Tuesday, 14 August 2012
|Traffic on Ollaya St.|
Of course, Saudi Arabia is very much considered to be at the very heart of the Muslim faith and is the site of the two holy mosques at Mekkah and Medinah. Saudi’s take their faith very seriously and the prayer times are strictly observed five times a day, when shops close and workers pause from their work for prayers, in my own office, I have become used to my Muslim colleagues observing their Dhuhr and Asr prayers together in the office with the Islamic chants of prayer played over the PA.
|Saudi Women wearing the Abaya|
|Seperate Queues at McDonald's|
Saudi Arabia has an enormous ex-pat population of over 5 million, which makes up almost a third of the total, these are primarily from Pakistan, India, Philipines and other Gulf countries. You will find that almost all jobs involving labour in this country will be done by a worker from one of these countries, there are also over 100,000 westerners like myself here who typically live in the many compounds in the suburbs of Riyadh, however some like us live in the city, typcially those who do not have their families with them. We live just off Jarir St. in the Al Malaz District in the South of the city, here on this street you will find everything from our local small corner shop run by an Indian , our local Laundry run by a Pakistani gentleman to the many restaurants and barber shops ran by Egyptians and Turks, It makes for a very interesting mix of people working and living here.
I head back to Ireland tomorrow night as the Eid-Ul-Fitr holiday begins here this weekend, I can’t wait to see Laura and the boys, Oisin is cycling since I was home last so looking forward to catching up with him and Daithi before they return to school in a few weeks and of course, the long awaited pint of plain…..
Saturday, 11 August 2012
I was really pleased to hear today that this Blog has been nominated for the Irish Blog Awards 2012, A “Long Way to Go for a Sun Tan” was something I started while bunked up in a Containerised Bedroom on the Military Base, FOB Tarin Kowt, Uruzgan, Afghanistan late one evening in July 2011.
It was my attempt to write a “Diary” of sorts of my thoughts and feelings on living and working in a modern war zone many thousand miles from my home in East Clare.
There was the adrenaline filled days in the Uruzgan desert, C-130 Hercules Planes, Apache & Chinook Helicopters flying over all day long, dust, noise, fuel shortages, DFAC food, working with the Army every day, and never knowing what was going to happen next…..
The Blog was really a mechanism for recording those days as I knew that it would be just a short period in my life but a very significant one and one that I certainly wanted my family to understand and I felt that writing it down and being able to refer to it would help them, likewise my friends back home..
And , so the story continues, here I am now working in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, another culture shock in entirely different circumstances, though the reasons I am abroad still remain, so with the encouragement of followers and friends, I will continue to blog……….
Thanks to all my Followers for the continued support……