Posts Tagged ‘Saudis’

Saudis feel obligated to read books so they can be considered as one of those intellectual societies.  It’s not that Saudis don’t like to read, if you walk down the street you will witness that the majority of men carry newspapers under their arm pits… as if it’s attached to their body.  On the other hand, Saudi women love their magazines; from gossip tabloids to how you wear your make up (or as I call it magic) so it looks natural, to the newest bullshit diet for this year that makes you lose ten pounds in two days … women just love their magazines.

With the domination of newspapers and magazines, books feel left out, lonely, and  hopeless in their book shelves.   But there are a bunch of world savers; aka “we can make a difference  Saudis”, who are campaigning to promote book reading.  The type of books that Saudis “enjoy” reading are books that have to deal with self-improvement and how to make you a better person.   It’s not like Saudis lack those aspects; but they like the fact that they can implement some things that they  learn from those books  and gain a sense of intelligence amongst their peers which make them feel good about themselves.   Next time you have a conversation or discussion with your friends, mention that you been reading one of those books that help you achieve your goals, and you will be looked at as if you are a professor from Harvard.

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playstation-3-game-consoleWho said video games are only for kids?  Many generations in Saudi love to play video games.  However,this post is not about Saudis who find their joy in playing video games.  I will not talk about video games in general, it’s specifically about the one and the only game console that has been dominating every house in Saudi for decades… allow me to introduce the Sony PlayStation.  The Sony PlayStation is the game console that every Saudi kid dreamed about and strived to get A’s in his classes in order for his parents to buy them one.

“BLAY” Station became a must in any Saudi household…it is one of those necessities that is a must have for a Saudi household… like TVs, dining table, sleeping beds, etc.   PlayStation became so popular that people started referring any video game console by calling it PlayStation.   Mention XBox to Saudis and they will think that you are talking about a new coffee shop in town.  Walk into any bachelor pad in Saudi, you will witness three entertainment aspects every one has in common; people playing cards (Bal’ot), hookah, and PlayStation.   Don’t be surprise if you see a bunch of Saudis reading Japanese.  They mastered the language by playing  the number one game on PlayStation for years, which is Winning Eleven (a Japanese soccer game).

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Stock_exchangeWhen Saudis talk about investing, it’s usually about investing in the stock market…period.   Not real estate, bonds, funds, etc.   For some Saudis, the stock market is considered the easiest way to invest with less “physical” work, at least that what some people think.   Since casinos are illegal in Saudi Arabia and gambling is considered forbidden in Islam, the stock market can be the next best thing.  I know investors have to do some market research or hire a broker, but that doesn’t guarantee you will have higher return.  Otherwise everyone will do their long ass homework about stocks and bonds or spend more money to hire those soft talking sophisticated brokers.  Therefore, Saudis pick simpler ways to invest!

One way to invest in the stock market is based on your instinct, if you’re feeling lucky… go for it and pray for the best. Another common way is to ask your peers and they will tell you that they made a lot money last week on a certain stock and you should invest in it.   Of course stocks don’t stay at the same status everyday…that’s why people spend  half their lives staring at the stock screens, but some Saudis ignore the fact the stocks change and start investing in a certain stock…assuming they are going to make a lot money just like their friends.


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text“Texting” SMS messages is the number one hobby in Saudi Arabia, from funny sexual jokes to cheesy love messages! Those are the type of messages that take most memory space in Saudis’ cellphones.  By coming up with phones that have their own mini keyboard such as the all-astonishingly amazing Blackberry, messages that used to take half and hour to type, now takes 3 seconds to type and hit send.  The best sound of melody that any Saudi will enjoy is the sound of their phone’s ringtone when they receive a random message.  It is like receiving a gift on your birthday, you don’t know what it’s going to be… hoping it will be something worth your excitement!

In 1994, the telecommunications industry came up with a new technology called “Bluetooth”.  Bluetooth technology took SMS messages to a new level; and for Saudis,  it changed the perception of data transformation and it took Saudi Arabia by storm.  For many Saudis, a phone with no Bluetooth (which is impossible to find one nowadays), is like a car in Saudi with no A/C.

We might be heading into an era where people don’t speak or it seems as though they have forgotten how to speak directly with each other and start communicating with text messages and some weird symbols!

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alkhabsaGenerosity is one of the most positive characteristics that many Saudis have in common.  Some believe that part of being an Arab is that hospitality and exaggeration in welcoming guests  are serious duties. The best and safest way to show your generous side that has been hiding for a long time is to invite your friends and guests to a lovely dinner.   Breakfast or lunch will not work due to the Saudi schedule that starts from 1 pm (although I know some people will wake up early for free food).  When it comes to eating, Saudis like to enjoy every bite and make sure that they taste everything on the table;  all of this is time-consuming; therefore, dinnertime is the best time for Saudis in case they are planning to spend more than two days eating.

For newbies in hosting dinner parties, I just want to say that pizza will not work…it’s either a whole animal; usually lamb or some certain type of herbivorous mammal or nothing at all.   Make sure there is dessert after dinner, and yes fruits can be dessert and for extra street credit serving tea after words will be the best option.

