KSA postscript…

Hello from Belfast, where we’ve been enjoying a mini summer heatwave (but still a good 20 degrees cooler than Riyadh)!

It’s over 4 months now since we made our final exit from Riyadh and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and I have recently been reflecting on our 3+ years there, so I thought I would pop back on to OurBigArabianAdventure.com blog with a little postscript about the things I miss, (and those I don’t), from our life in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

(Photos l-r: 1: At my home workstation where I wrote most of the 2021/22 blogs, 2: our villa in Wadi Quortuba, 3: our driver in his car which took us all over Riyadh and beyond, 4: our moving-out yard sale.)

Things I miss:

(NB I haven’t included friends as they go without saying!)

  • Experiencing a completely different culture
  • Easy travel across the Middle East
  • Learning how another country operates/views the world
  • The ex-pat lifestyle
  • Living in a rapidly evolving society
  • Embassy parties
  • Warm winters
  • Fridays off
  • Having a driver on call
  • The cheap price of petrol (40p per gallon)
  • Choice of swimming pools
  • Living in a compound
  • Access to a clubhouse/gym
  • Home brewed wine/cider
  • Themed parties
  • Butcher home deliveries from ‘Chopped’
  • Fresh mango home deliveries
  • Ordering cupcakes/cakes and taking delivery less than an hour later
  • High level of personal safety
  • Bag packers at supermarkets
  • Having to go outside to warm up because the AC is too cold
  • Awe-inspiring thunder and lightning storms
  • Whatsapp groups
  • Playing Mahjongg
  • The WQ runners group
  • Camping in the desert
  • Camels
  • Visiting stunning scenery with no restriction to access
  • Luxury train service
  • Luxury cinemas serving lobster rolls as snacks
  • Taiba Souq (The gold souq)
  • Operation Falafel (favorite Lebanese takeaway)
  • Malls and supermarkets without constant background music
  • Aerobic classes with Aldrin
  • Early morning outdoor yoga with Michele

(Photos l-r: 1: Local neighborhood outside Wadi Quortuba compound 2: Kingdom Tower, an iconic skyscraper in downtown Riyadh, 3: Flower Garden near The Zone in Riyadh 4: Wadi Quortuba Compound at dawn.)

Things I don’t miss:

  • The stark disparities in society
  • The normalization of modern slavery
  • No freedom of expression
  • Overt racism
  • Fear of a Houthi missile attack at any time
  • A compound attack/raid at any time
  • Crazy driving, including drifting
  • A throw-away, wasteful society
  • Discarded rubbish and piles of rubble everywhere
  • Intensely hot summers
  • Working Sundays
  • Having to call a driver to go anywhere
  • Delivery and Uber drivers who can’t find your location
  • Uber drivers cancelling your ride as they drive past
  • Mosquitoes
  • Ants
  • Dust/Sand storms
  • Ongoing ‘discussions’ with the other half over the AC setting
  • Whatsapp groups
  • Home brewed wine/cider
  • Wearing abayas
  • Limited train service with no on-going public transport links
  • Lack of any meaningful health and safety measures at dangerous visitor sites
  • Constant rumors about when alcohol will be legalized
  • Themed parties
  • The sterile atmosphere of malls and supermarkets
  • The seeming inbuilt dysfunction in every official process
  • The inflated cost of food/clothes
  • No pork
  • No (official) alcohol

And I think that about sums up the complexities of living in Saudi Arabia!

And finally, finally, here is a little additional extra – although there are many other resources available on You Tube etc ;0) :

Red wine recipe:

2 litres Danya red grape juice. Danya is the best brand for home brewing. It is available in Danube and Carrefour supermarkets in handy 12 packs.

3 cups sugar

1 tsp wine yeast

2-3 cloves, jam, elderflower, a teabag for extra tannin flavor, dash of blackcurrant juice etc – all optional depending on taste.

Give a stir and leave for two weeks – preferably in the dark and in an air-conditioned area.

De-gas by giving a gentle stir careful not to let any oxygen in.

Bottle once ready and then burp the bottles every morning for the first week.

Ikea bottles are best and we used large glass juice dispensers purchased in Danube to make the large batch before bottling. Cheers, and happy brewing!!

And that’s all folks, remember stay cool and wear sunscreen!

Thank you for all your support, I have loved writing the blog.

Best wishes,

Anne x

2 thoughts on “KSA postscript…

  1. That’s brilliant and definitely made me laugh Anne. Sums it up pretty neatly. I wonder if you will ever be allowed back into the country with your open admission of being a master brewer. See you soon hopefully, somewhere in the world….


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s