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Old Nov 18th 2007, 8:16 pm   #1
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Default How is live in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia?

Hello All,

First time here!

Well I am british and just getting in the decision process to live as an expat in Saudi or not.

Already researched a lot about almost everything, but what about security?

Is it safe to leave the compound with family?

How does the kids usually go to school? School buses are safe?

Well, I appreciate your comments to help me get a clear vision on what is the daily routine in Riyadh, for an expat...

Your comments will be welcomed!!

Cheers,
Bert
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Old Nov 18th 2007, 8:34 pm   #2
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Default Re: How is live in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia?

I'll save everyone their trouble and give the OP the standard BE reply. So here goes:

Jeez man, haven't you read the pages and pages on this topic on this board? Just do a search for Riyadh on this board and find out how terrible and cursed this place is. It is the most evil place on the planet. All the evil in the world has been collected and concentrated in this one city.

You will hate it. Get out of there now. You will be ill-treated, despised, maybe even killed. I have bullet-holes on the side of my mini-van to prove it.

They're a bunch of primitive, backward fanatics. They're certainly not as progressive, modern or enlightened as us, the people of Britain.

Don't do it!

There... Everyone satisfied?
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Old Nov 18th 2007, 9:31 pm   #3
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Default Re: How is live in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia?

From what I've heard and read, it's not worth it. At least not for your wife and children. Pick any other country, that's my advice.
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Old Nov 18th 2007, 9:50 pm   #4
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Default Re: How is live in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia?

Is it safe to leave the compound?

Not really, but that has very little to do with terrorism. You are much more likely to die as a result of the atrocious driving over there.

With regards to school buses, the danger is still there but a school bus is quite big so the risk is smaller.

Saudi is a strange place, some folks love it, some hate it. It's true that the society is screwed up and they have what appears to be insurmountable problems, but which society isn't. You can have a great time over there, but you have to make the effort.

Personally I actually prefer Riyadh to Dubai. You can save lots of money there and no one pretends to be what they are not. KSA is a militant theocracy and is unashamed of that fact. Dubai on the other hand is also a militant theocracy but has to pretend not to be because it wants the money.
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Old Nov 18th 2007, 9:56 pm   #5
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Default Re: How is live in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia?

if you truly want to go, then certainly insist on being offered a high pacakage. For the extra hardship you will face.

Why you want to go there, god only knows why.
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Old Nov 18th 2007, 11:09 pm   #6
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Default Re: How is live in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia?

By the way take your entire family to 'chop chop' square, ask any local for the directions, everyone knows where it is. Afterall the cinema is banned in the state. It's right by the one of the main mosques, if that is any guide. Be there at 1pm on a Friday. You won't be alone. Other famillies will be there. It's like a ritual in Riyadh.The word 'medieval' will soon come to mind. Have fun in the 'modern' world.

Last edited by Concern1; Nov 18th 2007 at 11:24 pm.
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Old Nov 19th 2007, 4:18 am   #7
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Default Re: How is live in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia?

Blimey, have I entered a parallel universe?
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Old Nov 19th 2007, 4:44 am   #8
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Default Re: How is live in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia?

Quote:
Originally Posted by surfman View Post
Hello All,

First time here!

Well I am british and just getting in the decision process to live as an expat in Saudi or not.

Already researched a lot about almost everything, but what about security?

Is it safe to leave the compound with family?

How does the kids usually go to school? School buses are safe?

Well, I appreciate your comments to help me get a clear vision on what is the daily routine in Riyadh, for an expat...

Your comments will be welcomed!!

Cheers,
Bert
It's fine. I just gave up the Dubai life to come back here for the fourth time.

But I'm busy now. Can I post more later please?

Thanks.
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Old Nov 19th 2007, 4:52 am   #9
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Default Re: How is live in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia?

Quote:
Originally Posted by surfman View Post
Hello All,

First time here!

Well I am british and just getting in the decision process to live as an expat in Saudi or not.

Already researched a lot about almost everything, but what about security?

Is it safe to leave the compound with family?

How does the kids usually go to school? School buses are safe?

Well, I appreciate your comments to help me get a clear vision on what is the daily routine in Riyadh, for an expat...

Your comments will be welcomed!!

Cheers,
Bert
Having endured Saudi Arabia for nearly eight years, my advice is : go and work there by all means, but leave your family back home. It's an unfair punishment for a woman to have to live there. As for the kids, there is bugger-all to do. Many expats thrive alone, returning home every few months. However, living apart is certainly not everybody's cup of tea.
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Old Nov 19th 2007, 9:32 am   #10
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Default Re: How is live in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia?

