Unsolicited act of kindness

Fellow EBers,

I posted a message a few days a back asking for the opening hours for the national museum in Riyadh.  Whilst I got no answers on the forum,  I received a PM offering to meet me at the museum and take me round.  We arranged this and I met up yesterday evening with an extremely pleasant young man who went out of his way to make my day.   

Among other things, he:
- Spoke to my non English speaking taxi driver on the way when it became evident we were getting lost.
- Acted as my guide / photographer for over three hours at the museum.
- Offered in depth explanations on some of the exhibits.

He has lived in Riyadh for most of his life and he had visited the museum on a number of occasions.  He was clearly very knowledgeable about the history of Saudi Arabia which is the focus of the museum.  His only expectation was of a social meeting, friendship, and similar kindness if he visited my home city.

This is just to say a big thank you.  I have been in KSA for just over a week and no way would I have managed all that without this help.

It was extremely kind of him.  But I need to add that this is one of the advantages of being male in KSA.  It would never have happened for a single western woman (ie. a national woman writing to a stranger and meeting up with her to act as a guide) due to the culture here.

And, btw, I love the National Museum.  Been there three times!

MancDoc wrote:

Fellow EBers,

I posted a message a few days a back asking for the opening hours for the national museum in Riyadh.  Whilst I got no answers on the forum,  I received a PM offering to meet me at the museum and take me round.  We arranged this and I met up yesterday evening with an extremely pleasant young man who went out of his way to make my day.   

Among other things, he:
- Spoke to my non English speaking taxi driver on the way when it became evident we were getting lost.
- Acted as my guide / photographer for over three hours at the museum.
- Offered in depth explanations on some of the exhibits.

He has lived in Riyadh for most of his life and he had visited the museum on a number of occasions.  He was clearly very knowledgeable about the history of Saudi Arabia which is the focus of the museum.  His only expectation was of a social meeting, friendship, and similar kindness if he visited my home city.

This is just to say a big thank you.  I have been in KSA for just over a week and no way would I have managed all that without this help.

Fantastic!

I will hope to tap in to your new found knowledge when I get round to doing the visit.

This country has more individuals like that than I have encountered in any other country (India may be an exception)I have visited.

The milk of human kindness does still exist!!

Alliecat wrote:

It would never have happened for a single western woman (ie. a national woman writing to a stranger and meeting up with her to act as a guide) due to the culture here.

And, btw, I love the National Museum.  Been there three times!

Not sure about that Alliecat.  By now you almost qualify as being "a national woman" here in Saudi Arabia.  I can imagine you doing the same for a newbie!!

good people are everywhere! :)
unfortunately, same  goes for the bad ones! :(

MancDoc wrote:
Alliecat wrote:

It would never have happened for a single western woman (ie. a national woman writing to a stranger and meeting up with her to act as a guide) due to the culture here.

And, btw, I love the National Museum.  Been there three times!

Not sure about that Alliecat.  By now you almost qualify as being "a national woman" here in Saudi Arabia.  I can imagine you doing the same for a newbie!!

Nice of you to say, Mandoc :) But you know what I mean.  When I am living in other countries, I want friends from the country I'm in.  I mean, it's fine to have Western friends but having 'native' friends adds SO much more to the experience but it's neigh on impossible here for women.  I have many Saudi 'work friends' but it ends there.  After work and weekends, their time is consumed by their extended families (plus, somebody mentioned to me that perhaps the males in their families don't want them hanging out with a single Western woman.  It could be).

Tonybrock46 wrote:

Fantastic!

I will hope to tap in to your new found knowledge when I get round to doing the visit.

I am more than happy to help.  My level of Arabic and knowledge of local norms will be woefully lacking though.  Mafi Mushkila.

that's really nice of him. I am glad you got a good fist impression of Saudi and it's people.
I have never been to the museum but I heard some days for bachelors and others for females and families when can I as a single male go?

qassabra wrote:

that's really nice of him. I am glad you got a good fist impression of Saudi and it's people.
I have never been to the museum but I heard some days for bachelors and others for females and families when can I as a single male go?

I think most afternoons are OK for single men.  Check their website though it can be a bit vague.  My friend was fairly certain that the segregation of sexes was not altogether strictly enforced as long as you looked "responsible" and did not appear to be visiting the museum to check out the ladies.  He certainly had the advantage of local knowledge, language, etc.  I am not sure if as an expat, you could pull this off.

My host was actually not a Saudi.  As I said, he has spent most of his life in Saudi Arabia but he is actually Jordanian.  In terms of local knowledge though, spot on.

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