Wednesday, December 30, 2009

And Another Thank You to the...

...phukktards out there that are going to make flying absolutely hellacious. Canada has decided to limit carry-on baggage for flights to the United States. The measure may only be temporary, but that isn't the point. The point is that because there is ONE group of people out there intent on seeing as many people dead as possible, some 99.99% of the rest of the population has to be majorily inconvenienced. The no carry-on rule doesn't bother me, for the time being, because I do not have any reason to fly to the States from Canada. How long, though, will it be before the same rule applies to ALL flights to the States?

Here's the thing. The ONE issue, besides what to do with the extremists [because profiling them would be so politically incorrect!], that has yet to be addressed is theft. Oh, pluheeze, do not even try to tell me that things do not go missing from luggage. They do. And they go missing from OUR luggage in the States, not over here in the Middle East. We use those security locks that ONLY the TSA can open and that is when the theft occurs. This is not something that has happened just once. Or even just twice. SEVERAL TIMES! Oh, I'm sure there are honest TSA employees. It just so happens that the few that are not honest ruin it for the rest of them.

How are we going to be guaranteed that if we check our bags and are not allowed anything but minimal carry-on luggage that our belongings are actually going to arrive at our destinations with us? Has anyone heard anyone discussing this part of the equation? No. Everyone is all up in arms with the fact that we are going to have to go through body scanners where every roll of adipose tissue can be viewed by a complete stranger. Nice. Just fabulous.

But, again, I ask, how are we going to make sure that all of our packed belongings make it to our destinations with us? What will be done to make sure that items do not go missing from luggage? Nothing much has been done about this so far as I can tell. Oh, and for the record, just try filling out the forms to file a claim with TSA when items go missing. You are in what is nothing more than an exercise in futlity. Belts and make-up and silk shirts go missing? That is just too bad. Deal. As if we expected ANYTHING more than what amounts to theft from a government agency. With the current administration? Nah. Theft is just par for the course.

Any word on how many "government" workers have been fired for allowing Abdulmutallab to NOT have his visa revoked and for ALLOWING him to board a plane? How about all those people that were advised that Abdulfukmutallab was not a nice man? His own father was warning everyone and NO ONE listened. How many of those people are no longer a part of our super-duper intelligence service? What's the real scoop on the man who was traveling with him? We are NOT being told the truth. Again. With the current administration? Nah. Lies are just par for the course.

Great Idea for a Reality Show.

"How Desperate Are You?" Here is the idea: Get a group of girls and women together. Say, ages ten to forty and an old man who is looking for a wife. Whoever comes up with the most unique dowry gets to marry the man. I could be really wrong on this but I'd be willing to venture a guess that the 30-year-old woman who married a 95-year-old man - who has no money to speak of - is desperate. Why else would you marry someone sixty-five years older than you? Love? Umm hmm. Sure. The man, at best has about five years to live. He is currently supporting two other wives on his 2,000 riyal social security pay [$536.19]. No. You don't go into a marriage that way unless you are desperate. Very, very desperate.

Five more studies in happiness, here. Five women want their husband's jailed for being abusive. Brooke Mueller wants the same thing. Let us know how it all works out.

Oh, and speaking of marriage. How many divorces have taken place this year, over here in the Sandbox, because women [all of the sudden?] have decided they do not want to share? Selfish. That is what those women are. Just plain 'ol selfish. They don't want to share their husband with another woman. Can you even... Another divorce due to this very reason. It is almost comical.

Yep. Wedded bliss, alright. "A Saudi citizen has been keeping his wife and two sons 'jailed' in his old home... for over 20 years, because they are mentally ill..." Yeah, they probably are now - after so many years of confinement. Who is the "Saudi citizen" and what qualifies him to determine that his wife and sons are mentally ill? The man, whoever he is, doesn't even let his wife in the kitchen to cook because he is afraid she is going to hurt herself. Did he have a clue as to his wife's mental condition before he married her and had two sons? Something is not right with this "story." A story. That is what it is. As in "made up" and unbelievable. Oh, I'm not doubting that some insecure guy with little man syndrome has kept his wife and two sons locked up. What I doubt is the reason why.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Have a Nice Day

"Hope ya have a good day wherever you are (unless of course you're some Liberal asshole, and in that case I hope you get hit by a high speed train, with your family in the car)..."

Shamelessly stolen from Big Dick's place.

Dick sure does have a way with words.

Tide costs $43.69

Is it just me or does that seem like an awful lot to pay for 150 ounces of laundry soap? I did not ship any back this year because they are carrying it at the Commissary, now. That is almost twice what it costs in the States [$22.56 at Lowes Foods].

Originally I paid $45.84 [more than twice what it costs in the States!] for it. I went to go do laundry yesterday morning and saw the price on the cap, 162.9 S
R - round it off - 163 SR [the .10 halala difference amounts to one-third of a cent or something minimal like that]. I was overcharged by 8 riyals. 8 riyals! $2.14. Hey, $2.14 is $2.14. So, when I went to the Commissary to get Diet 7-Up yesterday afternoon I took the Tide and my receipt, with me.
Darn Skippy I got my 8 riyals back. And made sure to speak to one of the managers so that it gets changed in the computer. $2.14. When you have to spend that much on laundry soap you do not want to be over charged by even a few cents.
Oh - and I tried a different brand of Laban. Nada. Their milk is wonderful. Their juices are the best. Their Laban? Not so much. It was awful. Sticking with Activia from now on.

Monday, December 28, 2009

One big thank you and a shout-out to...

...phukktard No. 2! You are going to make flying a joy for all of us. Everyone. Hoo boy. While I am in a thanking mood, I better not forget to thank the jug-eared-jack-ass and his crackpot administration. Janet Napolitano said, "the system worked" regarding two men with dubious backgrounds and questionable intents who have flown NWA/Delta Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit within the past week. She said what?!! Oh my gosh. Janet confirms for me that not only does she look like a finger puppet but that she certainly isn't smarter than one! Take a good look at her next time she's on the news. Does she not look like a finger puppet? Something about the shape of her. From the shoulders up. Never mind what she looks like. It is what she said. "...the system worked." Janet, you now officially become phukktard No. 3. [Janet has decided she misspoke and is back-tracking her statement now. Too late. We know exactly what you meant finger puppet.]

Wake up people! Wake up!!! What, exactly, is it going to take before you realize that there is a specific group of "bad people" out there that want for nothing less than to see us - Americans, Westerners - anyone who disagrees with their radical philosophy - lifeless. Lifeless! In some way, shape or form. That particular group of "bad people" will do just about anything to attain their goal. Anything. Absolutely nothing is going to stop them or get in their way. Including their own lives. The new airline rules? Nothing more than a trivial inconvenience to them. Major inconvenience to the rest of us, though. What has already become a test of the futility of one's patience - airline travel - is now going to become a living, breathing, wide awake horror show!

The new rules that are going to be put into place for those of us that travel by air are going to be so rigid that flying is going to be an absolute nightmare. A nightmare! Just getting through security is going to add an hour to travel time - if not longer. Oh, and by the way. The new rules? Nothing more than a complete and utter false sense of security and total waste of time. Carry on luggage is going to be hand-searched. Swell. Like I want my "personal items" manhandled by someone who may or may not have ever used hand-sanitizer. I do not even want to think about where that hand has been...

This is just grand. Like it is going to make a dayum bit of difference. It isn't going to take a rocket-scientist to figure out that if you want to take a plane down that putting the boom-boom device in your pants isn't going to work, and putting it in your carry on luggage is out [pluheeze - like the majority of TSA workers are even bright enough to figure out what something unknown is - but if you have a little pair of manicure scissors...]

A post over at Pamela Geller's place lists the new rules [Pamela got them from a reader with the following]:

My father is an airline Captain with one of South Africa's more prominent airlines and is affiliated with the South African Airways which flies into the US. As a result of the latest terrorism attempt on South West Airlines, the following Emergency Directive has been placed in effect and is applicable to any and all airlines flying within the USA.

