100 facts about the kingdom of Saudi Arabia through the eyes of a Russian.
Writes LJ-blogger rjunimogu.livejournal.com: Well, here I am, too, ripe for 100 facts about Saudi Arabia. These are my personal observations for 4.5 years on the east coast, in Hobar. On the absolute accuracy of the facts do not pretend.
1. Saudi Arabia occupies about 70% of the area of the Arabian Peninsula.
2. In 1932, when the SA was formed by the merger of two principalities, it was one of the poorest states in the world.
3. Previously, in the territory of Saudi Arabia, there were many small principalities. Many of the current names of the Saudis are directly related to those principalities. Many such families are the richest in the kingdom, after the Saud, of course.
4. The name of one of these families is known to almost everyone.
5. In 1938, the first oil was found, and now the SA is the first in terms of oil production in the world and one of the richest countries.
6. Power is inherited, only to members of the Al-Saud family.
7. The country lives under the strict laws of the Sharia (Islamic law), any public entertainment (theaters, cinemas, etc.) is prohibited.
8. However, there are also indulgences (I think, in connection with the events in the Middle East) – this year the king allowed women to vote in local elections to municipalities.
9. A couple of years ago we wanted to hold a film festival in Jeddah, but it was canceled on the eve of the opening under some plausible pretext.
10. A woman is a man without rights. He has no right to work (although women have recently started to appear at the reception in hospitals), he has no right to drive, he can not appear in public alone (only with a representative of the male family, even if the man is only 6 years old).
11. Women are trying to defend the right to drive cars and occasionally arrange protests, drive the streets behind the wheel. They catch, make suggestion and release bail for her husband. One was recently sentenced to flogging.
12. There are executions, but less than in the past.
13. For drugs – the death penalty. For alcohol – flogging, prison and deportation.
14. This does not prevent Hindus and Filipinos from cooking moonshine, called “sadyki”. The terrible thing, 60 degrees.
15. You can buy more noble drinks, whiskey, for example, but the bottle will cost about 300 bucks. Smuggling.
16. Much of the CA is a desert. In the south the desert is called Rub-al-Khali, Empty Quarter. There, the sand changes color during the day, depending on the temperature, from red in the morning to light yellow at lunch.
17. In the daytime in June-July, the temperature in the desert easily reaches 60 degrees and above.
18. On the east coast, the humidity periodically rises to 100%. At a temperature of 40-45 degrees.
19. On the west coast, high humidity is almost always present. But they do not have sand storms, as in the east.
20. Along the west coast there are the mountains of Hijaz and Asher. The highest point is 3353 m.
21. The capital is Riyadh, a huge city in the area, there are very few high-rise buildings. The average height of the building is five floors.
22. The machines are mostly American. Until the late 80’s, Japanese cars were practically gone, until one businessman (I do not remember what his name was) brought in a few dozen exclusive Japanese models and did not give them to the princes and all the nobility. Now Japanese cars are about half. European, too, is, but not enough.
23. Despite the fact that revenues allow buying decent cars, many people travel by car in the 70-80s. One of the most common machines is the Chevrolet Caprice Classic of the late 80’s.
2 4. They ride like a god put on the soul – the average speed in the city is 80-100 km / h, outside the city officially 120, but in fact, whoever can, but not less than 120.
25. It is not uncommon for a Saudi to drive a car and have a small child in his arms.
26. And they like to push the seat back as far back as possible, to fold the backrest, to bend the left leg or to rest on the left in the dashboard and steer so sideways and holding the steering wheel with one hand. Machines are almost everything with an automatic box.
27. Gasoline costs less than water. A bottle of water 0.6 liters costs 1 rial, 1 liter of gasoline – 0.6 rial. Something like this.
28. The restaurants are divided into a family section and a section for singles. Singles are not allowed to be married.
29. Generally, depending on the security of the security, a lonely Arab (or group of Arabs) may not be allowed into the mall. There are shopping centers only for family.
30. There are no stray animals. Well, almost no. Dogs saw a couple of times in almost 5 years, mostly cats, but very few.
31. Pet stores are available, you can buy a cat. But the Arabs do not keep animals alive, it is impossible.
32. Images of man and animals are forbidden by the Koran. People come out of the situation as they can, in Jeddah there is a monument that is not clear to what, but if you look closely, it looks like a camel.
33. Back in Jeddah, just dofiga of any incomprehensible monumental compositions – monuments to the kettle, mites, construction trowel, something else, I do not remember already.
