Travels outside the Kingdom

With another few weeks (and about 11,000 km – almost 7,000 miles) behind me, it’s time to add to the narrative…
So, how did I accumulate all that distance? The first chunk of it was a week-long trip to London where I got to do a lot of research for my new role here in Saudi and – just as importantly – got to reconnect with some friends while I was there. Naturally I seized the opportunity to make sure all the taps at the local pubs were in working order. They were.

My position at work is one that didn’t come with a description – just the way I like it! We know that the potential for language learning is huge here, so I was lucky enough to be asked to join the team that will make it happen. My colleagues here are great – personable and professional. I’m already learning quite a bit including thinking differently about a lot of things – in a good way. Mixing what I learn with the experience I have will help determine how things unfold for me here at work.

I spent another week and half back in Riyadh which was a bit slow because the whole country was gearing up for one of the most important Muslim holidays, Eid al Adha, which was a week long holiday. During the same week our company had its annual kickoff in Phuket, Thailand. Great time!! It was my first time to Thailand and reminded me in many ways of what it was like in Indonesia – especially Java. You can see how the cultures have influenced each other over the centuries in music, traditional art and, more recently, these mini-buses for public transportation. Thai Bemo

The Thai people are not shy at all about trying to sell whatever it is they are selling. (Use your imagination to get an idea of the variety of what’s for sale.) One thing that I found pretty funny was the tendency for people to push you to buy what they have rather than what you’re actually looking for. You go into a shop and ask for laptop speakers, for example, and they’ll say they don’t have any and very helpfully suggest buying a pair of sandals instead. This is repeated everywhere. Hooker alley

Stay tuned and you’ll hear some actual anecdotes from sunny Saudi in the next post…

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