Due to a person who tried and blow up a flight with fireworks, the US Transportation Security Administration had implemented an Emergency Security Directive that carries the following new requirements and is applicable to all carriers operating into the US with immediate effect.

Before Flight Boarding

- A physical search ("pat-down") by security or police officer prior to passenger boarding for 100% of the passengers

- 100% of carry-on baggage must be physically searched prior to passenger boarding

- All passenger communications systems (email, satcom telephone and SMS) must be disabled prior to boarding and remain disabled the entire flight

During Flight Within US Airspace

- No passenger announcement can be made indicating the aircraft's flight path or location over US cities/landmarks

- Any system displaying aircraft position or time to destination cannot be operated in flight. Therefore, the Airshow system and both forward and downard cameras will have to be disabled on passenger screens.

- Within 1 hour prior to landing all passengers must be seated and remain seated until deplaning at the gate

- No passenger can have access to his carry-on baggage

- Passengers may not have any article of personal belongings, pillows or blankets (bedding items for First and Business Classes). All passenger communications systems (email, satcome telephone and SMS) must be disabled prior to boardding and remain disabled the entire flight

- Passengers may not have any article of personal belongings, pillows or blankets (bedding items for First and Business Classes)

This is a joke. A joke! Not a single one of the new rules is going to make a dayum bit of difference.

New Year's Resolutions and Etcetera

Time for New Year's resolutions, if you are so inclined. [By all means, do share in comments!]

"Quit b1tching." That will be my one and only resolution. Setting myself up for immediate failure with that one, though, I think. It. Cannot. Be. Done. I'll have to come up with something else... If I thought / think quitting smoking was / is tough... I still have another three days to think about it.

A quick exposition, here, on a man whining because his salary was dropped from 7,500 riyals a month to 4,000 [$2,010.72 to $1,072.38]. But with the proverbial shoe on the other foot, who can blame him, right? Here's the thing. The problem, as far as the whining man is concerned, is that his "labor case" which is currently in the "system" is "moving at a snail's pace." Psst. You are not alone. All those imported laborers who have cases in the system? Their cases drag on for years. You don't see them staging hunger strikes, do you? 'Ya wanna know why? Because they would starve to death. Dumbass. But you go ahead and let us know how it works out for you. The man, Adel Al-Mahrooqi, says "he was harassed by his Arab boss as a Makka hotel where he had worked in an attempt to force him to rseign. 'The boss wanted to have the job vacancy for one of his relatives.'" Like that is the first time something like that has ever happened [here, or elsewhere]. Waaah wahh wahh. Crying is so unbecoming in these kinds of situations. I wish I could muster up some empathy. Perhaps I can find some after the final verdict of his case is delivered - sometime around April of next year. [Only four months away - how much weight do you think the guy will lose before then with his hunger strike?]

Out of the mouths of children. Kids. [Chuckle and snort.] A ten-year-old boy told his mother that he saw his daddy with another woman. The boy's daddy had to admit to the boy's mother that he had a second wife. You can call it whatever you want. The fact that someone is allowed four wives by law or religion is still adultery in my opinion. I need to make it a point to get out in public - off our compound - and find out how women over here in the Sandbox really feel about being married to someone they have to share. I just don't get it. And, I never will.

Boyohboyohboy. Those Yemeni's sure are trouble, aren't they? If they aren't trying to infiltrate, then they have infiltrated and they are raping and killing women. No matter. Saudi Arabia has a swift justice system. Swift and proficient. Very often criminals who are found guilty of committing certain crimes [murder, rape, apostasy] do not get the opportunity to re-offend. Unlike the criminal justice system in the States which is virtually a revolving door for criminals - commit a crime, get your hand slapped, commit another crime, get your hand slapped again, commit another crime... Here? Commit one of "those" crimes and you are finished. All done.

Her crime? Not sure. Being uncovered, maybe? She was found wearing jeans and a blouse [oh my! how Western], covered with bruises. Where was her father at the time of the crime? How about her brothers? Never mind. Nothing to see here folks. Move along...

'Ya learn something new every day. Who knew that being in an "unnatural state" was a euphemism "often employed to mean intoxicate with alcohol?" A 35-year-old man has been arrested for beating up his 43-year-old sister but it is okay because that is allowed and because he was in an "unnatural state."

Years ago when I was home sick from work with the flu - it was the late 80's - I was laying in bed watching television. Calling in sick is not something that I did. I can specifically recall the entire incident - my being sick, and having the flu - because I was actually sent home from work and told to stay home until I was no longer contagious! Okay. Fine. It was a Friday. So, there I was. In bed. Starting to feel better. Thinking about the work that was piling up at the office. Not happy about not being there - at the office. We had cable television, but only the "basic" package. Daytime television was still limited with the "basic" package, back then. Donahue. Sally Jessy. Soap operas. All interspersed with lots and lots and lots of commercials. The kind of commercials that were "call 1-800-ord-rnow" types of things. Many of them were "if you would like more information just call 1-800-buy-this." I cannot tell you what possessed me to do what I did. I have a younger sister that we call "Miss Perfect" and for some reason... I felt the need... Every single commercial that came on, I called the 800 number and requested information. In the name of my sister. During the course of a single Friday afternoon I was able to get my sister and her husband bombarded with junk mail and put onto every single mailing and calling list known to mankind. [Oh, yes. They were both incredibly appreciative. Regardless of the fact that they didn't fully realize how they had been singled out to be quite so "privileged" until many years later when I told them I had done this.] My sister's birthday was yesterday. I forgot to send her a card. Oops. Sorry. I did, however, send her a gift. I cannot help but chuckle just thinking of her receiving this. "Happy Birthday. Here is a present. A do-it-yourself kit. You're welcome." Of course I had it gift-wrapped! What kind of sister do you think I am, anyway?! Hey. It's the thought that counts.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Well, okay, then. Because you said so.

If you say they are gone, then they are gone. I guess. Interesting little theory. I used to use the same theory with dust bunnies. "Well, look at that. They are all gone." In actuality, though, they had retreated under the couch and they weren't really gone. The King has done much the same with "infiltrators" here in the Sandbox. "Saudi Arabia has emerged victorious in a conflict with rebels, saying the army has driven away the last infiltrators from its territory." Alrighty, then. It must be so. [No. I am not making fun of the King. I have a great deal more respect for him than I do the leader of my country. Did you see the King bowing down to the jugearedjackass? No. You did not. It was quite clearly the other way around. And the jugearedjackass didn't stop there. He has continued to bow down to other dignitaries and officials since then. Including Burger King.]

Flying from hereon out, as if it wasn't enough of a pain in the butt, ought to be a real joy. Thanks to this phukktard. What more can they possibly do to screen potential wrong-doers - besides, oh, I dunno know, PROFILE!! - as they go through security? We'll be flying neked from now on, wrapped in nothing more than plastic film - Saran Wrap - and duck-tapped to our seats. You thought the searches were invasive before? Get ready for full body probing. It IS coming. Mark my words. All because of one particular... The same group that is going to jump up and down and scream "that's not fair," "we are being singled out" and "it is our right to wear a black tent and mask over our face." Umm hmm. You'll be stripping that garb off, discarding it in a pile at your feet and bending over for some special apparatus... Security measures have been ramped up and right now "pat-downs" are taking place. Pat-downs. Ohhh. We should all feel so much safer, now. Because NO ONE would ever think to conceal something up his - hey, wait a minute - hasn't that already been tried? Yeah. I remember, now...

I do not believe that the man acted alone. Nope. No way. Well, I guess that is a given as he supposedly got the "boom-boom" stuff from a bearded less than ten-fingered man* in Yemen and instructions from Yemen as well, but I mean at the airport. Someone knew he was rigged up to go ka-plooey and they let him go through security that way. If I were a betting woman I'd be willing to bet that there were more than one "someone's" that helped this man get from point A to B to C and then D [as in Detroit]. But, then... I'm not a betting woman.

