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Been in KSA 3 months. My HONEST take on the place

Been in KSA 3 months. My HONEST take on the place

Old Dec 3rd 2016, 1:33 pm
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Default Been in KSA 3 months. My HONEST take on the place

Crikey, it's NOTHING like what I expected it to be, and if you're a woman like me, pls...think again before committing to moving out here!!!

I have joined my Husband who is working with the Saudi Air force here in Abha/Khamis Mushyat. We have two kids, 12 and 10.

Abha: Umm....well it isn't as developed as the main cities like Jeddah and Riyadh but it has the basics like shopping malls and eat out places and the people are very friendly. Beautiful scenic places to visit as we're in Aseer Province and the weather is just lush! As I'm typing I have the heater on as it gets pretty chilly up here! Saying all of this tho...the excitement lasts about a week and then reality kick in!

Don't ask about schools in this area, they are a nightmare. No where near the professionalism probably shown in the major cities. Teachers are local hence, English is rubbish. The irony is I am a fully qualified teacher, having got my PGCE with Oxford University and no school wants me because they are "intimidated", it is such a joke, the schools here need so much guidance but "politics" are getting in the way or the pay they are offering is just pants and doesn't make taking on such a work load worth it, I would rather give proper time to my family. The English language centres advertise for teachers, but prefer males, doesn't matter how qualified you are.

Outings: Once you've done the tourist thing, there are only 2 things to do, and they get boring after a while as well; malls and eating out. For a woman, these are the only two choices. If you live in a compound then I'm sure the social life is much better but if you live out in civil accomodation it's just you and the four walls surrounding you. Hubby and kids go off in the morning and its just me on my lonesome with crap sat channels. Before you ask, yes, I have lost it a few times, you can literally feel yourself going nuts!

Restaurants are limited here, McDonalds, Pizza Hut KFC, Burger King are the main chains but everything else is local and if you are not used to Saudi food, then your choices are limited to the above. A Dunken Donuts opened 2 weeks ago and the locals went mental for it, took us 25 mins just to order 6 donuts, but that sums up how starved this place is of eat out joints. There are few Indian and Pakistani restaurants as there is a large Asian community here. The restaurants serve yummy, authentic eastern food so that's a plus!

Malls: There are 3 big malls here, all with the same stores within them, local and international, but still limited in choice to what you would get in say, Riyadh.

Things are VERY expensive here compared to the main cities. I had to buy an abiya for my daughter and it was 2x more expensive than Jeddah. Basics can be bought from the 5 and 10 Riyal shops but quality is a bit naff. Food items are pricey. We wait for the special deals that come up every Thursday in the Hyper Panda supermarket. We have Panda, Othaim and Dunube here, that's all. Electronics are pricey too, again wait for the sales or special deals.

Boredom IS a fact here, it will hit you big time. No activities for the kids except TV and PS4 and when we take them out by force to at least have a change of scene. Major lack of outdoor activities here.

I'm missing the UK with all my heart, not enough words to express how much. It really makes you realise how much we take that country for granted.

I miss not being able to drive, my independence. Adjusting to having to rely on my Hubby for everything has been really difficult.

If there is an expat community here then I haven't encountered them yet. Just one bloke in the supermarket agreeing with me whilst I was moaning about the cheese and how I miss Sainsbury's cheese!

Ladies, PLEASE, if you are thinking of joining your partner here in KSA, please think carefully about it. KSA is very restrictive compared to Dubai, Qatar etc. You will lose your freedom here.
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Old Dec 3rd 2016, 3:49 pm
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Default Re: Been in KSA 3 months. My HONEST take on the place

If you had posted here before you moved we would have told you.

It's a shit hole. Hopefully one day the oil will become worthless and the Saudis can drink it.
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Old Dec 3rd 2016, 4:06 pm
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Default Re: Been in KSA 3 months. My HONEST take on the place

What will happen to the Gulf when the oil runs out or becomes worthless?

I suspect the UAE will be ok but Qatar and Saudi?

I can't imagine Qatar having any kind of future once the oil wealth is gone.

Originally Posted by Millhouse View Post
If you had posted here before you moved we would have told you.

