Saturday, November 6, 2010
Inside My Cage
To someone outside looking in compound life in Saudi seems pretty sweet. But after a while it also becomes your prison.
Compounds in Saudi are heavily guarded. Since they are full of expats they are a target for terrorists. There are high walls, covered in barb wire. Surrounded by army men with machine guns. To enter your must stop at security. Your name must be on a guest list. Your car is then searched, engine, trunk and underneath.
Once you are permitted to enter it looks like a vacation resort. There are palm trees and flowers in the perfectly landscaped lawns and gardens. There are grounds men who's job it is to manicure it everyday. There is a store for groceries, DVD rentals, a dry cleaner, and even a beauty salon. A restaurant should you decide to grab a bite. Swimming pools, jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, tennis courts and playgrounds. This all sounds great, I know.
The one thing you don't have here is freedom. Many people I have met have been here over 10 years. I think they get use to this life where everything is done for you and cannot see themselves going back into the "real" world. You don't even have to clean your own house or look after your own kids. Maids/Nannies are extremely cheap and everyone seems to have one. I have not gone down this road so far and don't intend to.
I do feel safe here. Even outside the compound walls. Altho, I never forget where I am and that I am a stranger (and a Westerner) in this country. My guard is up and I always try to be aware of my surroundings.