Riyadh...moving

Old Sep 24th 2007, 4:50 pm
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Cool Riyadh...moving

Hi...need some advice....PLEASE!
Looks like we are moving over to Riyadh to work, (2 adults, 2 children under 10)...can you advise what items we need to bring with us and items to leave at home?
Also any good packers/shippers that you/friends have used moving from England over to Saudi.
Can you also get puppies over there...need a sweetener for the two kids!!
Thanks.
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Old Sep 25th 2007, 4:34 am
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Default Re: Riyadh...moving

Originally Posted by reecefam View Post
Hi...need some advice....PLEASE!
Looks like we are moving over to Riyadh to work, (2 adults, 2 children under 10)...can you advise what items we need to bring with us and items to leave at home?
Also any good packers/shippers that you/friends have used moving from England over to Saudi.
Can you also get puppies over there...need a sweetener for the two kids!!
Thanks.
I suggest you leave your whisky bottles and porn movie collection behind. Also, any religious stuff (unless you are Muslim) and erotic statues, pictures and books. No worries buying a pet over there. You don't say when you are moving but during Oct-Mar the weather is lovely. Get yourself on a western compound. For two years, you may enjoy it.
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Old Sep 25th 2007, 5:48 am
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Default Re: Riyadh...moving

Originally Posted by lionheart View Post
I suggest you leave your whisky bottles and porn movie collection behind. Also, any religious stuff (unless you are Muslim) and erotic statues, pictures and books. No worries buying a pet over there. You don't say when you are moving but during Oct-Mar the weather is lovely. Get yourself on a western compound. For two years, you may enjoy it.
I like the "may" enjoy it...what bits make it hard then...never been over there, so what bits do people usually find hard?
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Old Sep 25th 2007, 5:57 am
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Default Re: Riyadh...moving

Originally Posted by reecefam View Post
I like the "may" enjoy it...what bits make it hard then...never been over there, so what bits do people usually find hard?
Read the thread about Doha and then imagine it being twice as bad. Riyadh has very few redeeming features...its basically a Police state with constant check points, women cannot drive or work (except in girls schools and hospitals), you will feel hatred especially from the fundamentalists, not easy to leave/return the country for social visits, no cinemas/theaters/clubs and obviously no legal alcohol, illegal for a woman to be with you unless she is a blood relative or wife, need I continue? I endured and occasionally enjoyed 8 years in Jeddah, but that is not Riyadh...much more cosmopolitan.
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Old Sep 25th 2007, 10:07 am
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Default Re: Riyadh...moving

Congrats on the job, and good luck. I lived in Riyadh in 2002 and will be moving to Jeddah at the end of this year, so im in a similar boat. Firstly do you have your accomodation sorted out? Is it furnished? Our place was in a compound and was fully furnished so we didnt need to take any large items with us. At the time it was just me and the mrs (no kids) so we literally took only summer clothes in our suitcase. Nothing else. I would advise you to take warmer clothes too as the desert wind can get a bit chilly at night.

Anything you need to buy is available. There are large shops in Riyadh that range from sort of Primark level right up to Harvey Nichols. Dont take unecessary stuff if you dont have to. Take your electrical items but beware that they are on the US voltage system.

Since you have kids be sure to take books etc that they will otherwise miss. Saudi might not be as exiciting as dubai, but you just have to be prepared for that. There is a big expat community out there, and everyone is in the same boat. What i liked most is that things tend to happen more with families than just a lads night out.

Yes women cant drive, their movement is resticted, as previously mentioned, but thats just the way it is. It used to be the case that women had to cover their faces outside of compounds. My friend who just moved there tells me now that many women dont cover their heads anymore, and the religious police have been told to chill out or else.

If your life is family orientated its a great place. I had more time with my wife there than I have in the five years since. We had just got married and it gave us a solid start to our marriage. To some it up I asked my wife dubai or saudi? She said saudi without a doubt, even though we have stayed in the best places in dubai for the last two years. She still chose Saudi.

BTW - If anyone can recommend a good shipping firm for our items that will be really useful.

