No peeps, I’m not talkin about the relationship kinda burn and whatever lingo you kids or Usher go on about.

I’m talking about getting a second degree burn at a salon in Jeddah. All I can think is, only in this country and very likely in another Arab country would something like this happen!!!

It’s 2011 for crying out loud, so why do Arab countries not have health codes or local legislations when it comes to the simplest things like opening a hair salon?

Over the past 6 years, I have met trillions of women here with a ‘salon-business’ goal, and that’s exactly how a lot of salons open up and get started. I think all they need is capital and a few women to run the show. Opening a business is easy peasy in Saudi Arabia and I doubt it even needs contacts. Or maybe it does, but I wouldn’t know cz I don’t know where these laws are online (if there are any and I honestly haven’t bothered researching them).

I’m not trying to change the Arab world pffff, but honestly when a hair stylist drops a hot curling iron of something between 220- 300 degrees Centigrade on your right arm as she’s in the process of curling your hair giving you a second degree burn, saying sorry won’t cut it. But in Jeddah, it’s fine.

And that’s exactly what happened on the 29th of June, 2011 when I went to Serenity, a salon in Jeddah run by Turks and Syrians to have my hair done for a wedding I was going to.

I’ve been going to them for 3 years on and off (when I’m in Jeddah) and they’ve been okay. Their colorist has a good rep. Anyhow, back to the point, when a hairstylist drops a curling iron on your arm and says ‘sorry’. It’s not f*#$g okay.

When I go up to reception and say “well you burned my arm, am I not going to get a discount at least?” and she says “no” and I pay S.R. 400. It’s not f#*$@g okay.

Now, a month and a bit later, the scar is damn hideous and I’m depressed. See, in a normal country I could sue a place over being effing depressed for starters. Here they burned my arm.

I spent crap loads on antibiotics, Doctor’s visits, all sorts of remedies not to mention time, on educating myself on what to do with my burn. I bought bandages, medical tape and God knows what more to see to that wound. And of course, the pain was intense needless to say.

Hating myself for not getting enough sympathy and whatever a salon’s required to do, I went back to the Manager a week later and showed her my burn. Mind you these are people with language barriers and heavy accents in Arabic as well as minimum English. So the lady said “what would you like me to do?” to which I replied “what do you think needs to be done?” She then added that the next time I’d drop by the salon, I’d have my hair done for free and I should apologize to my parents on her behalf.

So kids, see that’s how they do things in hair salons here. They send you home with an apology to your parents and IF (not happening) I go back there and get my hair colored, treated, blow dried, highlights etc, that’s like 3000 riyals max.

So f*&# this sh*t. They should give me at least 200,000 Saudi Riyals.

Sure everyone’s got their priorities and the one that seems to matter big time at this point in Jeddah is women driving.

Earlier on this evening, I was reading about this Saudi actress who got stopped for driving. She did the proper thing and apologized to the Ministry of Interior for driving despite the rules here.

They released her and she’s fine (I assume) but her car’s been impounded. It’s not like she was driving around for fun, she had stuff to do. Bless her.

The fact that all that investigation had taken place bothered me and all I can think is, why don’t they investigate when stuff like this happens.

 

 

In my humble opinion, harassment is a much much bigger issue and this is what they can increase budgets for.

Oh wait, Summer is coming up. I’ll have many more of these to post. Urghh!

 

 

So I’m shopping in this popular mall in Jeddah, at a store which sells Rocawear and other brands to be precise. The salesman/fashion wannabe advisor was extremely helpful. Even though his attempts at fashion were quite not my style, I appreciated the effort.

Everything was quiet till I heard this little not-so-quiet argument, if you will.

Looked over and saw it was a blond, little lady with her teenage daughter holding swimsuits. I carried on with my shopping and ignored her rude attitude. The same rude attitude I see many foreigners give the shopkeepers here. I said many, not all. I too, am a foreigner here.

I got closer to pay for my stuff and couldn’t help but say something.

There were 4 Saudi salesmen, young men. All very quiet staring at her. The lady was yelling “do you speak English?” over and over again. “Where is your Manager?” ” She is not going to remove her panties.”

Being the only female there and ‘knowing the Saudi culture’, I had to ask what was wrong, to which she replied her daughter wanted to buy a swimsuit and her daughter wasn’t allowed to try them on.

That’s when I told her the obvious, that uhmm women in general did not try clothes on inside stores here, but they could go to the dressing rooms at the Mall . She defended that statement saying there was a dressing room and why could her daughter not try them on. She wasn’t going to remove her panties.

My salesman guy told me “gooleelha mamnoo3″ (thank God), so I told her it wasn’t allowed and that, is a rule in the country.