Did he get on the plane in Amsterdam without a passport? Heads need to roll. Right now. If they haven't already rolled. "He's from Sudan and we do this all the time." Well, maybe you do, pal, but Sudan is a third-world-country not a civilized one like Amsterdam. You have got to be phukking kidding! And to trump that, the man was already on a "watch list" but managed to board the plane anyway? Anyone involved with passing this newest specimen of a "man made disaster" [is that what we're calling them, now?] through security needs to be thrown in jail. Lock 'em up and throw away the key. We can ask questions later.

Yeah, I know that isn't the way the jugearedjackass would handle this, but he's on vacation right now. Let someone who knows about these kinds of things step in and take care of things. Where's Dick Cheney when we need him? Flying is going to be fantastic fun from now on! I am sooo not l
ooking forward to my next flight. This just makes me so angry, words cannot even begin...

Let's see. While I'm at it and in such a snarky mood. How about this. "About 70 percent of children in Saudi Arabia suffer rape and xesual harassment at the hands of relatives..." What?!! That has got to be an error. The sentence has got to mean, that 70 percent of children abused in Saudi Arabia and not that 70 percent of the children in Saudi Arabia are abused. Right? [Who knows. I could be very wrong and the sentence could, indeed, be a fact.] That 70 percent of them are abused by relatives does not come as a surprise. Supposedly the other 30 percent of abuse is done by the hands of "domestic helpers and strangers." Ahh. Someone knows their math! Probably not the "domestic helpers" that are committing the abuse, though. Strangers. That I can see. Most domestic helpers are too afraid of their own dayum shadows to even sneeze, let alone abuse a child. They know how severe punishments are, for them, here. The domestic helpers are not the abusers. They are the abusees. A gynecologist at King Saud Medical Complex says that she "receives at least three cases of xesual harassment at her clinic every week, mostly against housemaids from their employers." That is ONE gynecologist at one medical facility. How many more are out there that we do NOT hear about?!? This abuse thing doesn't bother me nearly as much as the flying thing...

*Yeah, alright. I made part of that up. I was referring to something from a movie, "The Kingdom."

See, here:

Grant Sykes: [upon seeing Al Ghazi inspecting hands of dead bodies] Fingerprints are on the other side.

Colonel Faris Al Ghazi: I'm not looking for fingerprints.

Grant Sykes: Then what are you doing?

Colonel Faris Al Ghazi: Fingers.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It is all in the heart.

Call me Scrooge. Passing on Christmas, this year. For the most part. Just want it to be over. The whole Holiday thing. I want to wake up and for it to be January 2nd. The reason for the season has not completely escaped me, however. The reason for the season is in my heart and will always be. I am just not willing to give into the other aspects of Christmas, this year.

Holidays are especially difficult in the Sandbox. There is little merriment or joy or spreading of cheer off the compound. No bell ringers. No Christmas carols in the department stores. No decorated lamp posts. Certainly none in Saudi Arabia. Bahrain has gone out of its way, and from what I understand, so has Qatar.* I have had a hard time with Christmas - and Thanksgiving - since we arrived - quite a few years ago.

DH and I decided that we were NOT going to do anything for Christmas this year. I just cannot see the point of DH to heading off to the malls struggling to select a gift [whoo boy - this is a struggle for him - big struggle - although he usually does quite well] for me, and I do not see the point of me getting a gift for DH which I have to charge on my credit card which DH then has to pay. "Merry Christmas, Honey. How do you like your new watch I got for you which you get to pay for?" See? No point. None. I'd rather we spend the money elsewhere. A vacation in Australia and New Zealand in 2010. Or something.

I have spent the last couple of days making cupcakes for gifts. I spent several hours last night frosting and decorating them. They are festive looking. Green [pistachio!], Christmas color... The cupcakes are for DH's drivers - he gets picked up at the door every day that he works and taken straight to the hanger and then returns home the same way. There are cupcakes for the two guys at the Commissary who unload my cart into my truck. Cupcakes for the guy who grinds and bags my coffee every other week. And for the two guys at the cleaners. Also for the trash collectors, and our household help. Oh, and our fabulous Babysitter. Some 150 cupcakes - more or less - in all, so far. Something different. Every year I do cookies. This year I decided on cupcakes. I have even gone so far as to put a little slip of paper in the cards which list the ingredients - nuts - walnuts and pistachios. Dairy products. Eggs, milk. Like my little ingredient list is going to make any difference. I did it in English, not Arabic or Urdu or Bangla.

There was a post on Vilmar's blog not too long ago about tipping. Should you tip people at Christmas time? You know what? Up until this year, I didn't look at it as tipping. It is, though. In a way. I choose to call it a gift. The cash that I put into envelopes and give my workers. Is it not enough that I pay them? This year, cash and cupcakes. Merry Christmas.

*Watch the video and mutter to yourself that the man about to give himself a coronary at the mere thought of a 4 or 5 meter high tree in a shop says that his "kind" are prevented from building minarets in A SINGLE PARTICULAR country... blah, blah, blah. Good grief. Get over yourself. How many Steeples are in Qatar, I wonder? Or elsewhere in the Arabian Peninsula. Not many. And not a SINGLE ONE in the Sandbox. Reciprocity? Umm, yeah. Not so much. I have absolutely not a teeny tiny iota of empathy for this. None. Whatsoever.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Her crime? Using toilet paper.

Goodness gracious. I don't know if that was her crime or not - using toilet paper [which, of course, for reasons totally unfathomable to most of the civilized world, is not allowed in women's rooms here in the Sandbox]. The Hai'a, also known as the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, or the Religious Police, physically removed a woman out of a restroom and beat her before forcing here into one of their vehicles. They did what?!! Dragged her out of a toilet! With "parts of her body exposed."

You have to wonder in stunned amazement what the woman could possibly have done to warrant such treatment and just shake your head that MEN in a country where women, supposedly, are never to be seen - let alone touched - by a men that are unrelated would enter a TOILET to remove a woman from such a "private" place. Unbelievable. Well, no, it isn't, really.

The story is here. No details on what the woman did prior to such a public spectacle. This. Done by an agency who just a week or so ago gave themselves praise for their new kinder, more gentle role. [I'm off to find the link so I can post it, here. Never mind. I've gone through two weeks of both papers, on-line, and I can't find the article. Maybe I saw it several weeks ago?] Umm hmm. Sure.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Patience? All gone.

None. Have absolutely none. DH has a whole lot more than me. One of these days... It is going to come back and bite me in the butt, too.

We went downtown yesterday morning to Tamimi. Had to get a few things at the grocery store that I couldn't get at the Commissary. [Big surprise, there. That the Commissary isn't carrying the most basic items. Green beans! In a can. We have twenty different kinds of creamed corn but not a single can of green beans. Has it occurred to anyone in charge of ordering that perhaps people are NOT eating creamed corn and that is why there is so much on the shelf? Apparently not.]

I got green beans - canned and frozen - at Tamimi. Along with French fried onions and a freezer full of Stouffer's Lasagne! What was a short list of a "few" things turned into a cart full. No problem. We are in line. There is a man in front of us with two items, and in front of him, there is a woman who has almost finished unloading her cart onto the belt to have her groceries tallied and bagged when Mr. Saudi in his thobe comes up and cuts right in front of us. He has one item.

Immediately I told him to get behind us - wait in line like the rest of us. What does DH do? Says, "Come on Honey, he has one item." So? It is the point. And the point is that he thinks he is entitled to cut to the front of the line. He is the same as the asshole that tried to cut us off at Customs last week. "Don't you think you are being just a tad unreasonable?" No. I don't think so. This is why men do these things, here. Because they are not taught differently.

I'm telling Mr. Saudi in his thobe to wait his turn - and DH is pushing him ahead of us and giving me the look that says, "Stop it. Be quiet." Fine. We'll finish this discussion in the car. From now on - no matter where I am or what I am doing - I am going to walk up in front of any Saudi man in a line and push my way first. See how they like it. DH says, "Go for it Honey."

Quitting smoking is NOT for the weak! I've not hurt anyone. Yet. [Not wearing patches anymore, either. After that last bad dream that involved the jugearedjackass and I on a plane, together... Yeah. You can just figure how that one ended. It was not pretty.]