It's a shit hole. Hopefully one day the oil will become worthless and the Saudis can drink it.
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Old Dec 3rd 2016, 4:51 pm
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Default Re: Been in KSA 3 months. My HONEST take on the place

Originally Posted by DXBtoDOH View Post
What will happen to the Gulf when the oil runs out or becomes worthless?

I suspect the UAE will be ok but Qatar and Saudi?

I can't imagine Qatar having any kind of future once the oil wealth is gone.
The whole region will impode. There is no post oil middle East. When the easy money stops and they have to work and pay taxes the governments will have to answer to the people. Civil wars aplenty.
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Old Dec 3rd 2016, 5:07 pm
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Default Re: Been in KSA 3 months. My HONEST take on the place

Even the UAE?

Originally Posted by Millhouse View Post
The whole region will impode. There is no post oil middle East. When the easy money stops and they have to work and pay taxes the governments will have to answer to the people. Civil wars aplenty.
Will be interesting to look at this place when we're old and grey (and safe in our expat retirements in the Med).
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Old Dec 3rd 2016, 5:42 pm
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Default Re: Been in KSA 3 months. My HONEST take on the place

Originally Posted by DXBtoDOH View Post
Even the UAE?



Will be interesting to look at this place when we're old and grey (and safe in our expat retirements in the Med).
When the powerkeg that is Saudi falls everywhere will follow in my opinion.

I'll be splitting my time between Spain and Thailand.
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Old Dec 3rd 2016, 7:08 pm
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Default Re: Been in KSA 3 months. My HONEST take on the place

Originally Posted by Millhouse View Post
When the powerkeg that is Saudi falls everywhere will follow in my opinion.

I'll be splitting my time between Spain and Thailand.
....and transiting through the Middle East.
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Old Dec 3rd 2016, 8:07 pm
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Default Re: Been in KSA 3 months. My HONEST take on the place

I was expecting something on the line of "women are really respected here, they are not allowed to drive because Saudi men treat their woman like royalty ... "



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Old Dec 3rd 2016, 10:51 pm
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Default Re: Been in KSA 3 months. My HONEST take on the place

Originally Posted by Millhouse View Post
The whole region will impode. There is no post oil middle East. When the easy money stops and they have to work and pay taxes the governments will have to answer to the people. Civil wars aplenty.

in a nutshell exactly this.
Rashid said something along the lines of "my father rode a camel, I drive a merc, my son will drive a merc, but his son will ride a camel"
Something similar to that. Point being, they also know what's coming, hence let's get as much of this black shit out the ground and flog it now.

We are not the only transient ones here

Last edited by lightandbitter2; Dec 3rd 2016 at 10:55 pm.
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Old Dec 3rd 2016, 10:53 pm
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Default Re: Been in KSA 3 months. My HONEST take on the place

Originally Posted by lightandbitter2 View Post
in a nutshell exactly this.
Rashid said something along the lines of "my father rode a camel, I drive a merc, my son will drive a merc, but his son will ride a camel"
Something similar to that.
We are not the only transient ones here
ps. The OP is iggle in disguise
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Old Dec 5th 2016, 9:48 am
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Default Re: Been in KSA 3 months. My HONEST take on the place

To be honest, moving to Abha as a family shouldn't have been an option in the first place. Riyadh, Jeddah, Damman fair enough, its a well trodden path and you can make a go at resembling some sort of normality eventually if you stick at it for long enough... but to kick off in Abha has disaster written all over it I'm afraid.


I would re-think the set up for your own sanity- Bahrain or Dubai and husband visits at weekends.
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Old Dec 17th 2016, 12:38 pm
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Default Re: Been in KSA 3 months. My HONEST take on the place

Recommend checking out this site

Blue Abaya » Discover Saudi Arabia Through Nordic Eyes

Hopefully you may get some relevant information and insight.

Cheers

I also would seriously recommend relocating to Bahrain and have your husband visit on weekends. It will be a sanity saver for you and your girls.
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Old Dec 19th 2016, 8:19 am
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Default Re: Been in KSA 3 months. My HONEST take on the place

Bahrain would be ideal but it is a heavy weekly commute given immigration and doesn't work for family time if your husband does not have flexibility on Sunday / Thursday for late starts / early finishes.


In your case, even moving to Jeddah or Riyadh with your husband catching a cheap internal flight would be a good start. Get into a compound, British schools and make new friends, it wont seem that bad at all.
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