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Would you travel to Saudi Arabia right now?


Guest Low Roller
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Guest Low Roller

My company asked me to travel to Saudi Arabia for 2 weeks to oversee an installation of one of our projects next week. I cautiously accepted, but now I'm starting to have second thoughts, not to mention cold feet.

Of course this can be due to conditioning imposed by inundating negative imagery on every single news outlet.

So my question is, because it's not too late to back out, would you travel to Saudi Arabia right now?

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Guest Low Roller

I think you mistake 'work' with 'vacation'. ;) I'm looking at working roughly 12 hour days on the site, seven days a week, for two weeks, so I doubt I'll have any time, or energy, to do any sightseeing. I'd love to travel around a bit, but I just don't have the vacation time to spare. Also I don't want to die.

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Hey Lowroller,

Not sure if you'd be interested or not but I know someone who has been over numerous times for long periods for work,recently too.If you have any concerns or questions I'm sure he'd be able to help you out.And no worries its not some deadhead phish phan,he's in his late 40's or whatnot,a professional etc etc.

I could get a hold of him & ask if he'd mind passing along some info on the current situation there.I know he enjoys the trips there & hasnt really ever mentioned anything occuring that was crazy or threatening etc.

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Guest Low Roller
Hey Lowroller,

Not sure if you'd be interested or not but I know someone who has been over numerous times for long periods for work,recently too.If you have any concerns or questions I'm sure he'd be able to help you out.And no worries its not some deadhead phish phan,he's in his late 40's or whatnot,a professional etc etc.

I could get a hold of him & ask if he'd mind passing along some info on the current situation there.I know he enjoys the trips there & hasnt really ever mentioned anything occuring that was crazy or threatening etc.

Do it. :)

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My company asked me to travel to Saudi Arabia for 2 weeks to oversee an installation of one of our projects next week. I cautiously accepted, but now I'm starting to have second thoughts, not to mention cold feet.

Of course this can be due to conditioning imposed by inundating negative imagery on every single news outlet.

So my question is, because it's not too late to back out, would you travel to Saudi Arabia right now?

I would go in a heartbeat. Just make sure your employer doesn't skimp on security. I went to Afghanistan for work at the tail-end of the big part of the war, and it was such a rich, rewarding and unique experience. The question you have to ask yourself (assuming security is good) is "Am I ever going to have this chance again in my life?"

AD

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It would be a heck of a place to have seen, and from what I understand, foreign (Western) workers are kept pretty much apart from the locals anyway. You might want to hear timouse weigh in, who was there for work-related reasons a few years back. Or William Sampson, who doesn't have much good to say about the place.

i had a five star holiday compared to poor bill sampson :(

a friend and i ran our own environmental consulting company and were invited by a Saudi dairy company to come over for 2 weeks to do a feasabiltiy study on a composting operation on their farm. this was pre-911, many things have changed for westerners since. they were termendously accommodating, and it was an amazing trip. as a foreigner and non-muslim, very few people get a chace to see The Kingdom, so i would have to say definitely yes, you oughta go, it's a fascinating place.

as i said i was there pre-911, and there are lots of stories of guys like william sampson who have ended up on the wrtong end of the SA justice system. the biggest problem seems to be that the anti-wahabbist movement is targeting foreigners coming to work in the oil patch and associated industries (not to mention the US military). there's a tremendous resentment brewing amongst young religious saudis who have no work and few prospects, and not enough family money to sustain them. they respond by lashing out at the honkies coming over to steal their jobs (notwitstanding the fact that very few saudis have the technical background or interest in these jobs). in fact SA has a long standing tradition of importing "guest workers" to actually make things and do things.

They have really only been rolling in $$ since the late 40's, and have been spending like Imelda Marcos in a shoe store in order to bring the standard of living up. Becuase of the sudden change in the country, a lot of what they've done is really half assed. We stayed in a "5 star hotel" in Riyadh. The lobby was beautiful, looked really elegant. The wall unit in our suite was made of lacquered 2 x 4's.

The phone system was among the worst i've ever seen. not only is it totally thrown together but it (along with everything else) shuts down 5x a day for prayer.

depending on your field of work (hopefully not connected to Saudi Aramco) you should be okay. from what i've seen though, the whackjobs tend to be targeting foreign worker compounds...the compounds are amazing (beer, satellite tv, single young canadian nurses) but are seens by the saudis as places of evil for basically the same reasons.

so the short non-rambling version...

pro:

-very good money

-seeing a society like nowhere else on earth

being part of a very small group of westerners that have actually been allowed in

con:

-potential hostility toward westerners could mean you get blowed up

-no beer (or any other alcohol) anywhere

-no TV (other than the Bearded Old Imam channel - "all bearded old men all the time"

-no live music

-no women anywhere in public...in fact, speaking to a woman in public can get both of you in big trouble.

i would say go, but that depends on your line of work and how close to danger it will put you.

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This reminds me of a time in the distant past when I was tripping. An opportunity presented itself.

"Should I take another hit?"

As I pondered my fate, I knew one of a number of things could happen.

"Will I turn into a giant orange and end up in a psych ward?"

"Maybe I will see God?"

"What if I think I can fly and jump off a roof-top?"

As the decided moment approached.......ummm....ummmmmmm............what are we talking about?

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I'd like to know more about Saudi Aramco. I receive their publication in the mail (I have no idea why) and despite being a corporate "let's make peace with Muslims" rag, it's got National Geographic-like pictures and decent articles.

So what are they all about?

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LowRoller, with you I am assuming that the money is not your driving factor. Like AD said, are you ever going to have this opportunity again? Sometimes the greater leaps we take in life offer the greatest rewards.

See as much of this beautiful planet as possible.

That being said, get the low down on the security your company is offering. Is your work location remote or in a city? Research the area they are sending you to. Has your company sent people over there before? If so, ask questions about that experience. Make sure they know how important your safety is to you and that you're not a risk taker. You're going there to work safely or not at all.

Be careful and enriched. *hugs*

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Guest Low Roller

Oil.

Lots of it.

I work for a company called SEOS that develops fancy-schmancy visual display systems with high-end projectors and heavily developed multimedia presentation capabilities. The systems are gorgeous. Aramco hired us out to upgrade four of their data mining presentation rooms.

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