Facts You Probably Always Wonder About Saudi Arabia

dea17e12-c54a-4c52-88d7-1ee17a086addWhen I was away for college in Switzerland, many had so much to ask about Saudi Arabia (Jeddah where am from), the lifestyle in general, women’s rights, dress codes and more. Here are some facts for those seeking knowledge about Saudi Arabia and what it’s like..

  • Women actually do work!

136360744It all started back in 2012, when Saudi Arabia began enforcing a law that allows only females to work in lingerie stores. By the end of 2012, women were granted the right to sell in retail shops. And the shift started from there.

 

 

  • All Shops close for a 10-15min-prayer break!640x392_49955_205174

Stores open from 9am to12pm and then open again from 2pm till about 11pm but they do close for a prayer break (to pray!) in between working hours! Those who are shopping at the mall would hear the prayer and they would then wait at a coffee shop or inside their cars for shops to reopen!

 

  • silver-sands-beachWe do have beaches and yes, we do swim!

Almost everyone in Jeddah heads to the beach on a Friday or a Thursday (our weekend). We do have chalets and awesome beaches where everyone gets to enjoy the sun and tan!

 

  • Yes, all women do have their own personal driversab7f8e53164e6877c48776c27bcdd2b5

… And no we aren’t “princesses” neither because we are “extremely rich” as some might think, its cause we cannot drive period, its illegal for women to drive (don’t ask why, its just the law, we’re used to it)!

 

 

 

  • 12065729_10207505840428879_4447758813812036476_nNo! “Abaya’s” are not only in black!

Although it’s obligated by law to wear an Abaya when heading out, however it’s not only in black! other colors like beige, brown or grey are the trend, but you can customize the Abaya however way you like!

 

 

  • Not everyone has a family businessfamily-business-promo

In fact, according to an article in ArabNews, there are only about 6,000 family businesses across the entire kingdom.

 

 

  • saudia-map-598x300 (1)Dubai is NOT in Saudi Arabia

Whenever i said i was from Saudi Arabia i’d get the “Oh yea i heard Dubai was stunning”. Dubai is located in United Arab Emirates not in Saudi Arabia!

 

  • Men have four wives? arab-man-w-4-wives-300x253

Many assume that all men have four wives here in Saudi Arabia, this is totally not true. I’ve known ONE person who’s father is married to one other woman, but never came across someone who is married to four! the majority of the married population are married to only one person. although i am not saying this doesn’t happen, it does but they would be those who are living in rural areas, the “Amish” of the kingdom so to speak.

 

  • wkE0QjoEveryone lives with their parents till they get married

The “Do you have your own condo?” question isn’t a question that exists here, a man who’s 30 years old and haven’t gotten married yet would still be living with his parents until he does. Same goes for women. it is considered disrespectful to have your own apartment or house and live                                                                        alone if single. (Some exceptions do exist.

A Saudi who never rode a camel

camel's head in the desert with funny expression

Person: Where are you from?

Me: Saudi Arabia

Person: Oh South Arabia

Me: no, it’s Saudi Arabia

Person: Oh nice, Dubai is really beautiful

Me: Dubai?

Person: Yes!

Me: well, Dubai isn’t in Saudi, its in Emirates

Person: ohh ok, so you ride camels in Saudi?

 

This is the type of conversation that I sometimes come across whenever talking to a non-Saudi for the first time, I call it “The typical conversation with a non-Saudi”

I have lived in Saudi Arabia all my life, never did I come across, seen or touched a camel before, till last summer in Egypt.

So why is it that some think everyone from Saudi Arabia rides camels?

Never mind them not getting the country’s name right or even mentioning that they “Like Dubai”. In almost all situations me trying to have a conversation with a non-Saudi I always always get the camel question popping up! “Do you ride camels?” I’m starting to wonder whether or not they’re just being sarcastic (some probably are) or they genuinely think I ride camels in my country!

 

So how is it that I am from Saudi Arabia and never came across a camel? Here are some camel facts for those who think we ride camels in Saudi Arabia:

  • A recent study found that 65% of Saudis never seen a camel. (Surprisingly enough, that’s actually very true)

 

  • Camels are not an aborigine species of the Arabian Peninsula; they are purely imported from Africa and Australia.

 

  • It is actually illegal to ride camels on a main road or in the city. (Owners would get a fine for doing so, usually a 100$ fine)

 

  • Camels are raised in farms for two main purposes – Their meat and milk and not as a form of transportation.

Pushkar Fair ( Pushkar Camel Mela ) Rajasthan, India

  • Camel owners benefit from their camels mainly through selling their camels to butchers, selling their milk to the public or from entering camel race competitions.

 

 

  • Camels cannot be randomly found in streets, they do have owners. And if you want a camel ride you should pay a certain fee per hour or half an hour to owners. (let’s admit it, that’s very rare)

 

BedCamelHerder2cmp

  • You might see camels wandering alongside in suburban areas only with their “Bedouin” owners.

 

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed these facts! And to all Saudis out there how many of you were asked the camel question before?