Category: Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

Today I’ve spent almost 2 weeks in Saudi Arabia. And I gotta say it’s some of an experience! If I thought France and Denmark was different from each other, it’s nothing compared to Saudi Arabia. I know the culture can be different from where you are in the country, but in Riyadh this is how it is: So as woman from a Scandinavian country, where women are very independent, taught how to think on our own and can practically do anything a man can do, Riyadh is some of a cultural shock. As I mentioned in my post from last week, there is not a lot left for women to do. For starters they have to wear this Hajaba everytime they go out. It’s a long and traditionally black dress, that goes all the way down to your feet, and covers your arms completely. Scarf is not obligatory, but most Saudi Arabian women wear one anyway, if not a Burka that covers them up completely except from their eyes. Next thing is, women can’t drive. And in a city like Riyadh where there is highway everywhere, no metro or busses to take you around, or even bicycle lanes, it’s really difficult to get anywhere without a man. Those who can afford it hire a chauffeur, but as a girl who has her driver license and is used to be able to get around as I want, I really can’t imagine living like that, with so limited opportunities. The last thing I find really challenging, is the restaurants. Most restaurants, especially the popular once are only for men. If you as a woman want to order something, you have to wait patiently outside and give you order to a servant. So to socially go out and do something with just your girl friends can be a challenge in itself. Alcohol is also totally forbidden here, so there are no bars or clubs either to hang out, not even for the men. I think that for me, those differences was the biggest. And also the reasons why I have a difficult time imagining myself living here. I really appreciate the opportunity I’ve been giving to come here and experience the culture, especially since it’ll properly be the only time in my life I’ll ever do it. But I’m also glad with the fact that I’m only here for a couple of holidays, and get to go back to Paris after.