Final thoughts on Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Do you want to pay 9p for a litre of petrol?
The two days I have been here have been interesting although I am not sure I have seen much if any of the kingdom. My conclusions are simple that I like the people or to be precise I like the men. They are more humble than I would have predicted, not all but most and interesting human beings. I hate the roads they are full of cars and bad driving. Yet astonishingly I have not seen a single accident. The reasons for the roads? Easy. The price of fuel is incredulously cheap and each family has 2-4 cars. Women are not permitted to drive so a second car is needed for the driver who drives the women.
The whole women thing takes some getting used to. In the audience for my talk tonight ( they like the term talk and not the term lecture) were no females. To have allowed them to be present would I was told have needed special governmental permission. I did see around 10 females arrive and sit down, and one was of european origin, but then they vanished. At the end of my ADHD talk I realised where they were, in a separate “womens room” presumably watching the slides on a monitor. Yet on the Saudi Arabian airlines flight this morning the cabin attendants were all female and wore no specific coverings of the face. Maybe I need to understand a little more.
Saudi Arabia is not a small country with a constantly growing population of 28 million inhabitants of whom 8.4million are non-nationals. The two largest cities are where I have been staying, Riyadh 5 million and Jeddah 3.5 million. The native name for KSA is actually Al-Mamlaka al-‘Arabiyya as-Sa’ūdiyya (I have to admit to copying and pasting that one).
Saudi Arabia’s geography is diverse, with forests, grasslands, mountain ranges and deserts. The climate varies from region to region. Temperatures can reach over 110 degrees Fahrenheit in the desert in the summer, while in the winter temperatures in the north and central parts of the country can drop below freezing. Saudi Arabia gets very little rain, only about four inches a year on average.