I am a woman, lived in Riyadh, loved it.
You live life in a bubble there, a very comfortable bubble.
Not much to do with the "real" Saudi Arabia, which is probably good.
If you live in a good compound, your every need is taken care of,schools are good, entertainment is on your doorstep.
Security, well, you are in the dragon's cave, but then again, at least you know what you are dealing with, and they are trying hard to repair their reputation ....nowadays it can hit you anywhere.

Concern, who in their right mind would go to ChopChop square anyway?
It is not that they drag you there , screaming and kicking, unless, of course you are the one they want o send on to the hereafter.
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Old Nov 19th 2007, 10:22 am   #11
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Default Re: How is live in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Lou View Post
I am a woman, lived in Riyadh, loved it.
You live life in a bubble there, a very comfortable bubble.
Not much to do with the "real" Saudi Arabia, which is probably good.
If you live in a good compound, your every need is taken care of,schools are good, entertainment is on your doorstep.
Yes, but its only a nice bubble if you live in a western compound... and not everyone these days can afford that luxury.
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Old Nov 19th 2007, 12:55 pm   #12
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Default Re: How is live in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia?

Wow it amazes me what some people think, especially some people are basing it on other people's experiences! I lived in Riyadh and loved it. Plus my wife loved it so much she pushed me to take another job in Jeddah which i start in Jan.

You have to bear in mind that its not Florida. Life is restrictive and you have to adjust your life accordingly. If you can get that bit, then you will have a great time.Terrorism is not an issue. Well it is, and it isnt. Its probably a bigger issue in London than Riyadh for sure.

As for chop square. Well if you dont like it, dont go. But remember its one of the key reasons why crime is so low there. Maybe parts of London, Manchester or Liverpool need their own chop square?

From what friends tell me life is getting more relaxed there, and the religious police have much less authority. That makes life in general better. Go there and get yourseld a Range Rover as the biggest issue there is the driving.

PS Compound life is great.
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Old Nov 19th 2007, 1:50 pm   #13
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Default Re: How is live in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia?

Riyadh has it's pros and cons like everywhere else in the world. For women it has disadvantages and advantages - some women love the life of no work, not driving, shopping mornings, coffee mornings, gym mornings, lunches, etc.etc. Others take the opportunity to study and others work while others do all three! It's far less pretentious than Duba - thank god a place where the first questions I'm asked aren't 'where do you live' 'what car do you drive' 'where does your husband work' 'what school do your children go to'?

Safe ? As safe as anywhere probably, the driving can be pretty crap, but it's crap in UK too, and in Dubai, and in Sharjah . . . . . There's less traffic on the roads than Dubai, fewer traffic jams.

Kids ? Not a lot for them to do in comparison with Dubai - but having just had a long conversation with my 13 year old about going to boarding school next year she voted No. She has friends, she has sleepovers, she has more freedom within the compound than she did in Dubai where we lived in an independant villa in 'old Dubai' and had to be driven everywhere, she can walk to her friends houses, walk to the sports hall, tennis courts, bowling alley. Yes, they miss the cinema but we catch up on R&R weekends out of the Kingdom.

I've never been stopped by the muttawah, never been told to cover my head and have never been near chop chop square - don't even know where it is, why would I want to ? Except to avoid it.

I spend more time with arab nationals (from various arab countries including Saudis) here than I ever did in Dubai and feel like I'm back in the Middle East again, which for me is a bonus - not for everyone I know.

This is a topic that always incites emotional responses, often - but not always- from people who have never lived in the Kingdom. It's not for everyone, - it's horses for courses. Personally I would say if you are going to come bring your family - I know my husband would struggle to stay here without us (we are just soooooooo wonderful LOL But there are many men here with families living elsewhere and it seems to work for them.

It's not the ideal posting in the world, but it is doable and life is what you make it. If you and your family come with a positive attitude it will help hugely.

Feel free to post any other questions.
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Old Nov 19th 2007, 2:04 pm   #14
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Default Re: How is live in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia?

Agree with the above post from Nic1. Also just wanted to add that one of the reasons why we are moving back to Saudi is so we as a family have more time together. We would never consider living in different countries. At the moment in in Brussels from Monday to Fridays and although I see my family every weekend, we all feel it is not enough. Famliy time is more important.
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Old Nov 19th 2007, 2:51 pm   #15
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Default Re: How is live in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia?

Nobody has mentioned that old chestnut...booze. Once again, if you live on a western compound, its normally available. If you live outside, God help you. Another thing that angers me is their complete intolerance of other religions.
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