Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Boy of Riyadh

Leaving the lights of Riyadh beneath me and flying north over the desert of Saudi Arabia, I'm compelled to write a different type of blog post. Just before takeoff, "Allah Akbar" came over the speaker three times, followed by an Islamic prayer - the traditional recital by the prophet Mohammad before travelling. Now, sitting in the window seat, the moon is off to my right obscured by a sandstorm that rolled in earlier this afternoon.

This is not the first time on this trip that my travelling companions from Jordan have said "Did you ever think you'd be...", and every answer is "well, I didn't think I wouldn't..."

At the same time, it's also familiar - Saudi has a distinctly American mark on it. Many outlets are US standard, and Floor 1 on some buildings is the ground floor (that actually confused me for a little bit). Then there's trying to use the bathroom in the airport, where I can't get in because everyone is washing their feet in the sink before prayers - not that you'd want to use these bathrooms anyway.

So, to answer the question another way, did I ever think I'd be taking a late domestic flight from Riyadh to Dammam on the gulf coast, while typing a blog, listening to all of the heated conversations around me in Arabinglish, and staring at the occasional bonfire drifting by in the desert below? Nope, but it's something I'm happy I'm experiencing. More to come when I'm back on UAE soil...er, sand.

1 comment:

UDJim said...

I can honestly say that, as you were growing up, this possibility never occurred to me either.

Like they say, never say never.