Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sometimes I feel like a woman

Riyadh is not known for its social life even within Saudi Arabia it is infamous for its conservatism and lack of extracurricular activities.  The locals say its because the imams (religious leaders) hold sway here and that free time is better spent studying the Koran than out doing something which may lead to something unIslamic.  There are no cinemas here or theaters, music in public is not condoned, of course there are no pubs or bars to be found as alcohol is a no-no.  Shisha, or water-pipe, is not permitted in Riyadh though other cities allow it.  There are coffee shops which serve as something reminiscent of a pub as the locals gather round to watch soccer on big screens while they sip tea and coffee. Apparently there are bowling alleys and pool halls though I have yet to spot either in my time here.  All in all it is pretty slim pickings for evenings and weekends except one activity that all people can partake!
There are more malls here than in any other place I have been there are two very large malls within 100 meters of one another with a third smaller one just across the road.  They are open late and they are generally packed with people of all ages.  So far I have been here 7 weeks and every single weekend I have gone to one shopping center or another.  I have fallen under the advertisers spell as I continue to convince myself that I need new things, must have something new.  Mostly this desire comes out of my sheer boredom; going to the mall is an easy way to kill 2 or 3 hours but going without buying something seems like a waste of time so I continue to get things I don't really need. For the first time in quite awhile I have a bit of disposable income and I can afford to waste a bit of cash on the unnecessary things in life but it does rather defeat the purpose of coming here to save money.
I blame it on the rather shrewd Saudi government they have created the world's first economy centered on boredom.  They attract foreigners with promises of high-paying jobs tax-free and then they remove all the elements of fun thus leading those foreigners to go shopping spending their hard earned money back into the local market it's brilliant.

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