Archive | February, 2010

if you want to marry a girl…

28 Feb

See what her relationship is like with her driver!!

I laughed my a** off when I heard that, but it was coming from the mouth of a guy so I have to give it some credibility…

whatever happened to “Look at her mother and you’ll know what you’re getting…” or however that saying goes?

Oh well… I guess there must be some truth to the new version of it. I thought I was safe since my mom is a sweetheart mashallah, but it seems I was mistaken. Still, it’s not really fair to say that, since I’m not going to marry anyone who can’t speak proper English or/and Arabic, right?? It’s the communication gap that drives me mad. That and the inability to prioritize or follow orders. I’m not going to order my hubby around either. maybe remind, ask, nag, cajole, instruct, blackmail and bribe, but not ORDER.  so that’s one point of difference. Plus I wont be frustrated by his mere existence since I’m forced to have a driver, but not forced to marry (yet. lets hope it stays that way).

so that’s two points against the effectiveness of this new system. three if you count the language.

On the other hand, in all fairness, lets face it: your relationship with your drives IS a relationship of sorts. You spend a lot of time with him and they know a lot of whats going on in your life. so like it or not, it does say something about who you are. Luckily most of my freak-outs and temper tantrums take place in my head. so does the physical violence. So I can confidently say my future hubby is safe and has nothing to fear.

*wide-eyed innocent smile*

barakat

13 Feb

That’s the name of the  first driver I can remember… I must have been around 6 years old, we had just moved to a new home and I was starting 1st grade. That’s when we needed a driver. My mom didn’t use one before that, no idea how she survived, but i guess she was busy having 4 kids.

so yeah, his name was Barakat, he was Pakistani, and an olddd man. At least to my 6-year-old eyes he was. he had a super white beard, was addicted to smoking, and since my mom forbade him to smoke around us or in the car, he chewed tobacco instead. still had a weird smell.

I have no idea how good his driving was, but he was a sweet, gentle man. He’s carry us around on request and play with us, kinda like a granddad.

Funniest thing i remember about him, was that he’s buy us little candies from the supermarket. He felt bad for us because my mom didn’t allow candy in the house, so he’d give us those little treats on the way back home from school and ask us not to tell mama. I’m assuming it was his way of bribing us into staying quiet on the way back too. haha. We kept our little secret for a while, but what he didnt hold in account was my mom’s supernatural ability to sniff anything out (mashallah) and one day, she gives me a hug when i get back home from school and says “who gave you candy?”

I looked at her in awe wondering how on EARTH could she have known? “don’t you know mommy knows everything?? now tell me, who gave you candy?”

Naturally, I confessed. Candy from barakat stopped after that. lol

but he stayed with us until he retired at the ripe old age of 65 I think. or 70. somewhere there.

Quick Math

10 Feb

I’ve been trying to calculate a rough/conservative estimate about how much of a drain it is on our economy to force women to use drivers as the only means of transportation.

Here’s how it goes

so Saudi’s total population is around 28,000,000 (according to the latest statistics)

lets assume that half of them are female ( more, but this is a conservative estimate)

so that’s 14,000,000 women

lets say that half are underage, that’s 7,000,000

of those, lets say more than half cannot afford drivers, so they use their fathers,husbands, brothers, taxis for transportation, or just stay home.

lets say only 2,000,000 can afford drivers.

that’s 2,000,000 drivers. 

standard going rate for drivers monthly salaries?? in Jeddah its 1,900 now. in khobar its closer to 1,300 sr. lets say 1,500 sr to stay in the middle. 

so that’s 2,000,000 x 1,500 = 3,000,000,000

three BILLION

a MONTH

lets say I made a mistake and every 2 women share a driver, so its only 1 million drivers.

that’s still 1.5 billion a month.

1.5 billion, leaving the country each month, since most drivers get free board and food, and normally save every halala to send back home. Good for them, I don’t begrudge them what they’ve earned, but from a purely economic point of view, this money is leaving the country never to return. it would be put to so much better use if it were spent on business internally. some might argue that most of what’s sold here is imported anyways, but at least SOME of it gets circulated back in the system.

1.5 billion x 12 months = 18 billion a year (did i d0 this right??)

wow

so now I’m not just looking out for my own interests, I’m looking out for my country’s economy as well !! hehe

Trip to Makkah

10 Feb

You’d think that, being blessed with living within such close proximity to Makkah, I’d be able to drive over whenever I wanted to for a prayer or umrah or just a visit. right?

Wrong.

my driver isn’t muslim. so unless I can hire one that is, or be lucky enough to have my dad or brother remember to let me know when they plan on going, I don’t get to go there much.

A friend of mine was visiting from a neighbouring country and told me she was going to stay in makkah, so why don’t we all go for umrah together?? I loved the idea, and spent the next 2 days trying to find a friend with a muslim driver who would be able to go too.

Luckily, i found a friend who was free and willing to take me there. we had a lovely quick trip and that was that.

still, it would’ve been nice to be able to hop in my car and drive myself there whenever i wanted to.

the funny bit happened on the way back, after we stopped for shawarmas. My friend’s driver has been with them since she was 4 mashallah, so that’s just over twenty years, and on the way back he started asking about out Umrah.

– “hamdulillah it went well”

– ” you prayed for everyone??”

– “yes”

– “how’s ******* ??”

– “she’s in london now”

– “you prayed for ****** (her ex!)

– she just rolled her eyes…. ” AAAAhhh! i told you khalas! it’s over!”

Here I was, fighting to keep my shocked laughter inside while he went on about what a nice guy her ex was.

hehehe, its crazy how much these guys know about us!