Thanks.
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Old Sep 25th 2007, 12:02 pm
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Default Re: Riyadh...moving

Hi, we are in Riyadh with a 13 and 11 year old, 5 dogs and 4 cats after 11 years in Dubai. It's OK. I work at a preschool, my kids are happy at school and altho I can't drive manage to get out and about as required by using one of the compound drivers. Your social life can be as hectic as you want - the embassies have quite a few 'dos' and there's usuall stuff going on at the compunds or at other peoples houses.

We never cover our heads, have never been told to by the muttawa and have never been met with anything but courtesy and friendliness by the locals we have met (which are many), and have not encountered any hostility towards us.

We have multiple exit and re-entry visas which are constantly up to date so we can leave at any time if we suddenly get the urge. Our biggest bug bear is that it is sooooo expensive to fly to Dubai for a weekend. It's actually cheaper for us to fly to Cyprus . . . . Many people drive to Bahrain for a bit of R&R.

The things we miss most are cinema, friends and constantly open shops (they close for prayer here and as it is Ramadan are open very odd hours indeed).

For a couple of years I'm sure you'll enjoy it. We were also advised to leave behind our Christmas decs, as many have sentimental value they are in storage with other stuff. But our container wasn't checked at all. THere are a couple of bookstores in Riyadh that sell an OK selction of books, particularly for younger children - not such a good selection for teenagers.

As someone has said bring your woolies, it gets cold here in the winter. Bring the kids bikes as they will be able to cycle everywhere on the compound.

Good luck
Nicola
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Old Sep 25th 2007, 12:14 pm
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Default Re: Riyadh...moving

Nicola

Precisely how i remember it. How is the interet situation there? Do you get Boradband with a good speed, and can you use skype?
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Old Sep 25th 2007, 1:02 pm
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Default Re: Riyadh...moving

Originally Posted by Nic1 View Post
Hi, we are in Riyadh with a 13 and 11 year old, 5 dogs and 4 cats after 11 years in Dubai. It's OK. I work at a preschool, my kids are happy at school and altho I can't drive manage to get out and about as required by using one of the compound drivers. Your social life can be as hectic as you want - the embassies have quite a few 'dos' and there's usuall stuff going on at the compunds or at other peoples houses.

We never cover our heads, have never been told to by the muttawa and have never been met with anything but courtesy and friendliness by the locals we have met (which are many), and have not encountered any hostility towards us.

We have multiple exit and re-entry visas which are constantly up to date so we can leave at any time if we suddenly get the urge. Our biggest bug bear is that it is sooooo expensive to fly to Dubai for a weekend. It's actually cheaper for us to fly to Cyprus . . . . Many people drive to Bahrain for a bit of R&R.

The things we miss most are cinema, friends and constantly open shops (they close for prayer here and as it is Ramadan are open very odd hours indeed).

For a couple of years I'm sure you'll enjoy it. We were also advised to leave behind our Christmas decs, as many have sentimental value they are in storage with other stuff. But our container wasn't checked at all. THere are a couple of bookstores in Riyadh that sell an OK selction of books, particularly for younger children - not such a good selection for teenagers.

As someone has said bring your woolies, it gets cold here in the winter. Bring the kids bikes as they will be able to cycle everywhere on the compound.

Good luck
Nicola
Thanks Guys...i appreciate your advice...mu worry is that people either seem to love the place or hate it...some talk about feeling threatened/hated by locals and others say how nice they were.
I do not want to take my family to somehwere which is hell...however much they pay me!
Cheers...
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Old Sep 25th 2007, 1:15 pm
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Default Re: Riyadh...moving

Originally Posted by reecefam View Post
Thanks Guys...i appreciate your advice...mu worry is that people either seem to love the place or hate it...some talk about feeling threatened/hated by locals and others say how nice they were.
I do not want to take my family to somehwere which is hell...however much they pay me!
Cheers...
I think to call it hell is a massive overstatement. I know plenty of expats there, some who had been there 20+ years. They loved it and had no intention to leave soon.

