Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I'll include yesterday's news with today's. Subtitles are needed.

She Becomes He

Gender changing surgery is not widely accepted in this part of the world - but it takes place much more frequently than one might think it would. I know there is some medical condition where babies can be born with both male and female sex organs which is, supposedly, quite rare. For such a rare condition, it is surprising how many operations correcting this anomaly take place, here. But then, when interrelated marriages can be attributed to so many other abnormalities... A toddler's destiny has been decided and "she" is now a "he."

Tooth Decay

More than 90% of Saudi children suffer from tooth decay! Alarming, I think. But then, when candy has its own dedicated aisles in grocery stores, and when candy and cookies get a whole lot more space than the produce departments do, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that, along with obesity, there is going to be tooth decay.

Everybody Dance Now!

The King has "called for performing Istisqa (rain-seeking) prayers throughout the Kingdom on Wednesday." It is a request that is made yearly. Clouds are also "seeded" here, to make rain. We have not had much rain in this part of the country at all. Although other parts - south - have received enough to cause flooding. The infrastructure was not built to accommodate "water from the sky." There are no drain culverts or anything like that - so everything floods. Strangely enough - before I opened the blind in our study this morning I could hear cars going through water - the splashing "sound" tires make when they go through puddles. Hmmph. Must have rained. Great. Got to make sure The Boy's "cast" stays dry... The back patio and yard are "bone dry," but there is water running down the street - obviously a water leak somewhere... In a country where water is such a valuable commodity a leak is not a good thing. But then, it can't be too valuable - everybody's cars get washed daily and patios and sidewalks do not get swept - they get hosed down. [I don't let the gardner hose the patio down - I know it is more work to sweep it - but the salt water is just killing our patio furniture!]

Let me know how long it takes for you to get the tune to "Everybody Dance Now" out of your head...

Just Another Maid, Abused

Unfortunately, that she has changed her story is not going to bode well for her. Originally she said she fell; now she says that she "was beaten by the husband, wife and son of the family she served." Anybody remember the Nour Miyati case? She was horribly, terribly abused by her employers [the case, as far as I know, still lingers in the court system, here], and then in a "shocking" twist of events SHE was charged with making false allegations against her employers. [Clicking that link will take you to the newspaper article which is accompanied by a picture of Ms. Miyati lying in a hospital bed with bandaged hands and a face beaten so badly her eyes do not open. A link to another photograph of Ms. Miyati is here.] Fall... Beating... Same same.


That is what I'm going to use from hereon to denote "Population Control Road Carnage." A family of 8 was killed when their "GMC collided with the rear of a truck." Collided with the rear of a truck! Unless that truck was in reverse and backing up down the road at breakneck speed, there is only ONE way a vehicle collides INTO the REAR of another vehicle. The truck driver sustained injuries and has been hospitalized. We won't know the final outcome of this - doubtful it will ever get reported - but I'd be willing to place a wager on the truck driver being found at fault for causing the "accident." The "young driver" of the GMC is the only other survior. "...eight were pronounced dead at the scene. The three-year-old girl was found dead on her dead mother's lap." Just another family that didn't get the memo about seat-belting children in the back seat of vehicles. "It was not clear yet what caused the crash." Let me help you with that. The driver of the GMC was going so fast he couldn't slow down when he came upon the truck and "bam crash zap splatt!"

Candy Man

Late with this news. Valentine's Day has passed. Valentine's Day has little to do with this news, however. More to do with booze. Lots of booze. 7000 liters. "Neighbors of an African resident... were shocked to discover that he was not a trader in candy he purported to be, but instead was housing a small alcohol factory and playing host to illicit parties." [Clicking here will take you to the article and its accompanying picture.]

Goat Crossing

A photo of goats crossing the "road from Al-Qassim to Makkah... Incidents of animals, especially camels, colliding with vehicles on the roads has been a perennial problem in Saudi Arabia." Always the camel's fault. Or the goat's. Yeah. Watch out for those speeding camels and those reckless goats!

Gum versus Halalas

I don't know how long the practice has been going on, giving out gum instead of "change," or "halalas." It has been going on as long as we've been here, and quite frankly, I don't want either. Yes. It did come as something of a surprise to me the first time a cashier handed me a pack of gum instead of change. I'm pretty sure I've blogged on this before - when your total bill comes to SR459.80, or something like that, you get handed .20 in halalas, two 10 halala coins. Keep them. Conversely, if my bill comes to 449.20, you need to give me back a single riyal - not 80 halalas. I figure that it all evens out in the end that way. And, unless I can pick out what kind of gum I want - don't bother giving me that pack of soft peppermint chewing gum which never gets to "gum" consistency and loses its flavor about thirty seconds after you start chewing it. If my change is a 50 halalas, I'll take it. That is half a riyal. A single riyal is worth about .27 in U.S. currency, so the 50 halala piece is worth approximately .13 1/2 cents - hey, that's a little more than a dime. But those 25, 10 and 5 halala coins? Never mind. Totally worthless. You would have to save a lot - I mean a lot - of them for it to add up. I don't want a bunch of coins that are worth less than a nickel taking up space in my wallet, thankyouverymuch. The 5 halala coin? Worth about a penny.

Enough for today. Nothing particularly earth-shattering. That is the way it should be.


  1. The first article makes me sad. It's so hard to tell what sex these children truly are until they are old enough to figure it out for themselves. It's starting to become the norm in the US to leave the genitals alone until the child can choose.

  2. HI Sabra
    Gum instead of change, how very strange indeed. Everybody Dance now! haha lol, I will probably always now link that song in my head to rain dance songs, too bad wendnesday is over, sorry King,

  3. "It's so hard to tell what sex these children truly are until they are old enough to figure it out for themselves." That is far too logical, Samantha!

  4. And just look where that gum ends up, Anonymous. [Picture on today's post.]

  5. Another reason to love reading your Blog. I always learn somthing new. Thank you.

  6. Thanks, RowdyRed. Glad I can share!


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