you saw a Saudi talking on the phone, text messaging with the other, and checking messages with the third phone. Family reunion became like telemarketer’s office; every one is on the phone and no one wants to speak with each other in person, or maybe they are but through their cell phones even if they are located in the same house!
With Bluetooth head set, Saudis will be on the phone 24/7, and it will not help if  a man wears Bluetooth head seat with his traditional head cover (Shumagg), hiding his ear pieace under it, people will think that he is talking to them. I can see it happen!

# 8 Pepsi

pepsiSaudi Arabia is a Pepsi country. Pepsi or some call it Bebsi..Saudis love it!   Not Coca Cola nor any other kind of Cola, just cold refreshing Pepsi. Offer a Saudi Pepsi lover a Coca Cola, and see how he will look at you and ask you nicely if you have Pepsi, tell him it all tastes the same then see him flip out and start arguing with you for hours.
Pepsi goes hand and hand with the all traditional Saudi dish Kabsah, Pepsi compliments spices in the rice and chicken, which  leaves you with a feeling of full satisfaction and getting you ready for the afternoon nap. When it comes to how Saudis like to drink their Pepsi, they prefer to drink it in cans, for some reason it tastes better than bottle, and for kids it is more convenient to drink from cans…when they are done,  they can step on it and transform it into a hockey puck shape and start playing soccer with it.
Go to any vending machine in Saudi Arabia and you will find more than one Pepsi vending machine standing next to each other ganging on a one poor Coca Cola machine, plus I will not be surprised if those Coca Cola vending machines contains Pepsi in them. Pepsi is the number one beverage in Saudi!

# 7 Online Chat

chatFrom MSN messenger to Skype; Saudis have it all…these programs are a must in Desktops, laptops, PDAs, and cell phones. Online chatting is the number one time killer among teenagers and Saudis who think they are still teenagers, especially if they are chatting with the opposite sex. I feel sorry for those  parents who think that their kids are computer prodigies;  seeing them in front of the computer for 24 hours a day, thinking that they are going to be the next Bill Gates and come up with a Saudi version of Microsoft Windows. What parents don’t know is that, their kids are trying to meet every single person out there through the World Wide Web.
Since it’s difficult for young boys to interact with the opposite sex due to the strict regulations. Boys will search online for any female nicknames that look like or might be a female nickname, and hoping for a positive response. The whole online world and cyber interaction can escalate to the next level, and don’t be surprise if two people set up a date or so through the internet, and end up  married and live happy ever after…

# 6 Armani Exchange

alxOr I should call it “Saudi Exchange”?   Every 1 out of 3 young Saudis own at least several items from Armani Exchange.  Clothing store owners realized the popularity of the brand; therefore they started selling fake Armani crap… buy a plain white T-shirt & stick  an Armani exchange logo on it and watch the money pile up.
If you are trying to figure out if that guy is wearing an Armani shirt; trust me…you will know!  He will make sure that the brand logo is up on your face.  Saudis who buy Armani shirts will make sure that the logo is the size of an ad in a highway billboard.  From hats, shirts, belts, and jeans, the A|X logo is every where you go… especially in places where young hip Saudis like to hang out.
The funny thing to me is that Saudis who like to be unique and wear things that no one has, are realizing the Armani Exchange epidemic…they too can’t resist the power of A|X, so they will wear any other brand.  But I am sure if you look at his underwear it will say loudly and proudly Armani Exchange.

# 5 Wearing Huge Shades

huge_sunglassesWearing HUGE sunglasses has became a fashion statement among Saudis. Boys and girls are now rocking the huge Prada, Gucci, and Armani sunglasses;  from fat to skinny, tall or short, young or old. If it looks good on you,  go ahead and wear it…but I don’t need to see a group of people who look like a bunch of  flies walking all over the place.
One friend tried on some huge shades and asked me if it looks good on him… I told him all you need is two wings behind your back to complete the outfit.
When it comes to the gender who has two X chromosomes, isn’t it enough that almost 99.9% of Saudi women look EXACTLY the same when they go out wearing the black Abaya?   Now they make us even more confused if we go to a public place and see those women wearing huge shades that cover half of their face?   For instance, a kid is trying to find his mom in a grocery store and see 20 women with huge shades and black Abayas in front of him?  I guess it means using the process of elimination?
Since when is wearing shades inside malls or coffee shops the “cool” thing to do?  I guess the sun never sets on a bad boy?   Just wondering…