She argued with how it wasn’t sensible to buy the swimsuits (which were 3 or 4) and try em and then return them just to check size.

There was pretty much a lot of chaos and the techno in the background wasn’t helping.

At that moment, a really quiet man appeared at the Cashiers Desk and started doing stuff. She turned, looked at him and asked if he was the Manager and he said yes.

I’m not even going to address the fact that he walked into the situation with no confidence, and possibly no training on how to deal with an outraged customer.

I am going to address the fact that as a foreigner coming to a new country, you seriously need to do your home-work.

This means:

You do not scream at them for a law they haven’t personally placed or made. 

You do not argue a law with what you think is sensible or not. 

You learn to become culturally sensitive.

—-

She ended up leaving a 1000 Saudi Riyal deposit with them, and left to try the swim suits with her daughter, promising to be back in 5 minutes.

I, on the other hand, am very content with my purchase. Respect to Rocawear, my fave brand.

It’s 2011, Japan’s worried about the second nuclear reactor, the US Geological Survey has revised the magnitude of the earthquake to 9.0, revolutions and uproar are rampant in the Middle East, Jeddah still hasn’t fixed the rain/ drainage system, there’s talk of rain tomorrow and obviously you still taunt us women.

 

Yes this is to the guy who thinks he’s so suave yelling out flirtatious comments. It’s actually very disrespectful and damaging to your rep and leads to stereotyping.

Nuff said, I found the perfect picture of how women portray you guys who choose to ‘talk’ to us the way you do.

I dig Jeddah and this is my public message for all you assholes that have nothing better to do. Get a life, it’s jus not attractive anymore.

Alice in Jeddah-land

February 20, 2011

In no way whatsoever, am I trying to be rude or disrespectful. If I could take a picture, I would- but obviously I can’t so you get to read about it.

My Saturday morning was as typical as it gets, I was well-rested, energized with not much to do as per usual during the weekend, so it was quite normal.

What I’m trying to say is, I wasn’t seeing things because I really had to spend an hour and a half today with a lady who was a cross between Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.

Yes, I liked the movie and adored the book as a child. I was not hallucinating, I am not on any medication, and I am rather healthy hamdila.

Do you know how you meet people who look like birds, turtles, fish or Tim Burton characters in this case. The challenge for me was, I didn’t know where to quite place her. Mad Hatter or Red Queen?

Point is, I think Tim Burton gets his inspiration from real people. Bless him.

 

I miss blogging!

My only excuse would be that I mentally blog. For me, that makes sense. I haven’t kicked my blogging habit as such, just been busy with so much, esp with the state our Wild Wild East is in. I simply can’t keep up.

Spa days haven’t even cured me. My cries for help to rejuvenate and cleanse my state of mind, soul and totally toxic body thanks to Al Baik, seem like such a waste. My new best friends are Al Jazeera and Diet Pepsi. My defense is, at least it’s Diet.

And yesterday was Valentines Day. Or day before, since it’s past midnight now.

Thing is, you know you’ve integrated into Saudi society, when you schedule an anti-cellulite massage on V-Day and your masseuse is late cz she’s out celebrating Valentines at 5 in the afternoon. Sorry ya3ni, I forgot people still celebrate! What happened with getting arrested for wearing red and selling red anything??

And yes, her massage was quite half-hearted and I felt like shit cz I was on this guilt trip high. Not my fault, it boils down to Internal Organizational Management and shitty communication. Something not uncommon in Jeddah.

That was my Valentines Day. On a merrier note, don’t you jus love the picture?

You know how your week goes by, and there are some conversations you simply can’t stop thinking about…

Here are some of mine.

On the terrible Jeddah floods:

“I’m a rescue diver and I got my certificate from  Sharm Il Sheikh. I once saved a man from drowning and a shark bit me, here you wana see the scar?”

Me: “No thank you”

After the flood….

“The Saudi Civil Defence sent all us divers a text message asking us to join the rescue team”

Me: “Great! Did you go?”

Her: “No, because the water is dirty and I can get diseases”

————————-

On Dubai’s economy:

“Dubai is going down very soon. They are a country built on slavery.”

————————-

On “The King’s Speech” (the movie):

Me: “I’m watching The King’s Speech.”

Her: “Oh he’s back?”

Me: ” Umm I mean the movie”

Her: “How am I supposed to know, all you’ve been talking about these days is politics” <3 lool love u!

—————————-

On Egypt:

“I don’t get why people can’t have a revolution in peace”

B.P

—————————-

A tweet on Egypt:

“He’s the King of De-Nial”

—————————

On cellulite:

“Apparently a massage makes you lose cellulite”

————————

On feminine matters:

“Honey, does it still hurt you when you pms?”

———————–

 

It’s been one hectic week/ 14 days.

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