My experiences in Saudi have been quite limited so far. Perhaps the most interesting event was the ride from the airport to the hotel the evening of my arrival here in Riyadh. Apparently the appropriate way to drive is to floor it at all times. When approaching a vehicle in your lane on the highway, one should repeatedly flash the high beams, accelerate to the rear of the car in front of you, and pass them when they are 3/4 into a lane change. The first time this happened, I could probably have smelled the cologne of the drive in the car we passed if both of our windows were down and I was not holding my breath and bowels!
Mohammed, my driver, is not an aggressive man. He is tall, lean, and soft spoken. But he drives his Toyota van like he is in hot pursuit of someone who has just stolen his life's savings. During the drive he taught me a few phrases in Arabic. marḥaban Riyadh; welcome to Riyadh. Dahabba - go, šukran - thank you, lā - no, naʿam - yes, and a few other words that I have since forgotten. I wanted to ask him how to say. "my god, slow down argh!" But I kept that to myself.
In any event, the rest of my time here has consisted of downloading and watching movies on my laptop, the occasional email, and a few walks around the hotel. It is hot in Riyadh. Very hot. So hot that you could could cook eggs on the sidewalk. I don't like eggs. But that is how hot it is.
Saigon, Vietnam is hot too. There are just 2 seasons: Summer and Wet Summer. I think the hottest day I ever experience in Vietnam is about the same as the evenings here. No joke. Of course there is not of the humidity that existed in Vietnam. But for what Riyadh lacks in humidity, it makes up for in pure heat.
Just before I left NC I took a bite of a ghost pepper to see what all the fuss was about. Don't try this, fyi. The ghost pepper is to a bell pepper what Riyadh is to Vietnam or Thailand in terms in heat.
Until next time
Marcus in Arabia or Marcus in Mesopotamia. Not sure which I like better yet.