From Egypt to Saudi Arabia: My Saudi Adventures
I’m Eslam but normally people call me Bro as it’s the nickname that I go with since 2000 (Had some troubles while travelling abroad because my real name is just like the Religion :D ). I’m From Egypt, not a certain city in Egypt because I move a lot but mainly from Alexandria, Aswan and Cairo. For the past 10 months I’ve been living in Saudi Arabia between Jeddah and Riyadh (Still moving from one place to another is my life style ;) ) .
1. Why did you move abroad?
I moved to Saudi because of a business contract that I got to launch a group of restaurants as a Marketing manager. Was really hard for me to take the decision knowing how hard it is to live in the country freely but I’m really glad that I toke this challenge as the country turned out different than the myths.
2. How do you make a living?
I’m Working as a marketing manager of a starting group of restaurants. It’s pretty funny to say that you are marketing something while in the same time you are not allowed to use music, Models, or pretty much any fun thing. (Even a womans’ hand in a picture holding a burger is forbidden :P)
3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
I try to keep a weekly communication with my family back home (or where ever they are, as they also tend to be travelling most of the time) but WhatsApp groups is making all the fun, You keep in contact with your friends even if you have no time because they are always everyday telling you something new about a friend or news about my home country.
4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in Egypt?
Being an Expat in any country is fun because it’s an excuse that you can always use “I’m not from here, I Didn’t know that” that’s a famous line that I usually use in my travels. But in Saudi as I’m a Fellow Arab Muslim they expect that I know their culture and customs and never let me go even if I said that :D .. so I tend to be on the low
5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Saudi Arabia?
Worst thing!! Mmmmm … let me think … do you have enough time to read them ?! :D
The worst thing about being an expat is that you …. Damn I can’t even arrange them in my mind :D
Ok I’ll make it quick
- All the country close 5 times per day to pray (every time is an average of 45 min)
- They all sleep in the afternoon (From 1-4 pm you can hardly find anyone working)
- They close @ 12 AM .. so basically they kinda work 4 hours per day :D and that means that your work will be delayed and even if you want to buy milk or gas it’s always prayer time so you must wait for them to finish
- To sum it up … “Everything is forbidden and against the law” :P
6. What do you miss most?
I miss the busy streets of Cairo that never sleeps and/or close
I miss the noise in the street, the loud music, the interaction between peopl
7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
I joined the local running club of Jeddah, this was the best thing that ever happened to me, you get to meet people from all the world (Expats) also you get to meet locals that are open minded and care for others.
8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
They don’t use silverware to eat .. they just use their hands … and I’m not talking about eating chicken or pizza .. they eat rice and pasta with their bare hands
9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
The myth is that everything is forbidden … but the truth is … Everything is forbidden, there is no myths except that people expect that the behead people and stone them to death .. but actually they do only this in certain cases :P
10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
Cost of living in Saudi is so low that you get bored from the money you save :D really living is cheap and they have one of the largest “Disposable income” rate in the world, that is because there is nothing out there that you can spend your money on it. So you end up with money but bored. That’s why people hit the malls like crazy and buy anything the see .. because they have the money and this gives them a temporary feeling of pleasure.
11. What advice would you give other expats?
Don’t get lost in the Work, shop, sleep routine. Start a hob by and exercise regularly because the food will make you fat either you liked it or no.
12. When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog on Feb 2016, It was a hobby in the beginning, then I found that people really appreciate getting some real information in English about an Arab experience as an Expat in the Land of Saudi.
Eslam's Blog, My Saudi Adventures
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