Arcticterntalk.org

The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the tag “diesel”

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).

Geography was never my strong point but it is interesting to note the size of Saudi Arabia when compared with the other Gulf countries that surround KSA. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Arabian Peninsula. It occupies an area about the size of the United States east of the Mississippi River. Saudi Arabia’s population is 28 million, including 8.4 million foreign residents (2010 census),  and its capital city is Riyadh.

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.

green background, with in white letters the Muslim creed in Arabic: “There is no god but God: Muhammad is the Messenger of God.
I will definitely return and would encourage others to do so.

Manchester. Not a city of Angels


Having spent the last 48 hours mostly in Manchester I feel sufficiently able to appraise folks of my findings. These are not exciting but might save you some time and money. Firstly, the issue of paying for wi-fi in hotels. Let me list some reasonable places where wi-fi is free in no particular order, McDonalds, USA,Italy, Munich Airport and the Worsley Pub next to Worsley Park Marriott hotel. Now a game. Lets find a place where they charge 15£ for 24 hours wi-fi. Yes you guessed it the Worsley Park Marriott hotel and in fact all Marriott hotels in UK ( as far as I am aware). This is a disgrace. So my first recommendation is yes to stay at the Marriott hotel ( its rather nice and not overpriced) but instead of eating or drinking there, walk 200 yards to the pub next door and eat for less than the cost of the wi-fi.

My second recommendation is to avoid central Manchester. Signage would be better in Antarctica. The roads are crowded with folks all giving good impersonations of intractable ADHD, not able to wait at red lights, junctions or anywhere in fact.

My final recommendation is to avoid the Palace hotel. A miserable excuse for a hotel. everything was bad.

Good things? Norton Caines Services on the M6 Toll are the best I have found this year. But avoid petrol there. I can buy my diesel for 137.9p at my local south london Esso garage. Diesel at Norton Caines was 152.9p. Put it another way. Filling my tank there would have cost me an EXTRA £10.

Not Manchester but in fact a view in January 2011 from outside a hotel in Coventry on a cold morning

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