Thursday, November 25, 2010

At first glance this picture might look normal. Just a little kitten in the street, doing her thing by being lazy and wandering around aimlessly as street cats usually do.

Now...take just a little closer look...what do you see?

 YES! That does say Goat hoove!* I am not sure that it is an actual GOAT'S hoove, it could be a lamb, or a sheep, but really would that make much of a difference?
Pretty Mad eh?
The Kitty was chewing on it and licking it, but someone started walking towards her and she moved! Woulda been a sweeter shot with her gnawing at it!
This was taken just after the Eid-Ul-Adha islamic holiday. Where you slaughter a goat/sheep/lamb/cow, whatever and distribute the meat to the poor. It seems someone thought; this Kitty qualifies as poor! And literally threw her a bone.
Let's all say it together now: "ONLY IN SAUDI ARABIA!"  '_-

*The leg/hoove was still furry and bloody. Can't be very hygienic! Just lying on the floor in the heat like that. AKH!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Here and only Here

Here are pictures, that put emphasis on the title: ONLY in Saudi Arabia.
I couldn't understand why they had this asexual mannequin in a head scarf? Really? What is so revealing and promiscuous about this bodyless/ genderless mannequin that HAD TO BE covered up? Haha and don't be fooled, they did NOT sell scarves at this store. Some stores that sell head scarves, display them on mannequins like this, but this was just plain Saudization*.



*Saudization: (My own definition)Anything that happens here in saudi arabia under the false pretences that it is, correct/ethical/moralyacceptable/just/the norm/'do whatever we want' attitude...etc. And it just ISN'T!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A series of deliberate-offensive events