Thursday, December 17, 2009

She, obviously, has her head up her a$$.

I'd say "in the sand," but she is over in "her" country, America. Yesterday there was an article in the Saudi Gazette, "Harassment drives Arab women inside." I didn't bother blogging on it because the article is written about Cairo and other middle eastern countries with very little reference to Saudi Arabia. There was a photo that accompanied the article showing several women in form fitting clothing - tight jeans, and head scarves. If you click the link, above, you'll see the picture.

The article put at least one woman in a tizzy - she doesn't use her real name, instead chooses to go by the name of a gazillion other Arab women, Umm Muhammad [umm, meaning "mother of" and Muhammed - one of her sons, obviously - which has twenty or so different spellings]. I'll call her UM.

Here is what UM has to say:

If you want to understand why 'ikhilat' or mixing between the xeses is banned in Saudi Arabia... you should read the article... Because there is little mixing of the xeses in Saudi Arabia, you do not find problems like teenage pregnancies, rape, fatherless children, xesual harassment, infidelity and work place 'romances' like you do in my country America and other countries.

UM said what?!! Oh, she is right that there is no mixing of the xeses. We all know that that is haram. Very bad. Very, very bad. But to say that "you do not find problems like teenage pregnancies, rape, fatherless children, xesual harassment, infidelity and work place 'romances' here, in the Sandbox, made me snort Diet Coke out my nose! Is she phukking kidding? Actually, I don't think she is.

Here's the thing, UM. You are right about the no mixing part. But, here, in Saudi Arabia "teenage pregnancies" are the norm. For goodness sake, girls are married off at ten and twelve years old. UM is confused. In the States it is called pedophilia. Teenage pregnancies happen later on in a girl's life.

To say that "rape" doesn't happen is just an outright lie. It happens. There are posts and posts on it in my archives - if UM cares to do any research at all now that she has spouted off about something she knows absolutely zilch about. Oh, and it is not just rape of little girls - young women - maids, etc. What about all of the boys that are raped? Mixing of the xeses has nothing to do with rape which is a violent crime... Doesn't happen here. What color is the sky in YOUR world, UM?

Fatherless children? Pluheeze. Plenty of those, here, too. And what kind of father can you be when you have children by four different wives and have four different households. Yeah. Those children may not be quite as fatherless as a particular group of children - a certain demographic - in the States, but I bet if someone asked them what they thought of their father who they see once a week, at most, twice they wouldn't speak very postively about the situation. No need to be out skanking around when you can have four different wives. Call it whatever you want. It is infidelity.

As to xesual harrassment? Do you ever read the newpapers from this side of the world, UM? Ever?! Articles about xesual harassment are printed all of the time. Men are lashed and sent to jail for it. Here it is called blackmail. Google it.

And, finally, as to "work place 'romances'" that is something I can't speak to about first-hand as I have no experience with the work place, here. I'm going to bet that it happens more often than we realize, though. I know that that too has been addressed in articles in our newspapers here.

Get your head out of your a$$, UM! Mixing of xeses? Regardless of whether it is not allowed here in Saudi Arabia it still happens. All of the time. Get your facts right. You are either ignorant or void of a brain. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, this time, and go with ignorant.

Read the comments at the article, of which at this posting, there were only three...

From Robyn Graves, "When you try to put an unnatural wall between the xeses, you instill ignorance, fear... This social experiment is a failure. Most expats working in Saudi find far more respect for racial and gender difference in their home countries than in Saudi Arabia." Oh my gosh, "This social experiment is a failure." Funny stuff, Robyn. Funny stuff. It is interesting to note that Ms. Graves had the guts to use her real name when writing to the paper and that UM did not.

Mohammed says "that women are being abused in this part of the world, but compare [sic] to western world, it is negligible, where women are raped in broad daylight in public places." Oh, really? Care to back that up with a specific example, Mohammed? Just when - and where - was the last report of a woman being "raped in broad daylight in a public place?" Inquiring minds want to know.

Scarlett touches on another aspect of this that I only barely mentioned: "Rape do [sic] exist here in the middle east, even here in saudi arabia where arab employers rape their servants/household workers. you only have to go to the embassies and get the statistics..." Spot on, Scarlett. Spot on.

The HIHA* award of the day goes to Umm Muhammad. For being so incredibly wrong on each and every level of her explanation and for so inaccurately attempting to educate those of us here, in the Sandbox, as to the benefit of xesual segregation. Care to try again?

HIHA = Head In Her A$$


Am I the only one questioning the statistic of white women that go missing are increasingly often [?] victims of their WHITE male husbands? Of the cases profiled in the news, just off the top of my head... Scott Peterson [who may be innocent - questions still unanswered on his case], and Drew Peterson - whose wife, Stacy, has yet to be found. Then there is Michael Peterson - whose wife was found not far from where we lived in North Carolina... and who may have killed not just his last wife, but his first wife also. [What is is with the name Peterson? Eerie.] Let's see... Another North Carolina woman - Nancy Cooper - her husband is charged with her murder. And Kelly Currin, whose husband is likely her murderer - from where? Again, a little town right outside of where we lived in North Carolina. [Granted, I probably pay attention to the crimes that take place in North Carolina due to it being "home," but still...]

And, now, making headlines is a young woman, with two little boys, Susan Powell. Her husband, Joshua, allegedly took the two children who are, I think, two and four-years-old CAMPING at midnight a week or so ago which, coincidentally, happens to be the last night his wife was seen. Yeah. Just a little bit odd that you would take two toddler-aged children CAMPING in cold, wintry weather, in Utah, in December. Sure, pal. Sure.

Interesting that all of these men are white.

Is this a crime - murdering a wife - that is predominently done by while males? For all of the domestic abuse that occurs, worldwide, it seems like every time there is a murder of a wife, chances are quite good that it is the husband that is somehow involved and it just seems to be an awful lot of white males. Just sayin'...

Dinner at Casa Mexicana

The best Mexican food in the Gulf, if you ask me. [I cannot find a website for the restaurant. I found this YouTube Video of "On2elko2" driving by it, though. At 1:23, Casa Mexicana is on the right side. Obviously a morning drive for On2elko2 because there is no traffic. A Friday morning, quite likely.]

Our drive over to Bahrain was not uneventful. Relatively quick, though. A good thing. The Causeway can be a nightmare at times with traffic backed up and a total fuster-cluck of men - all men - vying to be first in every single line. Not a disappointment there, yesterday. We were about five or six cars back in one of the lines to go through the first stop at customs. [The first stop is to get a piece of paper that has the vehicle's license plate number on it and the vehicle's owner listed. What purpose this serves is beyond me. Prevents stolen cars from being taken out of Saudi Arabia? This procedure is relatively quick and doesn't get backed up too badly unless of course you have a vehicle which requires a "letter." A "letter" that says you do not own the vehicle but you have permission to drive it, or a "letter" that says you do not outright own the vehicle but are making payments on it and that you have no outstanding violations with the police department or something like that. If you are making payments on a vehicle, here, you have to go to the police department every three or every six months to get a letter that says that your driving record is clear. Whether this is just for ex-pats or for everyone, I don't know. We own our vehicle so we don't need the "letter."]

DH gets into one of the lines to get the piece of paper we need - the first stop. At times I feel sorry for the guys that man the booths that do this job. Eight hours a day they sit at a computer and enter the license plate number of EVERY SINGLE vehicle that leaves Saudi Arabia to go to Bahrain. There were a half dozen of those booths open when we were there yesterday at about 3:30 in the afternoon. And, like I said, there were only five or six vehicles in front of us. After the first booth, or checkpoint, is when things begin to get "sticky."

