August 17, 2007
It is amazing to notice, from day to day that some people's manners never improve here. Good example is queuing up for "service"- the service itself sucks, but the people(=men) who feel it is their privilege to be served before a single woman or a group of women, really truly suck. At the airport: I was standing in the queue, very clearly in the queue, when few young men decided they are more important and they cannot possible let a woman go first. Another occasion, yet again at the airport, when an elderly local gentleman decided his cause is more valuable than mine and his need to be served first is greater than mine. Well, we are still very backward here- those lucky ones who have been abroad must realize men and women are more or less equal. Whilst here, I just have to swallow my pride and let the thoughts be published in my weblog. So the whole world knows. Don't get me wrong, I don't stand there and wait for things to happen, but I too push and elbow my way to the airline check in desk, and give dirty displeased looks to those who dare come too close. It often does the trick and I have to go to the ladies room, pump my fists in the air and shout; "Yes, I showed them again!". But still, this is a man's world.
Once again, when you have to queue up for entering the aircraft, that's another annoyance! Some do not understand the meaning of the "queue" and instead form a group. Like that group could actually enter the plane all together and hold hands. Garbage. Don't we all have our assigned seats in the plane and the plane won't take off until the last Abdullah, Mohammed and Ali have found their seats..?! Once the queue finally forms, people push and get too close for comfort and few words such as "haram" seem to work every time and the pushy ignorant people back off an inch or two. Yee haa, what a relief.
And the forever issue; cellphones. As soon as the plane touches down, cellphones are being switched on and phone calls going ahead in full steam before we even reach the gate. Hmmm.. I remember Europeans being a bit more compliant in this. Perhaps the airline has a different policy here.
Once when I was returning from vacation, there was no one (=employer's representative) to meet me at the airport, so the ever so pleasant fun (not) airport officials decided to take me to the basement (out of sigh, out of mind) to wait. It did not prove to a lengthy wait, but for me, who is used to free speech and liberty this was not at all acceptable. I cried and refused to sit down, and questioned them constantly why am I locked in here, why is it that women get treated so badly, why are women inferior in Saudi Arabia..? That sort of stuff. This went on and on, one of the "officials" offered me a cup of tea, and I don't remember if I accepted it.. I think I did. When the rep finally reached the airport, I was at the end of my tether and very very angry. It turned out no one had informed the rep I was coming- not his fault, but someone else's, who had not bothered to contact the right people. These days the airport is just a distant memory, but an unpleasant one.
One thing is for sure- these guys are not used to woman standing up for themselves and seems they are not fond of seeing a woman cry. Something that may come useful one day.
So respeKt all human beings, men and women and children, whatever their race, religion, culture.
Prepare for your flight by bringing your iPod, book, blank stare and prepare to fight for your rights, then you'll get to your destination God willing here in the Kingdom.