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The Saudi Souvenir Checklist

Every time I go to a new place. and especially when I am fascinated by it, I always try to get something from there that I can keep as a souvenir. But when I am talking about souvenirs, I don’t really mean things like key chains or T- Shirts that say something like “I <3 KSA”, and if I were to buy something that has “I <3 KSA” on it, it would…

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A Visual Intro to Saudi Art

Many people who have never been here and are convinced that Saudi society is backwards, often think that Saudi Arabia does not have a culture. That also includes the opinion that in Saudi Arabia there are no artists who create fabulous paintings. For those of you who stumbled upon this post and (falsely) believe all the things listed above, let me share with you my favorite painting exhibits from a booklet that…

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A Little Party Never Killed Nobody: On the Other Purpose of Embassies

Most of us know embassies as places where you get travel documents or where you go if you have a “diplomatic hold up” in another country etc. But have you ever thought about what else an embassy could be useful for? Think for a moment… Yes, you are absolutely correct! In Saudi Arabia, embassies are also places for social gatherings that sometimes, depending on the level of effort, can be considered a…

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To Adapt, or Not to Adapt, That is the Question

Why would the average person move to Saudi Arabia? For many it is all about the luxuries, such as cheap gasoline, luxurious houses and a good salary. But unfortunately, many of those people don’t think about the differences between this country and the country of their origin. In the end, they realize that in order to have a bearable life here, one must adapt to the local customs and rules. However, by…

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Things That You Thought Are Banned in Saudi Arabia But Actually Aren’t

Some people think that Saudi Arabia is a place where things go backwards, meaning that people live like they did in ancient times. That may be true for some things which I probably should not be discussing on here but one of the things that contribute to this general opinion are the things that are (supposedly) banned in this country and to which this post is dedicated. At the very beginning, I…

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Cultural Pas Faux: Shaking Hands

Today, one of my western friends seemed to be very surprised about the fact that in Saudi Arabia men and women who are not related to each other do not shake hands, as it is, generally speaking, socially unacceptable. I can imagine that some of you may be very surprised as well when finding out about this, so I thought that a post about this cultural norm may end up being helpful…

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Buildings and Their Nicknames

I am pretty sure that in any city in the world, you will find some building that has some sort of special nickname, given by the people who live in that city. Only a couple of days after my arrival in Riyadh, I learned that even here there is a building that has a rather amusing nickname. Just as in Berlin we have the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of the Cultures…

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The Bright Side of the Dress Code

It’s always the same old story. You go to the mall with a solid plan of what it is you need to get and all you want to do is get in, buy what you need and get out again.  Yes, this type of woman actually exists… But if you are a group of women on a sunny day in Riyadh and in a fabulous mood, you may end up buying something…

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Ahlan Wa Sahlan to Riyadh!

It was a chilly day in September and my alarm clock was ringing at quarter to nine. My spacious room in the basement was nearly empty. The one suitcase packed, my almost ancient backpack looking like it would explode from all the things in it and my long, black skirt, that my grandmother sewed for me just for this occasion in one day before I left Belarus, were all lined up along…

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