The vehicles pass through the first set of booths and then proceed set of booths where you need to produce the piece of paper you have just received along with your passports. If you are lucky you are in a line of vehicles with relatively few occupants. If you are unlucky you get in the line of vehicles that has ten occupants each. Each passport has to be entered into the system, so if you are in a line that has "family cars" you are going to be waiting for each and every passport to be checked and entered into the computer system. Customs. Necessary. Surely there must be a better way, though? There were just a couple more booths open for passports to be checked. Probably seven of these booths were open - maybe even eight. And we got through relatively quickly. The men working the passport check points are not the most efficient in the world. Oh, they could be. But it would mean that they not be allowed to chat and text on their mobiles. You know. Pay attention to the task at hand instead of paying attention to that dayum mobile that is a part of your physical being. What?! Actually be responsible for doing a job - and only doing a job - without using a mobile? Unheard of. We all know that.

What gets sticky about this procedure is that after you pass through this second checkpoint where you've provided the paper that shows your license number and the owner of the vehicle, and then handed over your passports to be stamped, all of the booth lines have to merge into a three-car lane. A fuster-cluck. Always. With every single "local" man inching and wedging his way to the very front of the queue with no regard to other vehicles who have been sitting waiting. This is not the odd occurrence, instead it is the norm. I'm going to say it. Most - yes, MOST, but not all - Saudi men demonstrate for the rest of us to see that they have no manners and are virtually uneducated with regard to decorum and protocol when it comes to the most simple rules of etiquette of a line or queue [Saudi women can be just as bad - but that is a totally different topic - and since Saudi women are not allowed to drive...].

How is it that when Saudi's leave their country and go to other countries they all of the sudden figure out the "line" or "queue" thing, but in their own country they have no concept of it? In other countries they are able to demonstrate some regard to a method of waiting one's turn. Here? Not a chance of that happening. They are just plain rude and disrespectful this way. And not just to ex-pats, but to each other. There is quite the chip of "entitlement" on Saudi's shoulders, this way. Just what makes them think that they deserve to be first in line and that they shouldn't have to wait in line just like everyone else?!! [Truly I have to sit on my hands during this part of our trip or I would be flipping men off left and right. DH has a fit when I do it.]

So yesterday as we are all in this "merge" pattern two interesting things happened. First of all, a man with a driver - the man was Asian - was on the outside of the "mess." No one was letting him in. [We were already smack in the middle of the mess so there was no option for us to allow him to merge in. His only chance of getting into one of the three lanes was via the outside rows of cars.] Got to give him credit for some ingenuity, though. He jumped out of his car and stopped traffic with his physical self. Brave man, that Asian. He blocked traffic so that his driver could merge into one of the three lanes. The whole while he was holding up his hands like a school crossing guard would, and waving and smiling and thanking the male drivers who were slowing up for him [read: not driving over him!]. Good for you, pal. It was obviously the ONLY way someone was going to let you in since your driver wasn't experienced enough at this game of "chicken" to get into one of the lanes on his own. It was amusing.

More amusing was this, though. On the outside right lanes - where several lanes were merging into one - was a black Prado, a white car, a white SUV and whatever else - to the very far right were cement barriers. A black Yukon raced past everyone - because HE had to be first before everyone else that was already waiting in line - that is just the way it is, here - and he was stopped by the cement barriers. [What tipped you off, phukktard? Yes. I realize that the landscape here is cement colored, but didn't you see the big, wide, diagonal RED stripes from back where you started?!] Apparently not. The fact that there were big cement barriers didn't stop him from racing by everyone on his left hand-side to pull into the far right lane. Nope. So what did he do when he got to the cement barriers? Turned left, as sharp as possible, and hit the black Prado. Hah! Stupid, stupid... A totally preventable "fender bender" but for the fact that Saudi men refuse to queue in line at customs. The man driving the Prado? A Brit [judging by his accent - and I rolled the window down to listen to the colorful exchange!]. He jumped out of his truck and just lit into the guy. I was clapping. Finally. Someone telling one of these jerks off like they need to be told off.

The whold scene of course held up traffic even more. But the Saudi man was getting quite the dressing down. Oops. Brittish man gets back in his Prado and inches through the three-lane merge to go through the final customs check point [on the Saudi side] where vehicles are physically inspected. Car doors and trunks are opened - truck tailgates, etc. Again relatively quick, depending on the mood of the Customs' agents, depending on the time of day, the alignment of the moon... Saudi man in his black Yukon gets through. Brittish man is waiting for him. Oh yeah, he is. Brittish man is pulled over and out of his Prado. There is no way Saudi man is going to get the opportunity to drive off. [Clearly from the number of dents on Saudi man's Yukon, this is NOT the first fender-bender he has been involved in.] I don't know what happened after the final confrontation. We were there long enough to witness Brittish man using the strong-finger-point at the damage done to his Prado [which, at that point we couldn't see - we were on the left side of his car as we went through the final Saudi customs stop], the strong-finger-point to the damage done to the Yukon - which we could see - and the strong-finger-point straight at the chest of the Saudi man. The look on the Brittish man's face was NOT one which you might have if you were having a pleasant conversation with a minor acquaintence. Oh, no it wasn't.

We drove off. Headed to one of our favorite watering holes. Well, DH's favorite watering holes. I prefer Trader Vics. DH likes Sherlock Holmes. We have some time to kill before going to dinner. [Restaurants, at the very earliest, open at six. Most do not open until seven. Only Americans eat before nine o'clock, here.] Sherlock Holmes is pretty quiet. There are some fifteen people - or so - in the bar. A table of ex-page business men in the back - five or six of them - with either Brittish or Australian accents discussing whatever it was they were discussing. A table of three - two women and one man - sitting not far from the table DH and I sat down at. And the rest of the men - all men - sitting at the bar. Several of the men had their thobes on. A group of two "local" men with two ex-pat men were at one end. There was a young man - very European looking sitting by himself reading a book - obviously an ex-pat with his summer shirt and sandals on [it is cold here! it is December, after all]. Then further down - closer to us a "local" man with his thobe sitting with another man - who, although probably not a "local" was obviously Arab. And sitting down further - almost directly in front of our table another man by himself, Arab, but dressed in "western" attire.

DH and I ordered a drink and watched the man in the thobe kiss his friend goodbye. The traditional "untouch cheek peck" done three times. Arab man who was with the man in the thobe walked off. The man in the thobe ordered another beer. A few minutes later, DH said to me, "Is he sleeping?" Nah. [I had the better view.] Just has his head down. Kind of that "nodding off thing." Every few seconds he would perk right up and take a slug from his beer. I don't know how much time transpired, perhaps a half hour or so, and DH said, "I'm pretty sure he's sleeping." Nope. He's not sleeping. He is passed out cold. His head completely slumped over into his chest. All the while the man was holding his beer in his lap. A minute later he shook his head and his agal fell to the floor. Everyone else heard it - the slapping of hard rope on a wood floor. The man didn't even flinch. It was a young waitress who walked by him and picked his agal up off the floor for him. She simply set it on the bar in front of him. Several minutes later one of the bartenders came out from behind the bar and gently woke the man up. We could not hear what was being said. The bartender was quiet and discrete with his actions. The man in the thobe? Sets his half-full glass on the bar, picks up his agal, proceeds to completely rearrange his head-dress and finishes his beer. I don't know what happened to him after that. We left.

That he had had enough to drink that he simply passed out in his bar stool... Yeah. Tell us again how it is that you don't drink. I'm sure someone will comment that "everyone makes mistakes," "no one is perfect," "we all sin." Something like that. I don't want to hear it. I am sick and tired of being told by the media, here, just how perfectly pious everyone is and seeing something else. I bet thobe-man's mother would have been proud of his bar behavior. As would his "brothers." It is, after all, the predominant religion that is practiced on this side of the world that forbids the consumption of alcohol. For such a prohibition, I find it quite odd that so many choose to imbibe. I don't care that you do. That is your choice. I choose too, as well. And that is why we go to Bahrain. But at least I'm honest about it. Unlike those here that say, "we go to Bahrain to shop." Sure. Maybe sometimes. Families. But all those men we see on the Causeway crossing the border to go to Bahrain? Nah. You cannot tell me that they are going shopping. We all know better. You go to Bahrain to drink. There is no other reason to go to Bahrain. We see you pulling up the the liquor store, where you are not allowed to enter, paying off men to go inside and purchase your spirits for you. We see you sitting at Trader Vic's - where the parking lot is full - and has only two or three Bahraini license plates - the rest are all from Saudi Arabia. Like I said. I really don't care. Just admit it, though. Don't try to play the holier than thou game. It just doesn't fly...

