I have lived about four years in Al-Khobar which is one of the peaceful cities of Saudi Arabia and wanted to share my experience with all those who are planning to and have lived there. I did my O and A- Levels from there and had quite a difference experience if I compare it with my life in Pakistan. I consider my self lucky to have lived in Saudi Arabia because I was able to visit the holy places- Makkah and Madina almost after every six months. Moreover, I got to explore a lot of deserts and different kind of mountains along the highway. On the route from Dammam to Riyadh there are red mountains which darkens as we move further and turn completely black with gold mines near Jeddah. Although its hard to find greenery but there are always lots of camels on the sides of the highway. The locals love their camels so much that there is a fine of thousands of riyal if anyone hits a camel on highway so we always had to be careful.
On the contrary, the weather is hot most of the times and sometimes wearing Abaya (a black gown compulsory for women) in the scorching sun annoyed me. Though most of the times, I felt abaya as a blessing as it didn’t require me to change clothes and dress up every time I had to go out. Other thing is that all the shops close down during the prayer time which I have never seen happening in other Muslim countries. I found it to be a good thing as it motivates people to leave all their work and pray.
Moreover, there are separate family and bachelors section in all the restaurants and women are not allowed to talk to any non- Mahram otherwise Muttawa’s are always there to give lectures. Also, women are not allowed to drive which is considered peculiar by many. However when in compound, a women can drive on her own. One more thing, there are no cinemas in Saudi Arabia so when ever we had to watch a new movie, we had to go to Bahrain…yes, a different country just for that.
Overall, I found the country to be safe and peaceful. I consider it as a good experience of my life.