34. Previously, and in photographs on publicity in crowded places people’s faces were wiped. Now it seems like they decided that the photo is a light painting, the light was given by Allah, which means that photography is a charity thing.
35. It is not recommended to photograph people without their consent, especially women and policemen.
36. There is nothing to photograph at all – around wherever you spit or the government building, or security checkpoint, or a compound for foreigners.
37. I tried to photograph a fire engine in Jeddah – there and then a police car appeared from under the ground, almost took away the camera. A friend otmazal.
38. Three key Arabic words are Inshallah, Bukra and Maalesh. Inshallah – like “God forbid”, for all the will of Allah, bukra – tomorrow, Maales – well, hell with it.
39. Accordingly, Inshalla is added wherever there is mention of any plans. Bukra inshalla can mean “maybe tomorrow”, and “never”. In general, the bukra is a time gap between now and never.
41. Despite the proximity of the Persian Gulf, there are practically no boats and yachts. There are few hydrocycles. Windsurfers saw once.
42. The favorite entertainment is to drive by car to the sand dune up the slope. The height of the dune is 30-40 meters, the elevation angle is rather steep. Some try to do it on cars.
43. There is practically no tree, desert. Arabs like to travel to the desert for picnics, with tents, barbecues, etc.
44. There are unwritten laws of the desert – if you see a car on the roadside in a deserted place – stop, maybe you need help.
45. Saudi Arabia is a very filthy country. Tons of garbage along the roads, on the beaches. Flying packages, plastic bottles.
46. A normal footwear problem, since Arabs wear mostly sandals and slippers.
47. In general, they are not very accustomed to European clothes. Pants are always short. Some absolutely ugly shoes.
48. A combination of traditional Arabic dress (a tomb is called) and a shoe with socks almost to the shin – it’s generally hell.
49. The Internet is seriously moderated, sites with the slightest hint of pornography are closed, like many proxy servers.
50. There is practically no railway communication, despite the rather large territory. There is a branch of Dammam-Riyadh. A branch of Mecca-Medina is being built. In 2008, JSC Railways won the contract for the construction of the North-South Railway, but then the tender was canceled.
51. Entry to Mecca and Medina to non-Muslims is prohibited. But we accidentally ended up in Mecca last year.
52. In Saudi Arabia, the cult of the family. Often children live with their parents, the eldest son contains elderly parents. Respect for elders has been instilled since childhood.
53. The leader welcomes the one standing, the younger one – the elder.
54. When meeting the Saudis three times kissing on the cheek (or both in turn), but not all, only close relatives, old friends.
55. Here is a very specific business etiquette. Late is considered the norm before you start a business conversation, drink tea and coffee, talk about life.
56. There is no Saudi Arab language. There are dialects of the Hijazi (west coast), najdi (center) and sharks (east coast), which differ from each other. Plus, visiting Arabs bring color – Egyptians, Palestinians, Syrians, Jordanians.
57. They say Eve, the same one, lived in Jeddah, and the place of her burial was worshiped before. But then the Wahhabis destroyed the burial place and the cemetery. Only the arch at the entrance remained from that cemetery.
58. Any other open religion other than Islam is prohibited. Accordingly, on the eve of any non-Islamic church holidays such as Christmas, the activity of the Shariat police “mutawa” is activated.
59. If there is a cross, it is better to wear it under clothing.
60. Christmas trees are not on sale, not even artificial ones.
61. But Christmas toys are sold in small souvenir shops. Paradox. Sam bought a few clearly Christmas-tree-like balls of papier-mache with camels on them.
62. Russian dolls are also sold, only they are subject to national modding. On female matrioshkas, black abayas are drawn (cloaks such) and niqab (scarves), on male respectively, and ghouls.
63. A hoop on the head of a man over a scarf is called agal. Now it’s made of horseradish understand what, but used to be made from horsehair and served to cattle (mostly camels).
64. Camel’s fresh milk is very tasty, but if you have stomach problems, it’s best not to drink it. Can work for half an hour.
65. The Saudis are quite hospitable, but they rarely invite you into the house. Basically, communication takes place in a small gazebo attached to the house. Be sure to treat Arab coffee, dates.
66. Arab coffee is a separate story. Firstly, it’s a yellow-brown drink. Secondly, it is full of additives – cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, sometimes anise. Thirdly, it is fed in microscopic pialcs. Fourth, this is a very tonic drink, you will not drink much. Well, a glass of cold water is sure to bring.
