It’s The Little Things – 4

Continuing a discussion of things it is good to know if you’re coming to visit, live in, or work in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

1.  A4 Paper – This will only apply to Americans, actually.  In the U.S., the standard paper size is 8-1/2″ X 11″, or Letter size as it is also known.  Because Americans believe themselves to be the center of the universe (and it’s true to some extent), they think everyone else in the world uses their standards.  This is not the case…certainly not with paper size.  The standard paper size over here is A4, which is slightly longer than Letter size.  This can be disconcerting when you print out a document from Word, and it is set-up for Letter size, only to find the printer has A4 sheets in the feeder.  To make it worse, some folks DO use Letter; so, you often won’t know what you are going to get until AFTER you print.  So, you always need to check.

2.  You Can’t Move Cars Involved In Accidents – Unlike in the U.S. (I don’t know about the UK or other European countries), you may NOT move a car involved in an accident here in Saudi Arabia.  You will be arrested if you do so before the police tell you that you may.  There are a lot of accidents in Riyadh, and this particular law causes an awful lot of traffic congestion issues.  Just a couple of weeks ago, I was about to walk into a restaurant and witnessed a wreck occur across the street.  The accident involved about six cars, on a major boulevard, so it caused a lot of havoc.  Then, going the other way, two lookie-loo cars got into a wreck at the corresponding spot on the near side.  More congestion.  Each major boulevard or avenue has a service street parallel it on each side for easier and safer access to stores.  Two more lookie-loos had another major wreck, with major damage at approximately the same spot.  None of these cars could be moved until the police said they could be.  We’re talking nearly three hours between the first accident to the clearance of the last automobile.

3. Dust, Dust, Everywhere Dust – I grew up in the Panhandle of Texas.  That means dust.  You can dust the house and come back an hour later to find more dust.  It’s a way of life.  It’s also about half the effort required to stay on top of the dust here in Riyadh.  Even if you keep our windows closed, you will find layers of dust on everything, regardless how often you dust.  Lots of folks employ maids (very cheap labor), so they don’t care.  But, if you do your own housekeeping, this is one of the most frustrating aspects of living here.  And, the dust is often red, which can wreak havoc on your white linens.  Dust is always in the air.  In fact, about the only time there is no dust in the air is right after a rain shower.  Given how often it rains hear, maybe 3 times a year, you can imagine how much dust is floating in the air – even on a clear day.


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