DH and I left to go to dinner. It was tasty! Delicious. Chips and salsa... A margarita. A pork enchilada. Yum. We left to head back to Saudi.

Coming home was nothing short of a bad dream. I have no idea what is going on here, but there were buses and buses and buses lined up to cross. I counted thirty-two as we drove by. Cannot imagine having to wait in that line. Oh my gosh. Nightmare for them. The roadway was a sea - and I do mean a sea - of black. One booth open for the bus line, maybe two. Three booths open for the rest of us. It was relatively early. Say, nine o'clock or so. Cars were lined up at the three booths that were open for "regular" vehicles. As is typical, the Saudi's cannot wait their turn. Just impossible for them for whatever reason. I have nothing good to say about those that carry that "block" of entitlement on their shoulder. Doesn't matter who they are. Wait in line like the rest of us. Assholes. So this Toyota Camry comes out of nowhere - we are not five or six vehicles from getting through the check-point - and pulls up to us within a few inches of our truck. The back window of the Camry goes down and a woman hold out her hand - pointing to be let in line in front of us. DH is usually pretty accommodating. He just goes with it. Me? Nope. I say, "Don't let him in. Don't do it, DH." He does anyway. DH has a whole lot more patience with this than I do. A whole lot!. However, he too had had enough at that point and said, "I wish we still have the Land Rover. I'd push that 'mf' out of the way." Whoa! What?! DH doesn't talk like that. I talk like that. [It is real lady-like, right?] And, DH just doesn't react like that, either. Anyway, DH says to the woman - who I called a bad name in my previous post - "No. Get back in line like the rest of us." The son, sitting in the front seat rolls down his window and motions that he wants to cut in front of us. DH again says, "No. Wait your turn 'ah.'" Oooh, boy. DH is pissed. So what does over-weight man driving the Camry do? Squeals his tires to drive approximately fifty or sixty feet [however long a line of five or six cars is] and puts his car directly behind the car that is at the booth! [Note to driver's on the Causeway: If you don't want people cutting you off you HAVE to RIDE DIRECTLY ON THE BUMPER of the car in front of you. If you leave the space of an inch or more, that is an invitation to let someone cut in line.]

Okay. So, now I've called the woman in the backseat a bad name. I said it out of frustration and anger. Does that make me hypocritical. Sure. In a way, it does. Practicing the same behavior I condemned a few posts ago. As "fred_says" and "Salem" have pointed out. And I will say that I regret the name I called the woman and I should not have said that she was ugly. What she looked like does not really matter. It was wrong of me to say what I said. Nor should I have called the driver fat, or overweight, regardless of the fact that he was. The name calling is not necessary. I could delete the last post where I did the name calling, and I could omit the reference to the driver of the Camry being overweight fat. I choose not to. But at least I have explained my reasons for doing so, AND owned up to the fact that what I did is not right. Mr. Al-Habri has yet to offer any explanation for his grossly demeaning and insulting article about his "so-called" maid. Nor has he offered any explanation that would correspond with Salem's defense of him that the article was all a metaphor. That I decide that there are a lot of ugly women over on this side of the world - there are. Let's face it there are a lot of ugly women all over the world. They are not just confined to the Sandbox. My use of the word "ugly" can be used in two ways. Ugly as in looks, and ugly as in actions. Take it any way you want. I mean it in both ways...

And let me say just one final thing about the whole "entitlement" thing. At some point there WILL be a complete turn around. Those that feel that they are entitled now? They'll get their comeuppance. Both here, in the Sandbox, and in the States [because there is a mentality of 'that' there - in a huge way - as well]. I believe that what goes around comes around. Oh yes. They will get theirs.

I started this post on Wednesday and just didn't get time to finish it. Finished it this morning - Thursday. Part of my not having the time is not taking the time. I find it difficult to be at the computer typing and NOT smoking. Still smoke free. Go, me! I just know I CAN do this. I know I am GOING to do this! Nothing would be better than a Kool and a cup of coffee at the computer, though... Quitting smoking is incredibly difficult. What a strong drug cigarettes are! I hate them. Hate them. Hate them. Hate them. At the same time, miss them terribly. I will, no doubt, be one of those horrid ex-smokers offended at the mere sight of a cigarette and will not be able to stand it when people around me smoke.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I have it. Lots. I just don't have time. Check back in a day or two. You have to know about the guy in his thobe that was passed out dead cold at the bar - Sherlock Holmes - in Bahrain. You know. Stuff. Like that. Oh and that hideously ugly "C" in the back of the Camry with her fat husband and their kid in the front - they tried to cut us off at the Causeway. We wouldn't let them. So what did they do? Beat us by cutting off the ENTIRE FRONT of the line. Because they are so much better than anyone else and cannot possibly wait in queue like everyone else... Talk about U-G-L-Y! Perhaps that is why so many women here ARE covered head-to-toe in black... Just my opinion.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Do they have Activia Laban in the States?

I have taken a liking - a very, very strong liking - to laban. Originally it was something I purchased on mistake. Kind of sort of. We needed milk. There was no Nada milk. There was no Nadac [another brand that I don't like as much, but which will do when there is no Nada] milk, either. For two days our Commissary had NO milk. It happened a few years ago. Quite a few.

We were still relatively new here and I knew NO Arabic. So, I asked at the Customer Service counter if there was milk and I just didn't know what I should be looking for. "Oh, yes, Madam. We have milk." Good. Where? "On the shelf." And he did not mean the dairy [cooler] shelf. Milk on a shelf. Oh, I don't think so. There are boxes of milk here called "long-life shelf milk." I won't even drink it in my coffee if there is nothing else. I'll drink coffee black, first. That stuff - the long-life shelf milk - is just plain nasty. Naively I asked if there was milk in the dairy section. Duh. If you didn't see anything that looked like milk when you checked two minutes ago, chances are there isn't any milk in the dairy section.

A nice young man took me to the dairy section and pointed to a square carton and said, "Laban, Madam." Milk? "Yes. Laban." Sure. Alright then. I'll try it. Bought it, brought it home. Poured it - started to pour it - on cereal. Oh My YUCK! It is SOUR milk. No wonder it was on the shelf and not selling. Should have checked the date, first. [I just barely knew my numbers - which I taught myself - while walking The Boy in the mornings by looking at house number signs.] Great. Still no milk. Sometime later I did the same thing. Bought laban when there was no milk. Surely that first time was a fluke - that it was sour milk. And by sour I mean by smell and thickness. Only sour milk is that thick. Only sour milk smells like that. [Milk, in Arabic, is haleeb not laban.]

Things have certainly changed. I was at an Arabic coffee a couple of years ago where laban was served in little stemmed glasses. Picture a juice glass with a stem. Oooh. Pretty. It was the first "beverage" served. It would have been most impolite to not partake. When you are offered something you take it. Graciously. Just good manners. So I did. And took a sip like the other women did. Hmmph. Hey, what do you know? This stuff is actually not bad. I had it again shortly after that when it was served to us on a Qatar flight. This time, though, I had a choice of the laban, fresh-squeezed orange juice or sparkling water. I chose the laban.

Seems to me that laban is something that you acquire a taste for. It is a little like buttermilk. But not really. Buttermilk's consistency, but a different taste. Buttermilk? As far as I am concerned that is definitely something you have to acquire a taste for - which is a taste I have never acquired. Laban is not as "sour." It almost has a sweetness to it, but not a sweetness like sugar. Hard to describe.