67. Arabs are very fond of scratching their tongues. On the phone hang constantly.
68. There is a list of professions officially approved by the Ministry of Labor, for which only the Saudis are accepted. For example, in the personnel department or in connection with government agencies.
69. In general, the state strictly regulates the issue of employment. An international company must recruit a certain percentage of the Saudis, at least 10% of the total (I can be wrong). This is called saudisation.
70. Sometimes it is easier and more efficient to agree with such an employee that he receives a minimum salary for his position and does not come to work at all. Sheep are whole and wolves are full.
71. The chronology is different from the Gregorian calendar. Now 1432 on the Hijri.
72. The Saudis do not celebrate the New Year in our understanding. The last month of the year is Hijjah, the month of pilgrimage to Mecca. On the 10th day the holiday of Id Al-Adha begins, go big id, and continues till sunset on the 13th day of the month of Hijj.
73. Birthday is also not celebrated. In general, many Bedouins are given a birth date from the baldah, 1 is the approximate month of birth. Or the last. If we get lucky.
74. During the day, pray 6 times. For the time of prayer everything is closed. In the neighboring states, there is no such a gulf. In the Emirates and Bahrain, everything works even during prayer.
75. The laws of Islam prohibit usury, so in the bank you can take a loan of only 2% (operating costs of banks). True, the deposit deposit interest is also meager.
76. There is no sales tax and no VAT.
77. Foreign banks here have 50% of the capital on a par with Saudi founders, respectively, the names of banks are not universally recognized world (such as Citi Bank), and local (Samba Bank – Saudi-American Bank, for example).
78. Among Saudi youth there are full hipsters – tight-fitting jeans, unimaginable hairstyles, half-face glasses. They look ridiculous. Girls are all in abayah, faces are also often closed. Only the eyes are burning from under the niqabs.
79. In addition to the mass of Islamic radio stations, there are two or three, broadcasting rock, pop and classics. One on Bahrain, two belong to Saudi Aramco. Sometimes Russian Radio is caught from Dubai and Qatar in French.
80. With television full order, satellite dishes in every house.
81. Traditional Saudi food has to be sought in purely Arab neighborhoods. She was replaced by Lebanese, Jordanian, Syrian, Filipino, Malaysian and Chinese cuisine.
82. Japanese cuisine is unpopular. Sushchnyh in Hobar until 2 or 3, 4-in no way will open a year.
83. Network restaurants junkfud more than dofiga. McDonald’s door to the door with Burger Kingams, Dunkin Donats 10 meters from Crispi Crem.
84. In this regard, a lot of thick. The Saudis are also very cool about sports.
86. The Saudi national team is called the people of Al-Sakur (falcons) or Al-Akhdar (green). At the World Championships, the Saudis are acting so-so, but in the Asian Championships three times were champions.
87. There are quite a few football clubs. The best is Ittihad from Jeddah.
88. I’m even afraid to imagine what will happen if, in the draw for the World Cup, the Saudis will play with Israel.
89. Jews do not like. For Palestine, including.
90. Palestinians are always helped with money. The last help was in September of this year. 200 million dollars, for a minute.
91. Russians are well treated. All the time they ask about Putin.
92. There are several purely Saudi Arabian gestures that can not be described, because there is also a facial expression.
93. The right hand is clean, the left hand is dirty. Used for washing, sorry. Well, they eat right. Greet each other right. If you give something, you must take the right one.
94. The thieves used to cut their hands. Right. It’s a trifle then, to eat with a queried hand. Although, it can still be chopped.
95. The executions take place at mosques, but not everywhere, in just a few cities.
6. In Saudi Arabia, the unfaithful can not enter the mosque. In Bahrain – please.
97. There is practically no public transport. There are some suspicious intercity buses. And so everyone moves either in his car or in a taxi. Hindus and Pakistanis from the poor ride on bicycles or in extreme cases walk. But in the summer it’s a complete kapek.
98. On weekends, the Saudis go out with their families to walk along the embankment, carpets on the lawns and picnics.
99. By the way, the day off is Friday. And Monday begins on Saturday, like the Strugatsky. Thursday, as a rule, is working before lunch.
100. In Saudi Arabia you can not come just to get a visa, there must be an invitation from the local office. International tourism does not exist here.
100 facts about the kingdom of Saudi Arabia through the eyes of a Russian.