# 4 Car Drifting

driftcar_2
Some Saudis call car drifting a sport, but sports are athletic activities requiring skill or physical ability and are often of a competitive nature. To an outsider watching Saudis drift, they basically explain it as “Saudis gone wild”, and has nothing to do with the sport definition. Usually Saudis develop their drifting “skills” during their free time.   Instead of using their free time in a productive way, kids like to hit the streets and try to figure out how to find the best way to wreck their brand new cars. Give a Saudi kid a Toyota Camry and watch him write his name on the street with the vehicle’s tires. Engineers and automobile designers would be amazed to see the vehicles that they built can actually do all those crazy maneuvers!
Why pay money to watch a show, if you can go out into Saudi’s streets and watch kids perform some acrobatic moves with their cars with no seat belts on… just call it the Saudi circus!   It is the feeling of the adrenaline rush and the desire of social acceptance from their peers that make Saudi kids want to keep on drifting!

# 3 Chilling in Cafes

FILES-SAUDI-WOMEN-RIGHTSChilling in cafes is one of Saudis specialties,  and what I mean with chilling is staying forever in those hot places almost every day and night. With a country that has no bars and pubs, cafes are popular destinations for Saudis who like to hang out with friends. Saudis talk about every single topic that you can think about in those cafes from sports to politics, to sex and cars, etc.
Cafes in Saudi lays under different categorizes. You have the up scale high class want to be, which you will find people who act sophisticated drinking their cappuccino and reading their daily news paper and mostly claiming that they know everything that it is going on in the stock market. Other cafe category will be, the ghetto type cafe, which you will find one cooling fan standing in the corner of the cafe trying to cool every one. In addition those ghetto cafes usually serve local tea and coffee brands, but you don’t want to know how long the tea or coffee been in the pot, maybe days or weeks, just drink and enjoy. Last category will be the hip cafes that young generation likes to attend. From watching soccer games to bragging who has the most girls’ numbers on their phone, this cafes are the most popular among Saudis.

# 2 Hookah/Shesha

hookahThis sophisticated device became a must in any Saudi household. With more than 50 tobacco flavors to choose from it is the Kool-Aid of smoking devices. Usually people in Saudi like to smoke hookah with tea, coffee, or soft drink as a perfect combination to set the right mood (Mazaj). It is funny how Saudis who smoke hookah always try to convince themselves that hookah is way less harmful than smoking cigarettes, supposedly the water that you add to the hookah will filter all the hazard substances that comes from the tobacco, it is just the magic of H2O.
Hookah’s popularity relays on different perspectives. The way it looks with all those sexy curves that make it appealing to guys, forcing them to spend some quality time with their hookahs. Blowing smoke from hookah or cigarettes been always a COOL image that it is associated with the smokers, especially blowing smoke from a hookah makes you feel like an Arabian prince in the desert chilling in his tent with fine belly dancers all over the place. Finally, hookah been always an object that it is associated with the middle east which make it unique in different part of the world, the same concept as all American cowboy cigarettes.

# 1 Ba’lot

cardsThe number one card game in Saudi Arabia. It has become such an integral part of the Saudi entertainment culture, that almost every 1 out of 3 people know how to play it or knows someone who knows how to play it. This game is so popular that the Saudi Ministry of Higher Education is thinking about teaching Ba’lot in schools! Saudis who do not know how to play Ba’lot will be looked at in disbelief…as if they are not really Saudis!

Ba’lot is a fun game with at least 4 people playing. This card game is well known for its highly competative aspect; sometimes players fight with each other for a small mistake occurred during the game caused by one of the players (you better know what are doing, otherwise your ass will be kicked!). Saudis are so obsessed with Ba’lot, that some of them carry game cards in their wallets waiting for the best opportunity to play. Players take this game so seriously, do not be surprised if friends become enemies, married couples get divorced, and people bet their houses and cars for the sake of Ba’lot.