SAUDI ARABIA 1996 -1999
Photos of Me and The Desert
The Eastern Province in old ruins

Some of the locals!

I lived and worked in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia beginning in September 1992 throught March 1994 and again beginning in September 1996 and ending in March 1999.  I worked for an aerospace company and lived in American Compounds in Dhahran (west coast), Riyadh (the capital city in the center of the country), Khamis western province), and Taif (south western province).

I enjoyed the cultural change, delicious mid-east foods and a lot of historical tours and,  met a lot of nice friendly people from Saudi arabia and all over the world.

The weather there is very hot and dry in the interior and very hot and humid on the coasts. I saw temperatures of 130 F in Riyadh in the middle of August, and temperatures of 120 in Dhahran with a humidity above 90 %.  Surprizingly, the western region has a very large agricultural area.  One of the primary crops is wheat.  There are also many varieties of delicious Dates and thousands of Camel and Sheep herds through most of the country.

Oil is the biggest export from Saudi.  Wheat is also exported.  Saudi is a very rich country and is a Kingdom.

On several occasions I was able to see the King and several other members of the Royal Family in person (at a close distance).  Unfortunately I was not able to meet any of the Royal Family.




Saudi Arabia Culture (the generic version)

                      Saudi Arabian culture revolves almost entirely around Islam - two of Islam's holiest sites are in the
                      country, and it considers itself the birthplace of the religion. A monotheistic religion, Islam's holy book
                      is the Qur'an, and Friday is its sabbath day. Every day, five times a day, Muslims are called to prayer
                      from the minarets of mosques which dot the country. Islam derives from the same monotheistic roots
                      as Judaism and Christianity, and Muslims generally regard Christians and Jews with respect - in Islam,
                      Jesus is regarded as one of the Prophets of Allah, and Jews and Christians are considered fellow
                      'people of the Book'. Mohammed was the last Prophet, and it was to him that Allah dictated the Qur'an.
                      The Qur'an is Saudi Arabia's constitution, and Shari'ah (Islamic law) is the foundation of its legal

                      One of Saudi Arabia's most compelling folk rituals is the Ardha, the country's national dance. This
                      sword dance is based on ancient Bedouin traditions: drummers beat out a rhythm and a poet chants
                      verses while sword-carrying men dance shoulder to shoulder. Al-sihba folk music, from the Hijaz, has
                      its origins in Arab Andalusia, a region of medieval Spain. In Mecca, Medina and Jedda, dance and song
                      incorporate the sound of the al-mizmar, an oboe-like woodwind instrument.

                      Saudi Arabian dress is strongly symbolic, representing the people's ties to the land, the past and to
                      Islam. The predominantly loose, flowing garments reflect the practicalities of life in a desert country as
                      well as Islam's emphasis on keeping it all covered up. Traditionally, men usually wear an ankle-length
                      shirt woven from wool or cotton (known as a thawb), with a ghutra (a large square of cotton held in
                      place by a cord coil) worn on the head. For those rare days when it gets a bit chilly, Saudi men chuck
                      a camel-hair cloak (bisht) over the top. Women's clothes are decorated with tribal motifs, coins,
                      sequins, metallic thread and appliques. Unfortunately, only their family gets to see them in all their
                      glory, as Saudi women must wear a black cloak and veil (abaya) when they leave the house, to protect
                      their modesty.

                      Islamic law forbids eating pig and drinking alcohol, and this law is followed pretty strictly throughout
                      Saudi Arabia. Arabic unleavened bread, or khobz, is eaten with almost everything. The other staples
                      are grilled chicken, felafel (deep-fried chickpea balls), shwarma (spit-cooked sliced lamb), and fuul (a
                      paste of fava beans, garlic and lemon). Traditional coffee houses (where everyone drinks tea) used to
                      be ubiquitous, but they're now being displaced by food-hall style cafes.



A very beautiful Mosque in Dhahran KSA