Here's the thing. I now choose laban over orange juice or sparkling water whenever we fly and it is offered. That taste that had to be acquired? I have acquired! It is much worse than that, though. I am drinking a lot of it lately. Have cravings - actual urges - for the stuff. Likely has to do with not smoking. Dairy products and cigarettes are not a "go together" kind of thing. Wine and cigarettes are a go together, as is coffee, and Diet Coke, or any number of other beverages. Not dairy drinks, though. When was the last time - if you are a smoker - you enjoyed a milk shake with a cigarette? Yeah. Never. On the other hand, if you had virtually anything else to drink - even water! - you can enjoy a cigarette with it. Am I right?

I've been meaning to look up the calorie content of this yummy dairy goodness for a while now. Phew. Only 140 calories per an 8 ounce serving. Three 8 ounce servings a day... 420 calories. Still a lot. I may start diluting it with water and cutting the actual amount I drink in half. Perhaps I'll skip that last glass before bed, too. 420 calories is a lot. However, I really thought it was going to be a whole lot more than that. Plus the fat content??? [And I wonder why I keep gaining weight!]

At this point, if I tried to quit drinking laban I would be fighting a couple withdrawals. The not smoking thing? Went great at first. Then I "slipped." Now, again, not smoking. Just trying to keep busy and NOT think about it and when I do think about it I drink water. Or laban. The roof of my mouth hurts from sucking too many sugarless Wint-O-Green Life Savers. Willing to do whatever it takes though to be totally 100% smoke free. And if drinking laban helps... Hey. I could be drinking something much, much worse.

Does anyone know if they have Activia in the dairy section at grocery stores in the States? Just curious. [If they do - any idea how much it costs? It is ridiculously inexpensive, here. For a little less than a half gallon - 59.17 ounces - or 1750 milliliters - we pay 8 riyals, or $2.14 for just shy of a half gallon for approximately seven servings. Pretty darn cheap, if you ask me. I tell you what. I'd pay twice that much for it, maybe more, if that is what it cost. It is that good!]

Friday, December 11, 2009

Good Phukking Grief!

Bawney Fwank wants to get a bill passed - heck, it may have already passed [yesterday?] - to take over the financial services industry. As if Bawney Fwank hasn't done enough damage to the economy. All I can say is that we have to thank our lucky stars that Michelle Bachmann does what she does. She is [was?] trying to put a stop to it.

So, it isn't enough that the debt ceiling is going to be raised another something-trillion dollars, it isn't enough that the jug-eared-jack-ass is forcing nancy pelosi and harry reid to shove health care up our collective butts [61% of Americans do not want their fabulously touted "public option"], but now we have someone else trying to get their thumb in our butts, too, by trying to get a bill passed to take over the financial services industry? Truly another one of many what the phuk moments.

Someone - someone, anyone - needs to put a stop to the current administration. By whatever means possible. Michelle Bachmann needs everyone to melt the phone lines. Call your Congresscritters. Be respectful. Tomorrow it could be too late.

Listen to Congresswoman Bachmann's dire warning, here:

Man. She's so passionate. We need so many more of these Michelle Bachmann's!!!

Saw it at WZ's place, first. You know - the guy [and LAM and momma, too!] who scours the bowels of the internet so we don't have to...

Not enough I have to keep up with someone over here who wants to slam a poor innocent maid [that he says - via a third party - he doesn't have... it was all a metaphor...], but I have to try to keep up with what is going on at home, too. There just are not enough hours in the day. Nope. Not enough.

Perhaps tomorrow?

My letter to the Editor at Arab News did not get published. [What a surprise!] No matter.

Deuan German's letter got published and it
said pretty much the same thing that mine did. It was longer and stronger than mine, though, so I am pleased if it was a choice between the two, that Deuan's was picked:

This refers to the appalling piece, "Our housemaid should resign." A regular reader of Arab News, I feel mightily relieved that it was taken from Okaz and was not an Arab News original.

Probably just some "filler" for a Tuesday paper - which is our "Thursday," here in the Sandbox. The day after "hump day" when people just don't want to work as hard as they do on a Monday or a Tuesday. Still...

The author Khalaf Al-Harbi is at best an utterly failed humorist and at worst a rude and bigoted man who may have exposed an inconvenient truth about the treatment of domestic staff.

Hmmph. Some of the same language I used in my original post. Great minds think alike. However, Deuan, let me fix something for you: "...may have exposed an inconvenient truth." Too late. The inconvenient truth was exposed sometime ago with regard to the treatment of domestic staff. Go through my archives. I've
been posting on the abuse of "domestic staff" since I started blogging.

If it was supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek piece, it failed miserable. "Our housemaid has a face uglier than the rats in the Corniche... and so on. No subtletly or allusive reference here; just raw insults.

Totally, totally agree Deuan. And I couldn't help myself. I felt it my duty to insult Khalaf Al-Harbi without ever even seeing his picture. The man should be ashamed of himself for the insults he hurled at his maid. Seeing him
as an imported domestic worker in some other third-world country would serve him rightly. One can only hope... Your day will come, Mister. What's that saying? Oh, I know. "Karma is a witch." Something like that. You get the point.

If it was written as a serious piece, then God help the "slim Asian girl" who Al-Harbi has watched transform into a "fat lady" over the years and of the hundreds of thousands like her.

Have to correct you on that one, Deuan. There are
fat women here in the Sandbox. But they are not "the hundreds of thousands like her," i.e., domestic workers. I have YET to see an overweight domestic worker. There may be a couple. Even a few. But they are rare. There are however a lot of overweight American women [myself, included]. And even more overweight Saudi women. [Not an opinion. A fact. There are far more Saudi women here than American women. That is the only point I am making with that statement. Has nothing to do with nationality as to which group has more overweight women. If I were in the States writing this, I would say "Lots of overweight Saudi women. And even more overweight American women."]

Spare a thought for the cruelty, mistreatment and failure to pay salary earned - matters of public record in your own pages - and mistreatment of these young women at the hands of far too many of the arrogant, unthinking and uncaring men and women who regard their employees as less than slaves.

Well said, Deuan! Probably could not have
said it better myself. You hit the nail on the head with your reference to "public record." Skip my archives. Go through the archives of Arab News* or Saudi Gazette.** You'll find hundreds of articles about mistreated young women at the hands of uncaring men and women. Do another search and you'll find as many articles on other types of imported workers who go unpaid for days, weeks, months and years. "...less than slaves." Understatement, that.

Indeed slaves had rights set down in Islamic culture. The disgraceful treatment of many employed domestic staff simply would not be tolerated if they were slaves. Happily for Al Harbi and his kind, they are not; they are, if and when the cash is paid, employees.

And again, Deuan's hammer comes smack into direct and straight on contact with the head of the nail! "...if and when the cas
h is paid..." Unfortunately it is a very, very big IF for many. Too many.

At least for my peace of mind, ask Al-harbi what was the idea behind writing such a piece about his housemaid. Please tell me he was just joking.

I asked the newspaper to repor
t the exact same thing, Deuan. But like I said, my letter was not [yet] published.

If there is more feedback in tomorrow's paper, I'll post it here. And, if not, well, at least I, too, have some peace of mind knowing that I was not alone in my thinking that Khalaf Al-Harbi's article was despicable.

Yeah, there's nothing like a little sunshine... In some ways, perhaps Khalaf Al-Harbi, regardless of the manner he chose to
do so, has actually provided a public service by way of his article. Even though the article was omitted from the on-line version of Arab News it is out "there" now. I get over a hundred people coming to my blog every day - actually, it is over 150. [Sure. I'm still plankton in the sea of bloggers... But it is still a 150 more people who have seen the dirty laundry, here, that they won't see in the newspaper on-line.]

*The search cannot be "clicked" on. Here is a copy of the first page [of 628 results!]:


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Not the Only One Appalled

By the vicious "paper" attack of nasty things said about a maid. Letters to the Editor of Arab News today:

The first, at the top, via e-mail from Asif Sulfi who agrees with me that Khalaf Al-Harbi's article was "appalling" but adds that it was also "demeaning." Why, yes. Yes it was. Asif also says, : "This article does not say anything that the expatriates here do not already know! Blame it on maids! Without these maids, many houses in the Kingdom would be nothing but a pile of filth!." Umm-hmm. Exactly.

