Natural Facts

Okay, kids. This is a test. I want you to think REALLY hard. When was the last time you heard any straight-faced conversation that touched on the term "women drivers"? The straight-faced part is important. Plenty of dudes will say it as a joke, grin, and wait for a nearby woman to swat him. Kinda … Continue reading Natural Facts

What the Cave Man Knew

I have always loved history in the laziest way possible. I love the stories, and the complicated way stories cross and influence each other, and I love puzzling over why people did what they did and how the consequences still play out today. The older and more mysterious, the better. Plus I'm a sucker for … Continue reading What the Cave Man Knew

Of Head Cases and Head Scarves

So there's this: It's a headscarf, commonly called the hijab here in Saudi Arabia. There are a lot of different ways to wear it, and wearing it well requires more effort than I've ever invested. I know, right? Pretty stunning. (Headband not required--this is just one of bazillion YouTube tutorials.) And as Europe and the … Continue reading Of Head Cases and Head Scarves

That Old Black Magic II: An End to Sorcery

I'm not in the habit of writing about the same topic twice (special exception for the Princess Souk—Volume III in the near future, I'm sure), but then this happened: Actually, the headline didn't inspire me by itself. I've seen plenty like it and already posted on the topic. Though I confess that the closing line … Continue reading That Old Black Magic II: An End to Sorcery

Some Things Are Puzzles

A lot of things about Saudi Arabia puzzle me. This sign, for instance. It puzzles me: I thought it might be advertising a new indoor playland (all the malls have them—outdoor parks are rare, hot, and dirty). A friend thought it was a candy store. Those are childish illustrations, so surely SOMETHING for kids, right? … Continue reading Some Things Are Puzzles

Buckle Up, Kids: Driving in Saudi Arabia

I've been putting off this post for some time because I didn't have the sufficient video or photos to do it justice. I've finally concluded I will NEVER have sufficient material to do it justice. The topic? Driving in Saudi Arabia. This is one of those "gotta be there" kinda things. But I have to … Continue reading Buckle Up, Kids: Driving in Saudi Arabia

Say Yes to the Dresses: Report from a Saudi Wedding

Consider the number of times you have told a child "No, you have to eat your dinner before you get dessert." Consider the metaphor you would use to describe the number. Fleas on a dog? Sand in the ocean? The old "If I had a nickel for every time I've said it, I'd be rich?" … Continue reading Say Yes to the Dresses: Report from a Saudi Wedding

Behind the Walls

I got a note last week from a Saudi gentleman who appreciated a post and especially other expats' positive comments about life in Saudi Arabia (his comment will be the last or nearly), and then said, "What I read is all about personal experiences. How about getting in touch with Saudis themselves? How did you … Continue reading Behind the Walls

Saudi News Notes: That Old Black Magic

Baseball players are a notoriously superstitious lot. Lucky socks, rally hats, pre-game rituals, all as much a part of the game as the ball itself. My beloved Colorado Rockies, while on a record-breaking winning streak years ago, were noticed wearing the same dark vests at every game. In an effort to break the streak, an … Continue reading Saudi News Notes: That Old Black Magic

Saudi Cheat Sheet

When people learn I live in Saudi Arabia, the first question tends to be, "So what's it like there?" A big question. But given enough time (say, a meal, rather than a cash-register transaction), the conversations generally cover the same ground. Here, then, are the basic answers to the basic questions about what it's like in … Continue reading Saudi Cheat Sheet