An apple a day keeps the incompetant- non qualified doctors away

I am writing this a few days after these events took place because I was so angry on the day of these events and I didn't want to be uncouth, although it would be have been well deserved. Plus I have gained back the full use of me right hand, so I can type faster. 
It’s a Saturday morning and I'm goint to the hospital for blood work (this is government requested blood work, or else I would have NEVER GONE, just a couple of weeks ago I sliced my hand open on a mirror and fixed it at home in order to avoid going to a hospital here) in any case I am forced to go. I want to be optimistic but seriously what is the point? I have heard countless horror stories about the medical system here (especially for foreigners) and have had my own share of negative experiences.
I arrive at the hospital where the soon to be mentioned series of events will take place. I go to the front desk and ask him where to go for the blood work? He sends me to a small little cramped office which thankfully doesn't have too much of a line up, I hand my papers over to the girl behind the tiny little glass window, she glances at it and hands it back, she says she doesn't do that blood work here and that I should go to the ‘Main Lab’ she points in the direction that it is in saying, “Take a right walk all the way down the hallway it is there” of course it wasn't. Once I get down there I ask around where it is and follow directions until I hit a dead end and I have to ask again, this place is like a maze! (There are no signs indicating what anything is, unless it is a security desk or an administrative office) I find a security guard who is falling asleep, as soon as he sees me coming he whips his head up and smiles missing a tooth, (he looks like a funny character out of a movie) he asks how he can help I explain, and he says “Is this for women or ladies?” and I was confused for a second so I laugh and say “women, please” and then he catches on and laughs as well and says “I meant to say men or women” he is possibly the only helpful person around, because he walks me straight to the door and tells me to go inside.
Once inside the women’s section I go up to the first window I see, and push the lab request form into the little opening and ask her where I should go for this please, she barley glances at the paper and lamely points to her right, as she is behind a wall with only a small glass window I have no idea what she is pointing at, so I ask her "where should I go"? She gives me my papers back and says “Nexesst window” so I take my papers to the next window and the lady says I have to go back to the men’s section and get the paper singed by an administrator.
I head back in that direction and the same security guard says “Oh what is it?” I explain, he takes the papers asks me to wait outside the door he is ‘guarding’ and gets them signed gives them back to me and I go back to the dreaded women’s section. The woman in the next window tells me where to go, I follow her directions and come to a bunch of windows/counters and ask at the first one and my luck it is the right one, I hand my papers to the woman behind the counter and she doesn't take them form me, her eyes are looking at me but she is busy BLABING about something to another woman sitting next to her, so I wait (pretty pissy already) and she finally takes a look and says “In here, come inside here” so I do and she gives back my papers and informs me that I have to go outside the back door, I ask her if that is where I will get the work done she says “GO” and does a ‘shoo-shoo’ motion with her hand. So I leave the back door and obviously roam the halls aimlessly, I head towards voices where I find a bunch of young boys in a lab of some sort chatting and looking into microscopes, right next to the door there is a woman who is working on a computer so I ask her if she knows where I should go? She asks me if I speak English (I’m thinking yes, I just asked you in English WOMAN!) I nod and she says “Good, me too” (congratulations! Everyone in the world like me THANKS YOU) she takes me back to square one where the lady had shooed me out, and asks them, the women (can’t bring myself to call them doctors) starts hassling her and making fun of her ethnicity because she is Indian they then begin to poke fun at me and her WHILE we are standing there, they laugh and ask the wonderfully-helpful-English speaking-Indian-doctor if she is helping me just because I am Indian? the Indian doctor tells them that I am not Indian (I am not, I wish I could visit India some day but no, I am not Indian) so they continue to make fun of us and make fun of how we speak (if I were Indian I suppose) after that piece of pleasure is over, they tell her that I must get ‘doctor so and so’ to sign off on my papers (WHY DIDN'T SHE TELL ME THAT IN THE FIRST PLACE!? THE USELESS TRAMP! Ok I haven’t cooled down much since this happened) So the Indian doctor takes me to have the papers signed, I thank her and head back to disaster quarters, where glorious hell will take place as they attempt to take blood from me. 
First they ask me how to write my last name because for some reason they cannot read the clearly typed words on my passport, then they begin filling out forms to request the blood work I suppose. A lady who I assume is a nurse comes over and asks me to sit down, the chair she is asking me to sit in has gone though much physical abuse and is wrapped together with blue masking tape, the little flap that you are suppose to place your arm on is broken off and you have to rest your arm on metal and bolts that would usually hold the flap in place. I sit and roll up my left sleeve and the nurse sits in front of me the babbling lady who was telling such an important story she couldn't take my papers from m,e is sitting in front of another patient, she seems to be the ‘head nurse’ (God save us all) so she looks over the papers that the ‘doctor’ had given her and begins yelling that they filled out the wrong form, they yell back that she is crazy and to just do the blood work, so ‘head nurse’ gives the paper work to the nurse that is sitting in front of me an explains that she will be testing for HIV and 2 other tests, the woman begins to write my name on one of those little tubes that will soon be filled with blood, and I could barely make out MY own name never mind the poor soul who has to figure out the riddle of her handwriting!
 So she ties a glove around my arm and feels for a vein she cannot find any, so I roll my sleeve up on my right arm and she ties it up and feels for a vein, she then asks the ‘head nurse’ which vein she should use “she asks this one? Or the other one” and the other nurse nods vigorously and says exasperatingly “yah that one” I notice that she never looked up so I glare at my nurse who asks again and then one more time finally the ‘head nurse’ puts down whatever she is doing pokes my arm like she is checking to see if dough is ready and pokes a few more times and says “this one”. She is still not indicating which one, so I explain to the ‘nurse’ that back home they usually have difficulty retrieving blood from my arm and that they use a butterfly needle and take it from my hand. She explains this to the other ‘nurse’ who then tells her if she wants to try doing it that way then why not. So the ‘nurse’ sitting in front of me unties my arm and ties the glove a little higher than my wrist and attempts to find a vein in my hand, now judging from the size of the needle she has and the tiny veins in my hand I anticipated disaster so I stop her and ask her if she has a butterfly needle? I look around and see no such thing in their supply cabinet. She tells me “Yes, yes the needle is clean don’t worry” I laugh (nervous laughter because she put the needle down without its cover on, even though the needle point didn’t touch anything it has been exposed for a while) I tell her that’s not what I meant and she says “Oh sorry I don’t understand what you saying” finally the ‘doctor person’ tells her not to use that needle in my hand and to take it from my wrist, so she does so, which is why my hand was useless for a day or so because I still think the needle she used was HUGE for the amount of blood she needed, plus she took it from the vein that runs right on a bone, and once she had filled the little vessel she then left the needle dangling from my wrist as she shouted “How many more do I need?” and then got up and asked someone again and thankful they told her no more. Which is probably is why my arm was swollen and tender for a few days, using my fingers to pick something up that was extremely light felt like when you are carrying heavy groceries all the way home and your hand feels so strained and it feels like your fingers will snap off.
My sister is in the health care system back home so I asked her if this was a sane thing to do, she informed me that occasionally they draw blood from the wrist but because it is a very sensitive and small vein there is a chance you can puncture or damage the vein so it is used as a last resort. Thankfully my hand is not damaged, and I will be fine. However, I know I didn't have HIV before this visit but I feel there is a higher chance I will now. (God forbid)
I ran out of that place as fast as I could, my results are due tomorrow, I will be sending someone on behalf of myself to go get them, and I have made a small laminated card to put in my wallet that states if I am ever in a horrible accident and can’t speak for myself (God forbid) They are to ship me back home as is and I will gladly wait for to be treated there, but I am NEVER to go to that hospital again! 