Linda from Riyadh says, agrees with me that if Khalaf Al-Harbi was trying to be funny, he failed. She doesn't see the humor, either. Assassinating someone's character and then ripping apart her physical attributes hardly qualifies as "humor." Linda goes further in defending the maids than I did by asserting that not only do they come here from other third world countries to "help support not only their own families but all their relatives... They don't speak the language, their passports are confiscated, they have to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They get vacation once every two years [only sometimes, maybe!], and they are lucky if they are actually paid their meager wages and not physically abused." She - Linda - is, of course, quite correct. Linda also had a better idea than I had. I wanted Khalaf Al-Harbi to publish his own picture so we could verbally attack him. Linda thinks he ought to let his poor maid do an article about what she thinks of him, his wife and his children. Now that would make for some interesting reading!

Thanks to Asif and Linda for weighing in. I knew I could not possibly be the ONLY one who felt the way I did about that jerk's column that was published on Tuesday. Nothing short of a written apology to his maid in the newspaper will change my opinion of Khalaf Al-Harbi, who, until that happens, becomes a total nothing in my world. [Not that that is going to have any impact on him, but I would urge others to contact Arab News and let them know that you are appalled that such trashy drivel was published. If my letter, that I sent today, gets published, I'll post it here.]

"Anonymous" commented that he/she didn't think the matter would garner much attention because the Swiss banning new minarets has caused a mini outrage. He/she, "Anonymous," was spot on, there. Yeah. Whatever. I am not going to get in the middle of something like that. Not now, anyway. [I won't hesitate to address some of these kinds of issues in my book, though. Whether anyone ever reads it or not... I have plenty to say that does not and will not be said, here.] Ending on that topic, though. One word about the banning of new minarets: reciprocity.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

"Our housemaid should resign."

An article that is in the print version of Arab News, but not on the internet version, written by Khalaf Al-Harbi says "Our housemaid has a face uglier than those of the rats in the Corniche. Her smell is dirtier than that of the Musk Lake. Her lies are worse than the biting of the mosquitoes that cause dengue fever. Her eyebrows look like two flying crows. She walks like a little car that has driven into a ditch in one of Jeddah's streets." What the _____?!!? I am absolutely appalled that the article was even printed. Just appalled. Is it supposed to be funny? It isn't. I certainly am not laughing. Sadly, Khalaf Al-Harbi's picture does not accompany the article so that we could all describe him. You know, something like, "His face is uglier than than a pot-bellied pig's ass. His smell is nastier than a dumpster in the heat of the summer. His nose is like the hook on a crane."

The point isn't that the maid is ugly
though, or that Mr. Al-Harbi is uglier. The point he tries to make [but fails - in my opinion] is that she should resign because she only works when she thinks she needs to. The whole article:

[I think if you click on the image it enlarges. It does for me...]

Mr. Al-Harbi says, "We have a traditional proverb that says, 'My generosity is for my mother and sisters.' This saying has... become obsolete." What exactly does that even mean? And what, exactly, does it have to do with his maid? "We are now in a very strange time in which a father cannot reprimand his own children, let alone his wife or even the housemaid, who is practically in charge of everything in the house. These days we are random guests in our own homes while the housemaid is the actual mistress." Hmmph. Just whose fault is that, I wonder. How is it that households in most other countries can have a family that consists of two working parents and children and NO maid? Don't even get me going on that issue. Oops. Too late. The reason that everyone here, in the Sandbox, has a maid is because no one wants to do any actual physical work. That is beneath most people here. It is not a secret. I am guilty, too. I have a houseboy four days a week. Although I have to say, I still do a fair share of the housework at our home. I just don't do the "big" jobs - like cleaning the bathrooms and mopping the floors.

"As a husband, I conceded many years ago that the evaluation of the housemaid's performance is the prerogative of the wife. Any suggestion by me to replace her or reschedule her duties would be considered an unwelcome intervention in the poliies of the house, a flagrant provocation to the wife and an agitation to the children who have become addicted to 'Indomi.' The children will show signs of withdrawal if the housemaid is absent for any reason." I think that is very sad. And I also think that it speaks volumes with regard to the upbringing that your children are receiving [or not], Mr. Al-Harbi.

Mr. Al-Harbi has "accepted the presence of [their] housemaid despite her numerous mistakes because it is difficult nowadays to find one who can put up with the trantrums of the housewife." I'd say it is about time that maid abuse trickled down and women from other third-world countries that come here to work as housemaids realize that they are going to be the target of "tantrums of the housewife." In other words, you can expect to be beaten. "I have had to be patient with her regardless of my conviction that her transformation from a slim Asian girl to a fat lady was due to her constant sneaking to the refrigerator, then blaming the children. She will also no hesitate to steal whenever she is not watched, put her ill-gotten gains in a box and shem them back home." I am calling B.S. on that. She probably steals food because she doesn't get fed. And the fact that you thought she was a slim Asian girl and is now a fat lady... You don't deserve a maid! Asshole.

Read the whole thing. And tell you you are not just as outraged by this as I am!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Perfect Couch Day

Oh my goodness. We haven't had such a perfect couch day in the entire seven years we've lived here. It WAS perfect. Absolutely perfect. It rained all day yesterday. All day.

Did I say it rained all day yesterday? Wow. Pretty amazing.

The streets here are flooded. There are no gutters. No one - in charge of infrastructure - ever even considered that it might rain for a solid twenty-four hours. If you leave your house today you are taking your life in your hands. Truly. Not a chance we will go anywhere. Thank goodness DH doesn't have to work. [On the other hand, he probably won't play golf, either, so he'll be home ALL day... Hmmm...]

Saturday DH and I went downtown. The "Safety Equipment" store was exactly where Mr. Nice Saudi Man said it would be. We bought a fire extinguisher. Who would have ever guessed that there is a store that sells ONLY fire extinguishers. Interesting. Why do they only come in red? It really doesn't match my kitchen, at all. We are not going to mount it on the cupboard next to the stove which is where I thought would be the perfect place. We are going to mount it in the broom closet so it will be out of sight - but, still, close at hand. Since I do not cook if DH isn't home, I do not have to worry about starting a fire on the stove or in the oven if he is not here. [Not actually true. I use the tea kettle. However, now I am setting the timer for eight minutes when I turn the stove on to boil water. Just so I don't forget...]

There was no jaunt through the neighborhood yesterday. It rained. All day. Except for thirty-five minutes when the new freezer was delivered. How is that for timing? The delivery time was scheduled for noon. At ten past eleven we got a telephone call saying that the truck was at the gate. DH went to Security to sign "eXtra" in. The freezer was delivered in a box. Of course. Do you remember when you were a child and you got a "house" sized box? What fun! I dragged the box out to the street and the three men who were working on getting the freezer ready to put in the garage all panicked. "You must save the box, Madam. If you return the freezer, you must have the box." Oops. Sorry. The box is outside and now a pile of soaking wet cardboard. Oh - and by the way - if I need to return the freezer within the next week? Someone is going to have a much bigger problem than my not having a box.


I went to click on this article and said to myself, "The maid did it." I was right. Another maid has been accused of killing a child. Good grief. Does ANYONE here understand that a maid is NOT a babysitter or a nanny? You get a maid to clean. You get a babysitter or nanny to watch your kids. They are not synonymous. Oh. And just for the record? I do not believe the maid killed the baby by smothering it with a pillow because it wouldn't stop crying. Nope. Don't believe it. SIDS, maybe. Or something else. But the maid did it? Ut-uh. [Funny how the two newspapers report this. Different story, here.]

Read this. Another maid accused of robbery. It is always the maid. Blame the maid for anything and everything. Here is an idea: Do not get a maid. The poor women - the maids. They come here hoping to make a living to support their families in whatever third-world-country they are from and get accused of everything from robbery to murder.

Runny eggs? Soggy corn flakes? In the States, George W. Bush gets the blame. Here? It is the maid's fault.
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