Archive | May, 2010

Dinner Conversation

31 May

My parents recently returned from being away for a few weeks, so we all had a nice big dinner bringing the whole family together after work yesterday. We’re one of those families that talks a lot over dinner, lively conversation, laughter, debates, drama, everyyyything comes out over dinner (think Brothers& Sisters. I think that’s why my mom loves it so much).

Anyhow, halfway through dinner my mom starts bursts out laughing, we look over at her and as soon as she can explain she says: “did you notice that we’ve been talking about drivers for the past fifteen minutes?”

And we were.

The dinner conversation had started with my sister saying : “Did you hear, lulu’s driver quit. apparently he doesn’t need to work for her anymore. he has his own business and when she told him he wasn’t allowed to answer the phone while driving, he told her he’s running a business and if he can’t run it through his phone he wont work for her anymore”

My other siter chimed in “Oh my Goddd! I just had my 1st fight with my new driver today! he does the same thing, only its his wife. she’s obsessive and she calls and yells every ten minutes. I told him to only answer the phone while driving if it’s an emergency, but apparently everything is an emergency with her. What did it for me is that he was dropping me off at home, and pulled away before I had taken my bag out of the car or shut the door, when I looked at him, he was on the phone again!”

Me to my 1st sister: “wasn’t lulu’s driver the guy who would make up weird stuff about her cousin? like that she was a “bad girl” and she went to the mosque to look at guys?? how sick is that?!”

My sis : “Yeah, she’s glad he left cuz next thing you know he could start making up stuff about HER and who knows what he’d tell her husband?”

That’s when my mom started laughing.

sadly, I do know of a marriage or two where the driver either made up or misinterpreted actions by the wife and went and told the husband, and if that couple’s bond wasn’t strong, it wont survive that kind of breach in trust. I also know of many cases where families set the drivers to spy on their daughters (less so wives, but it’s not unheard of) and report back to them with their whereabouts. Like a live personal GPS. Or a body guard with none of the perks you get when you’re rich enough to need one.

well, that’s my ramble for the day… until I have more.. caio!

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coincidence?

24 May
This video clip was made by a young Saudi who lost a relative in an automobile accident.
The statistics are terrible. The population of Saudi Arabia is about 28 million
We have one of (if not THE) highest death-caused-by-car-accident rates in the world. And it’s most noteworthy that we¬† just happens to be the only country to not allow women to drive. Coincidence?
Instead there are over a million foreign men, some illiterate, some who never in their lives sat behind the wheel of a car before coming to Saudi Arabia.

Rules

2 May

I haven’t posted much in a while… mostly because my dear driver has been a sweetheart lately. Started answering “you’re welcome” when I say thank you, showing up on time, not running red lights or going over curbs… not trying to kill me. stuff like that.

But I came across some interesting info the other day… did you know that if, as a Saudi man, you apply for a visa for a driver, you have to prove that your wife either has children or a job in order to be eligible for a driver?? So if you’re a young bride whose husband travels a lot or has long hours at work, and you don’t have a job and haven’t started popping babies yet, then the official point of view is that you can bum around at home all day till your darling hubby comes back exhausted so you can bug him to take you out to get groceries or see your friends or go shopping or something. You don’t deserve a driver you aren’t productive in the community. You can try Taxis maybe. If your husband allows it. or a local/Illegal driver….. or continue using your family’s driver… that happens a lot. Or just get a job!

Anyhow, yeah, I see a recipe for disaster. I guess they’re trying to limit the number of drivers in the country. Dont really blame them, but I have a better idea: Let the women drive! Then you can severely limit the rules for getting a driver’s visa without making someone’s life more difficult in the process.

I mean really… lately all I feel is betrayed. Betrayed by my own country because any man from any other country has more rights than I do when it comes to freedom of transportation… and honestly, it hurts. Like it hurts to be betrayed by someone you love. Because in the end this IS home, and all bad stuff aside, I really do love it here.

what can you fit in the back of a van??

2 May

So I went to a friend’s house last night to watch a movie & munch on pizza … I had agreed with my friend there that we’d use her driver to take us home, so when midnight rolls over and he’s not there to pick us up yet, she starts making calls. Apparently she had agreed with one of those drivers-per-ride to pick us up, because her driver was busy/or it was too late or something… now that’s all fine we do it all the time. But when she calls to find out why he’s late, he blabbers something in broken Arabic and she gets the funniest blank look on her face. then she’s like “aaa… tayyeb (ok)” and hangs up. she looks at me, ” I have NO idea what he just said” and starts laughing. I admire how she can find humor in such situations. I’d just get frusterated and wind up blowing my fuse and maybe throwing something accross the room or something. Or go into a rant at least. Half an hour later she calls him again… this time she made more of an attempt to understand what he was saying… he had a flat tire and will be late. very late. So she called another driver-per-ride. This one said he could be there in fifteen minutes. yay! it was already one am by then.

Driver arrives… as I walk towards his mini-van, I look at the door and its full of scratches… I remember thinking to myself “ha, this car was brand new a few months ago.. what does that say about his driving?”. We het into the tinted mini-van, strap our seatbelts and tell him where to go.

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a big looming object behind my friend, so I turn back and what do I find??

The minivan’s rear-bumper. IN the car. I look at my friend and ask her, “what is that?” she looks back and just bursts into giggles. I couldn’t help it, so did I. It was the most ridiculous thing ever. We asked him what happened… he just grunted and muttered something inaudible. We laughed even more. He never mentioned the state of his car when she called him to pic us up. And a rear fender being carried around in the back of the car??!! that was too weird. that’s when I started noticing other things… there was a flapping/clicking noise that would increase as the car’s speed increased. something over the front left tire. We asked him what THAT noise was, ha mumbled something about “the cover” and then he pulled over on Malek road to “check it out” maybe the front fender was falling off too? he gave it a few thumps and nudges and got back in the car… continued driving without saying much more. The noise started again in a few seconds. I told my friend maybe she should sleep over at my place since I don’t think the car was safe to drive in… but she was afraid her mom would flip if she woke up the next morning and found she hadn’t returned. Oh well… they dropped me off and continued on their rikety clickety way.

I honestly felt like if one more screw fell out the whole thing would fall apart right there in the street. It was funny at the time, but it was also dangerous and reckless. I tried to take a picture of it, but it was too dark and my batt was low so the flash wouldn’t go off on my phone. I’ll see if I can enhance it and post it later…

We would be so much safer if we could drive ourselves around, don’t you agree?