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Posts tagged “Customs

Pray Tell


After I left Jeddah it is amazing how quickly you forget. I don’t pray. There are exceptions. Whenever I am operating and things have gone South, I pray, “Oh lord, get me out of this.” It works.

Ever confusing, the prayer times are five a day. I see seven here. Go figure. I don’t won’t needn’t and will not be….praying.  I left and never again noticed how disruptive it has been. Forgotten. I go and come as I please. It used to be Murphy’s law. You show up and it’s prayer time!

Here’s how it works. The listed times change every day. It’s done according to the sun for which sunrise sunset changes every day. Duh! So, you need a website to tell you. Then, the times are local, which means that Jeddah and Riyadh are off by minutes. Who cares? Someone! The religious police? At a restaurant during Ramadan I sat waiting for evening prayer call and break fast. I watched the Makkah (Mecca) channel; it’s official right. (They march counterclockwise around the Kaaba 24/7) No! Don’t ask.

The local times are often loosely followed by shopkeepers who estimate – plus or minus 10 to 15 minutes or so. So, you show up and wait. Never try to accomplish more than one task between prayers. Traffic and the vagaries of when the next pray time will start, will always burn you. Everyone comes out after the last prayer time of the evening. You have the longest time to get things done, it’s night and the cool part of the day, and it is the unhealthiest time to eat – as in you get fat. The line around the takeout at McD is cars around the block at 5AM. When does, anyone sleep? Well, no one actually works except the Filipinos. So, everyone sleeps the rest of the time. La la land. I’m not missing it.



Well, I ate out for six months. Really! The most I did was cut some cheese, maybe a sandwich from cold cuts. But really the stove was pristine. And the oven has known no heat. At Xmas when I visited NY, I took the opportunity to return with soy sauce, sesame oil, and hoisin sauce. Olive oil, oregano, salt, pepper, and some basil, you’re good to go. I had all manner of things in my suitcase on the return trip, including a down quilt, king sheets, and Paul Deen frying pan. Don’t ask. I was in Target and it was an impulse buy at the right price. The bottle of soy was the kicker. Coming through Saudi customs on the way in, I had all manner of vitamins and pills with me. I had ordered a year supply from NY. They started to tear apart the luggage and sailed right past the pills/drugs. Something on x-ray had the agent in a frenzy. After I was pretty much unpacked, he pulled out the paper bag with the soy. It’s in English and Chinese so he asked what it was. And then I realized he meant to confiscate it for alcohol. Ha! Well, you can see he let me have it.