Thursday, 29 September 2011

When the KSA driving ban bites....

The driving ban in Saudi: when it really bites.

I thought you might be interested in getting a personal story on how the KSA driving ban can affect a woman in the region. So here's my story:

We've recently moved to Qatar after a long stint in the UAE and we want to bring our car over from Dubai. The transit route UAE-Qatar is all overland, reasonable roads (though shocking drivers). As you know its the law that women cover in Saudi so I'd change into abaya and sheyla just before the Saudi border and keep them on until I'm in Qatar. I have a cupboard full of abayas so no problem there. The simplest way would be for me to fly back, get the car and drive it over. The trip is just 680kms (422 miles) and if I left Dubai in the morning, even with border crossings, I could be back in Doha by dinner time....but I can't do that. Why? Because for 125kms (that's a mere 78 miles) the transit route passes through Saudi so for that tiny distance I can't drive nor can I hire a driver to do that leg of the trip for me because I can't be in the same car as a man who's not a relative. End result, my husband has to take a day off work, fly back to Dubai, pick up the car, and he'll do the driving within the Saudi borders.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The Plumbing Story: Its all a Plot

Here's an update on the plumbing situation: The Top Head Director of Plumbing came out yesterday, examined the manholes and announced that the reason the kitchen drain blocks up is because it doesn't have an outlet, the water goes out of the sink, out of the pipe and then just soaks into the ground....somewhere. The reason? He looked at his offsiders and muttered darkly 'Iranian plumbers'.

Friday, 16 September 2011

The Plumbing story continues

The plumber and his mate came round, borrowed the broomhandle to poke down the floor drain in the kitchen. "Big problem Madame" well there's a surprise. Used our hose shoved it into the laundry waste outlet and pressed 'go' well you can imagine how well that turned out! And then they decided to lift the big manhole cover outside and check the pipes but by then it was dark so there they were both crouching over the hole using the lights from their mobile phones to try to see down to the drain pipes.  At least its different from Dubai where, if we called the property management company for a plumber, or an electrician or an air-con tech they'd send the same guys (The 3 Stooges) no matter what we'd asked for.

The Plumbing Story begins.

15 Sept: Following yesterday's flood of the kitchen floor that was almost biblical in scale, I'm still waiting for the plumber to arrive to unblock the drain. I called Plumber HQ and they told me he will come today IBM...insha'allah, bukrah, malesh.

16 Sept: The plumber came this morning. He borrowed my broom and used the handle to poke around in the floor drain (ha! I did that 2 days ago) then he went outside and banged on the pipes. He then phoned The-Plumber-in-Chief and they had a long chat in Hindi which I didn't understand except for the English words 'full block'. He will come back at 5pm (insha'allah).