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Taxi From Hell

Nasty Taxi

Taxi drivers here are asked to make 200-400 riyal a day, after that everything else is pocketed, they make that money in the first two and a half to three hours of work so the rest of the 9-10 hours of work are optional so you can imagine A) How crazy they drive B) how much they choose to charge and C) whether or not they get you from point A to point B in a timely fashion. I hailed a cab the other day on Azizia street I ask him to take me to the supermarket on Azizia shamall (Azizia North) which is a straight road and a U-turn to the building I need, I usually do this on foot in 20 minutes but on this day I woke up extremely late and was pressed for time. I ask him how much (You must always ask a price BEFORE you go anywhere as there are NO meters in the cabs!) He tells me that it will cost 25 riyal; I laugh and wave him away, he tells me to get in for 20? I tell him I won’t get in for more than 5.00SR now because he tried to over-charge me; he says he is charging extra because there is traffic and a lot of other horse poop, after some unpleasant remarks made at my expense he takes off.

I hail the next cab and I explain the directions and ask a price he says 10 SR I hop in, as we drive up to the lights I see the cab driver that just tried to rip me off, I roll down my window, wait for the green light and yell “TEN RIYAL BUDDY TEN!” And in case he didn’t get that I then put up both my hands waving all 10 fingers at’s his turn to wave me off.

The cab driver I am with smiles and asks me not to do that again in his cab because he doesn’t want trouble. I consider this a lucky/pleasant taxi cab experience, unlike the following.

A few nights ago I’m waiting in front of a hotel at about 7:50pm prayer has just finished and I can see that the street is very busy I wave for a cab anyway and to my luck a one pulls right up, as I proceed towards the cab I hear frantic honking I look up and see a cab driver glaring at me and honking his horn, apparently he was parked waiting for a customer and I did not see him, he gets out and begins to yell at the cab driver and accuses him of taking his fare, I’m not sure what else is being said but I keep getting pointed at, they are causing a HUGE scene now and I do not wish to be a part of it so I tell them to make up their minds or I will hail another cab, the second cab driver gives in and tells the other cab driver he can have me...I am disgusted by this statement but I guess we are just a market for them. I get into angry cab driver’s car and he is still muttering to himself, I exhale the words “let it go” and ask him how much this fare will be, he gives a reasonable price which is a nice change, little do I know I will get more than I bargain for, this cab driver had NO visible seatbelts in his car and drove like his rear end was on fire.

He kept speeding up and then breaking just as a light changed or a car changed lanes and I would have to throw my hands up in front of my face to avoid having my nose smashed in. The abaya I am wearing is silk and his seats are leather and I am slipping and sliding ALL over the place and trying to keep my dinner inside me, finally we get to a clearing so I calm down...BAD IDEA! This driver takes this clearing as the flag has been tossed at a NAS car race and guns his engine and flies down the road.

As we are heading towards an intersection a car with no head lights on (a custom here) screeches out of the intersection I am looking at the driver of the other vehicle face to face through my side window and his WINDSHIELD (the cars are perpendicular to each other) the other driver slams his breaks and the cab driver swerves to miss the car, then there is a lot of HONKING from both cars. I try to say something to the cab driver but he beats me to it and says “HE DOESN’T HAVE HIS LIGHTS ON!!” I do not wish to piss this cab driver off any further I think his wife must have left him this morning and his cat peed on his only pair of shoes (there was a bad smell in the cab did I mention?) So I gently say “Excuse me sir but you are rolling 140 on a service road, yes, he should have had his lights on but please slow down” Oh he slowed down to a FULL STOP! That’s right; you must be thinking what I was thinking at the time ‘OMG he is going to make me get out in the middle of nowhere!’ Oh how I wish he did! Instead he makes a dead stop half on a sidewalk half on the road (this is NOT parking) he turns to me and says “Wait pliss I get some stuffs, I come now. Wait pliss” I nod, swallowing my dinner again. We are still on the way home I recognize some of the signs so I remain in the car for about 2 minutes and then cannot stand it any longer the cars driving by just barley miss the tail end of the cab so I get out and wait next to the cab, I call my friend that I just parted with and explain that I am nervous and waiting on the road so we talk to take my mind off of it, by the time the cab driver gets back and I get off the phone I had been talking to my friend for TWELVE MINUTES! I kept peeking into the coffee shop he went into and saw him leaning against the counter talking to the employees and laughing, I guess he sees how furious I am and he asks if I want a coffee as well, I say “NO thank you I do not wish to wait for another 15 minutes!” He thinks this is funny, once we start driving I ask him if his family owns the cafe “No, why?” he answers, I say “I thought you were catching up with relatives what else would you have to say to strangers that would take 15 minutes?!!!” He is not laughing any more; I contemplate telling him I will report him, but then decide my life is more important than fuelling this dude’s jets!

Mom if you are reading I did report him and I texted his plate number to a friend, because I was smart enough to take the plate numbers down while the cab drivers were arguing. Oh and I am alive and unharmed, wet pants but unharmed :).