What I love about Saudi Arabia is the social aspect of it. Especially in a holiday such as Eid. You see everybody and play catch up. It's fun until they start indulging in conspiracy theories, and that's when the knuckle brawling begins. It always ends up peaceful because you're going to hear someone in background shouting "arba3ah" (means 4 which refers to Balout, the favorite past time sport for the Saudi man. Next to the beloved siesta. Balout's a real fun game, I learned how to play last year, but I'm still trying to comprehend all the bluff processes. Playing Balout, my friends, is the only setting where it's socially acceptable to swear at your "respected figure" teammate. Either your dad, or uncle or what have you. (I once heard someone call his uncle "ya thoor" for screwing up a move). Anyhoo...That's pretty much what people do in Saudi Arabia, eat like pigs, sleep like there's no tomorrow, play Balout and consume all the tea crops that India has to offer to the world. I'm speaking for the Saudi male. The Saudi female, on the other hand, pretty much engages in all the above plus shopping. It's a pretty cool, laid back, society if you ask me. Everyone functions the same way. If you're caught doing something deviant, like reading a book in a Dunkin Donuts, you're labeled a "3ilmany." You're also labeled a "3ilmany," as well, if you a carry a Ph.D. in a social science.
My family's originally from Al-Dwadmi, (a town about 3 hours north-west of Riyadh). We still have close relatives over there so we visit on such occasions like Eid. I have so many good memories of the town. One of my favorites is when Saudi Channel 2 started broadcasting over there in the early 90's. Tells you how boring this town is.
I'm also looking forward to meeting up with a lot of friends. Some have changed, most haven't. People say Saudi society changes rapidly. I agree. One of the main changes I observe every time I go back is the moo'9ah...the fad. It's pretty much the only thing that changes in Saudi society, and it changes fast, too. Usually, it's the latest cell phone. You'd assume that people would learn from Nokia's marketing strategies but they don't. (I'm talking about how once you buy the latest state-of-the-art model, another new one comes out the next weekend). Another fad is the car. The Saudi male is obsessed with cars. He's even obsessed with cars that don't even fit the profile of an car. (Isn't the owner of the Bat-mobile Saudi?). Hang out spots are another fad. Usually coffee shops, shopping malls, and uh...umm...that's it.
Generally speaking, the Saudi nightlife is amazing. Especially in Riyadh where the Saudi male is involved in cruising (driving around the streets of alta5a9u9i or Thalatheen untill he runs out of gas. He might keep cruising if his acquaintances are generous enough to pay for the gas). I'm not against cruising, it's actually good for an economy depending on oil revenues. Cruising is also another way for the male to get indulged with his inner instinct; hunting. Males and females are usually on a mission in the streets of Riyadh. Supply and demand. The male supplies the "number" when the female demands it. There are a lot of means in achieving this phenomenon. The old school method is to write your number down on a little piece of paper that is so small even NASA engineers can't figure out how to come up with such precise dimensions. The other method of "socializing" is to turn your phone-bluetooth function on and start socializing. Let's face it, we're social creators and we have to abide by that laws of nature.
I'm watching a lot of 6ash ma 6ash these days to get a quick orientation in what's new in Saudi society. (6ash ma 6ash is a Saudi sitcom that's been very favored by the hardcore conservatives....they like it so much, they even labeled the staff of the show as "3ilmanies"..or is it "infidels"?) What I love about the show is that it's a good social satire, a true frustration outlet for Saudi society, just how Married with Children was an outlet for white-trash families in America. One thing I know I will never miss from my beloved Kingdom is this.