wadecherry.com
Wednesday June 10th, 2009
Saudi Reunion
aramco.jpg
I'm not quite sure what spurred Aramco into convincing the Saudi government into allowing a reunion for westerners (it's almost impossible to obtain a visa to enter Saudi Arabia for tourist purposes only), but they allowed it and it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many former Aramcons to visit. I knew Celeste and Shannon, both from my grade, who traveled there and Celeste documented her whole trip; of which I'm very grateful as it allowed me to get a glimpse of what it might have been like if I, myself, had made the return visit. I'll give a brief overview but feel free to read the whole blog for a full perspective (warning: it may be very boring for those not familiar with the area). The culture clash is still a big problem there. More western companies have moved in such as Starbucks, Forever21, Ikea, Olive Garden, etc., but many stores have separated male-female sections and/or separated family-singles sections. The enforcement of western women covering their body and head seems to have gotten stricter and harassing western women seems to have gotten worse. The women on the trip were consistently told that it's "easier" if you wear an abaya, not to make eye contact with Saudi men, and not to speak unless spoken to. When we lived there it wasn't this bad.

Since I'm giving the highlights it probably sounds worse than it is but some other sad things to note: The maze gardens that I used to play at in the Hills School are gone. The high dive at the 3rd Street pool has been removed. All the snackbars have been remodeled and serve different food; they look nothing like I remember. Camp seemed deserted, quiet, not many people out and about, and there are very few westerners left (Saudis now make up 75% of the population). Overall, it has changed so much that hardly anything looked familiar. An occasional thing here and there but it's just not the same. Celeste posted a bunch of pictures and as I was going through them, nothing clicked; the pictures looked completely foreign; however, it could also be due to my bad memory =). Jet fighters still fly overhead on their training runs, the golf course, although they've added more grass, is still mostly sand, and the desert is still the desert - it hasn't changed much. However, the place that we remember as kids no longer exists.
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Monday May 11th, 2009

Wade says:

Pictures posted here.

Monday June 15th, 2009

Holly says:

Update your blog! The people need reading material for at-desk lunches. Sheesh!

Monday June 15th, 2009

Wade says:

Oh, sorry. I'll get right on that, stat. =)