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Saudi Arabia. Points to remember.

June 21, 2008

Saudi Arabia. Lovely and terrible in its own ways. The hot sweltering days and the cool-enough nights. The wide and open highways for accelerating at break-neck speeds. The females in their head-to-toe black veil. The rich food including my and everyone’s favorite shawarma. The government’s foul play with the provisioning of fresh chicken, due to their fear of spreading disease from improper disposal of garbage, leading to the degradation of KFC. The .60SR (approx. 7INR) litre petrol. The no electricity cuts. The huge malls which are actually malls and not just-for-the-sake-types of Pune. And I repeat, the females in their head-to-toe black veil.

I remember the time when I got my car refueled with a full tank. I walked off paying only 350INR in Saudi currency (I calculated simultaneously that it would’ve cost 2.5k for getting a full tank in India.)

The burqa-clad females have made me not frustrated, but rather more appreciative. One learns to adjust to his environment. I learnt to appreciate the beauty of the eyes- the only visible part from the majority of the females in Saudi (though once in a while one find a female walking past you sensuous enough evening her burqa because of her style and way of carrying herself).

A person who has stayed in the Gulf cannot resist the ultimate fast food- “The Shawarma”. A Lebanese dish by origin, it has found many die-hard fans. With grilled chicken mixed with salad (usually pickled cucumber and tomatoes) and french fries while being dressed by garlic sauce and then being rolled in pita bread (called Khubus locally), one can always be seen wanting more of it. Just down it with some Pepsi and your done. I’m still waiting for a decent shawarma outlet in Pune (there already existing ones which are sad and are of no comparison, and Lucknow has a better outlet which serves damn good shawarmas).

The KFC I remember for my past- I would not have even entered the place and I could already feel being drowsy in their sweet scent of fried chicken. Not anymore. They have become low-standard some thing like the KFC in India. The reason is that the government has stopped the supply of live chickens being slaughtered and has allowed only frozen chicken, due to the reason I mentioned earlier. And KFC is one among others to face the brunt. I hate this. It was another thing that I used look forward to when I used to go back to Saudi.

And yeah, the electronics are cheaper than in India. I got myself a digicam (Kodak M763), a new guitar (Greg Bennett UM3) and a iPod shuffle 1GB for prices which were like dirt-cheap compared to the Indian market.

And ofcourse, if you live outside without your parents and come back home, the ghar-ki-hospitality with gkar-ka-khaana. Oh! How I miss all that.

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