Plus of all the people i knew, no-one had a bad experience, and no one was planning to leave just yet. The only bad experiences are things like the restrictive culture, and things like that. Dont be put off.
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Old Sep 25th 2007, 1:23 pm
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Default Re: Riyadh...moving

Originally Posted by maranelloman View Post
I think to call it hell is a massive overstatement. I know plenty of expats there, some who had been there 20+ years. They loved it and had no intention to leave soon.

Plus of all the people i knew, no-one had a bad experience, and no one was planning to leave just yet. The only bad experiences are things like the restrictive culture, and things like that. Dont be put off.
I work in retail and will manage a large Supermarket, where obviously my customers will be locals...am i likely to feel threatened every time i walk past a customer???
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Old Sep 25th 2007, 1:35 pm
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Default Re: Riyadh...moving

Originally Posted by reecefam View Post
I work in retail and will manage a large Supermarket, where obviously my customers will be locals...am i likely to feel threatened every time i walk past a customer???
Absolutely not. Saudi is probably a billion times safer than the UK, and the people are welcoming. What sticks out to most people is the bombings, but they are a rarity and like flying the odds are very low. I've never heard of a westerner having a bad experience. People from pakistan/india/bangladesh however are usually treated as 2nd class citizens!

BTW which supermarket will you be working for? PM me if you dont want to say here.

If its a step up for you, go for it.
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Old Sep 25th 2007, 2:51 pm
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Default Re: Riyadh...moving

Hi maranelloman, we have a wireless internet connection which is OK - we don't do a huge amount of downloading etc. and not being very technical can't comment on speed. However, my husband says it's not great at work when everyone is online.

Re working at a large supermarket - they are also frequented by numerous ex-pats. As others have said we've not encountered problems when out using the supermarkets and shopping malls.

I really do think being in Saudi is all about your state of mind, we know people who moan ALL the time about the abbaya, the locals, the driving blah blah yawn. There is good and bad everywhere, and Saudi is the same. You have to be positive. Life is what you make it, and it's usually not the country you are in but the people you are surrounded by who make life good (or bad). The best advise I can give you - and particularly your wife - is to stay away from the negative moaners who have nothing good to say about the country or the people. We have found we are more in contact with Arabic people here than we ever were in Dubai and they are kind, gentle and hospitable people. They also know that many of the ex-pats moan about them and slag them off - which can't be too nice. They are like people everywhere, if treated pleasantly will respond in kind. After all, none of us like to be sterotyped or treated with disrespect.

This isn't a country I would want to be in for a long time (but never say never . . .) but am happy to be here for a couple of years. Don't know if your wife works, but she might want to get a job as compound life doesn't suit everyone. The coffee mornings are truly dire and to be avoided . . . . unless you like playing bingo or beetle!!

Hope this helps.
Nicola
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Old Sep 25th 2007, 2:55 pm
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Default Re: Riyadh...moving

Nicola

Thanks for that. And agree with pretty much all you said above!
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Old Sep 25th 2007, 3:06 pm
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Default Re: Riyadh...moving

Maranellaman said that Saudi is a billion times safer than the UK...not from my experience. The road traffic accident death rate is awful, unaccompanied women (usually housemaids) are frequently abducted by motorists and brutally raped, electrical fires are an every day occurrence, vandalism is extremely common, carjackings happen in remote areas, burglaries are plentiful and night time muggings occur in unlit areas. Not many of these crimes get reported in the media, which is strictly controlled, but I have had to investigate them in a professional capacity. The growing trend is employees absconding with company cash, but that doesn't really affect us. It's simply the usual story where extreme wealth meets extreme poverty.
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Old Sep 25th 2007, 3:23 pm
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Default Re: Riyadh...moving

Lionheart

You may be right, but i was talking about personal experience. I never had anything stolen from my car, even though I never used to lock it, and never heard of burglaries, I guess cos I was living in a compound. However in the UK there are many social problems, and crime as a result. In london crime is everywhere, and gun crime is growing.

I agree with you about the driving situation, and Riyadh is particularly bad at that. Roads are very good, but the local drivers need to learn how to drive.

Saying that its the only place Ive ever been to where the shops stay unmanned at prayer time and nothing gets nicked.
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