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Dining Out In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Posted on | February 27, 2012 | Comments Off on Dining Out In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Article by Alma B. Apostol

While residing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia as an expatriate, dining out was a routine every Wednesday after work before the weekends, Thursdays and Fridays. We carried our bandana and abayas to work. We were required to wear them whenever we were in public places. Our departure time from work was scheduled such that we would be inside the restaurant during prayer times. All businesses closed during prayer times, five times a day.

Weeks after our arrival, the recruits made a point to dine out every Wednesday. We went to restaurants that allowed men and women. The Turkish restaurant was our favorite. There were good selections of food. The coffee was very strong, yet most of us loved it. I tried it once and could not handle it. Most of the time the food were served before the lights were turned off. We would light the candles that we carried with us and dined during prayer times.

During these occasions, we shared our experiences at work. Some recruits encountered problems mostly with their American supervisors. In my case, my problem was my male co-worker, a Canadian, who tried to dominate and boss me around in spite of the fact that my position was higher than his. The majority of the recruits enjoyed their work and were adapting to the new environment.

These dining out every Wednesday went on for a while. Within the next three months since our arrival, some recruits decided to go back to the United States. They could no longer handle their problems at work. Those were sad days. Although some expatriates came with their families, majority were alone. Our friends became our families, sharing good and bad times.

After a while, I routinely dined with my Lebanese and American friends. We tried different restaurants like Chinese, Shang Hai and Gulf Royal for Chinese food. Bangkok for Far Eastern. Fil-Thai restaurant in Amman. They served hot food but would served mild food if requested.

Just to get together, we would dine at the hospital’s restaurant, (King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center.) They served good selections of food and we didn’t have to wear our scarves and abayas. Other times we ordered fast food and ate it at our building’s dining area.

I treasured this occasions and often think about it now I’m back here in the United States of America.