Thursday, August 9, 2012

Strange But True Things About Life in Saudi Arabia

So its been awhile since I've posted about life here in good ol' KSA. Here are some strange, but true things about this country that aren't necessarily worth a whole blog post on their own, but as a group, count as a whole post. This post was compiled with the help of my oldest son, who is 12 years old.

1) There are probably more Krispy Kreme stores/kiosks per capita in Riyadh than any city in the USA. I don't have any data or statistics that would back me up. But judging by the number of Krispy Kreme kiosks in just one mall, I don't mind making that claim.

2) Malls are weirdly quiet here. Stores don't blare competing and annoying music. And the people don't talk very loudly.

3) The sanitary disposal bins in women's bathrooms are marked with a tampon symbol, but as far as I know, you can't buy tampons in KSA. Don't ask me why because I have no idea.  (ETA: Yesterday I was at the pharmacy at the Hayat Mall and found they had a few boxes of tampons. This is the first time I have ever seen tampons at a pharmacy or grocery store. Still, I don't think you can buy them everywhere.)

4) There are corn-in-the-cup stands all over--and potato-on-a-stick. Saudis like their corn and potatoes.

5) They have stores called Pizza Inn and Taco Hut.

6) If the fast food restaurants get run out of business in the U.S. from all the outrage about transfast and other stuff, they'll be fine because they have a firm foothold in KSA.

7) The main entertainment choices for people seem to be either malls or food.

8) Bookstores don't usually have very many books--and the books that are available seem to mostly focus on the Koran. My son pointed out that one bookstore sells more office supplies than books.

9) You can buy an ipod case at pet stores.

10) You can buy dyed chicks at pet stores. (This just makes me sad.)

11) Kiosks are more common than vending machines.

12) Water is insanely cheap. I think artificially so. It usually costs 1 riyal for a bottle of water, which is about 33 cents.

13) This one comes from my son--you can find cutting edge technology and old technology really easily, but finding the stuff in between is hard.

14) The arctic wolf is an endangered animal in Saudi Arabia.

15) There are baboons living in the desert.

16) During Ramadan, our compound has shopping buses that go out from 8:45 PM to 11:45 PM.  Yes, you read that right. I thought it was a typo at first, but the malls stay open very late at night during Ramadan.


  1. Interesting! I enjoyed those tidbits!

  2. You can buy tampons in KSA, they are just not as commonly used here than in the west :)

  3. Laylah, I would love to know where you can buy them. I still have yet to find tampons at the pharmacies I've been to.

  4. I have found tampons at Boots Pharmacy in Sahara Mall. When in stock!

  5. I was also looking for tampons at the grocery store and couldn't find any so I assumed they just didn't sell them here. But now I know they are out there somewhere, thank you so much.

  6. There are, in fact, tampons sold in riyadh, theyre just rare to find because people dont swim as much. People use it thought. Just not alow

  7. Oh and gas is actually cheaper than water :P I'm from Saudi Arabia

  8. can anyone tell where can i get tampons in madina

  9. I bet the book store is jarir.
    (its not just a bookstore...)

  10. Riyadh is amazing city just try to discover it 😍