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Tips for Saudi Visitors

February 25, 2001

Your article "Saudi Arabia Unveiled" (Feb. 11) was quite interesting. As an armed forces member who stayed in Saudi Arabia all last summer, I must say the author has a limited view of Riyadh.

I'm sure that a tourist in Saudi Arabia is not shown the "bad" sections of town. As a military member, I had free rein to see the city, and I found it to be like most cities. There are homeless, albeit few. There is litter--not as much as in Paris, but certainly the city's not as clean as author Marjorie Gilbert claims.

One thing the tourist needs to know is not to touch or shake another's hand using the left hand, and, while sitting (the Saudis always sit for tea), not to show the soles of one's feet to another, as this is insulting.



I was interested to learn that the Saudi Arabian government is letting persons into the country for tourism. Having lived there from 1990 to 1998, I was surprised.

One thing that really offends those of us who have lived there is the idea that you can do whatever you want while disregarding what you have been told you cannot do. The idea of photographing a gathering in town, as the author attempted to do, was inappropriate, and they should have thrown her in jail just to make the point.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Make it easy for the expatriates who live there.


Diamond Bar

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