Dinner invitations will always be a part of  Saudi culture that leads to bonding amongst each other, making new friends, and solving many problems… but seriously, who doesn’t like free dinners?

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The only time you will see all members of a Saudi family gathered beside lunch/dinner time is when a game show is on.  Automatically each member knows exactly where to sit in the living room, as if they have assigned seats.  If the game show is about trivia questions…yelling and shouting answers directly at the TV is what Saudis do best.  Well, first of all no matter how loud you can shout the answers, the participants on the game show will never hear you!  Second, there are no prizes for viewers if they got the correct answer.

Network owners realized the love that Saudis have for game shows, therefore, most of the Arabic networks flood their channels with these type of programs. Ironically, some shows that have viewers calling and participating charge a lot of money for every minute you are on the phone with them.  So make sure you save all the money that you might win on the show, because you will need every Riyal when you get your phone bill.

Nowadays, Saudis are not stuck with music channels every time they want to watch TV, thank God they have options… now they can pick either watching music clips or game shows.

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Dubai_-_United_Arabic_EmiratesIf you combine the top three major cities in the world together; New York, London, and Tokyo the result will be Dubai city.  With spectacular design of  buildings to one of a kind hotels, this out of the ordinary city put the Middle East on the map.  For Saudis, Dubai is a fantasy land where every thing is possible and dreams come to reality.  The fact that Dubai is close to Saudi is what makes it really tempting to visit, but Saudis start to think twice when they hear the cost of expenses.  Dubai is known for their skyrocketing  living standards and over priced expenses.  Therefore, Saudis will be asking themselves, what is wrong with Egypt as a vacation spot?

Some people consider Dubai overrated, but that’s what makes the city appealing to Saudis.  Back in the days, if some one ask you, “Where are you going to spend your summer vacation?”, and you said,” Dubai”, the response will be “oh OKAY” as if it’s not a big deal.  Nowadays tell any Saudi that you are going to Dubai, I bet all you will hear is “Wow nice,  take me with you!”.

Today Dubai can be added to the list of top cities that Saudis like to visit, next to London, Paris, and Orlando.

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StarbucksThanks to Starbucks, now Frappuccino and Latte been added to the Saudi vocabulary.  The gourmet coffee empire is one of the most recognizable brands in the U.S and recently in Saudi Arabia.  Starbucks shops’ theme colors are known for their royal green and white letters .  Maybe Saudis are subliminally attracted to Starbucks, because of the common colors that you can find in Starbucks shops and the Saudi flag; green with white letters,…who knows?

There is a certain lifestyle that drive young hip Saudis to go to  Starbucks and spend a lot of money for the sake of having their cup of coffee.  Usually Starbucks’ image is associated with COOL people who like to carry their Macbook laptops wherever they go, listen to their iPod,  and enjoy this “Americana” lifestyle that been dominating a lot of young Saudis’ manifesto.  Some people  enjoy the culture that Starbucks hold more than having an expensive cup of cappuccino.   Just by holding a cup of coffee that has the Starbucks logo on it , it makes you feel that you belong to a special click in society.  So next time you order coffee from Starbucks make sure you keep the “to go” cup with you as a social acceptance tool.

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thobe_abyaSaudis no longer live like Chess board pieces where men wear white and women wear black.  Saudi Thobes and Abayas have been upgraded to new  and stylish trends, with different colors and fancy graphics… call them the Versace of Saudi clothes.  Nowadays, stylish Thobes and Abayas are considered the normal outfit for everyday wear; as a matter of fact, people who still wear the old traditional Thobe and Abaya will be looked at as if they come from the past through a time machine.

It is well known that part of a Saudi woman’s addictions are top designer brands.  You see them styling Louis Vuitton or Chanel Abayas.  Now if you ask me, ” Do Louis Vuitton make Abayas as part of their clothing line?”.   I am not sure, but everything is possible in Saudi.  Other Saudis like to wear their Abayas with a lot of glitter, as if they fell inside a disco ball.

Saudi men compete with women when it comes to how stylish their traditional clothes are.  From fancy graphics or embroidary to Thobes that make you ask, “Is it a man’s dress?”.  In the end of the day, Thobes will be Thobes and Abayas will be Abayas no matter what.

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RestaurantIt does not matter what kind of restaurant it is; as long its new in town, Saudis will camp in front of it. The grand opening of a new restaurant is always critical, Saudis always plan a strategy ahead of time to get in first.  It’s not like the restaurant will change their menu or their food after a week from the grand opening; but people like to be the first to try it, just to tell about their experience to the rest of their family and friends…. it’s the idea of telling people about new stuff in town is what Saudis like.

All of a sudden, each member of the family will turn into a food critic, and start rambling on how good the food is.   Not only food is being judged; but also service, decor, and other people who are sitting in the restaurant.  If  someone found  an item on the menu that they like, that’s it..he or she will be ordering the same order aka “the usual” until the  restaurant runs out of it.

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