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Expat wanderer

Kuwaiti Woman Arrested Driving in Saudi Arabia

From today’s Kuwait Times:

Kuwaiti woman caught driving in Saudi Arabia

KUWAIT: A Kuwaiti woman was arrested in Saudi Arabia after she was caught driving in the kingdom where ultraconservative laws ban women from taking the wheel. According to a Khafji police report, the woman was caught driving a Chevrolet Epica on the ‘Sitteen Road’ in front of a hotel in the area located near the border with Kuwait, while a Kuwaiti man was in the passenger’s seat. The woman told the officers that the man was her father, adding that he is diabetic and cannot drive and that she had to take him to the hospital for treatment. The woman remains in custody pending investigations.

Saudi authorities have warned women of legal measures if they defy a long-standing driving ban in the kingdom. At least 16 women were stopped by police last Saturday and were fined and forced along with their male guardians to pledge to obey the kingdom’s laws, as more than 60 women said they defied the ban.

A growing number of men are quietly helping steer the campaign, risking their jobs and social condemnation in the conservative kingdom. Some of the men have even been questioned by authorities, and one was detained by a branch of the Saudi Interior Ministry – a move that sent a chill through some of the activists working to put women behind the wheel. In the run-up to last weekend’s protest, men played a key role in helping wives, sisters and female friends to enjoy what they believe is a fundamental right. Since the campaign was launched in September, they have produced videos of women driving and put them on social networks. They have helped protect the female drivers by forming packs of two or three cars to surround them and ward off potential harassment. And some have simply ridden as passengers with the women as they run their daily errands.

By A Saleh

I love it that this writer specified that this movement to allow women to drive in Saudi Arabia – where there is no law forbidding women to drive – is supported by husbands, brothers, fathers who want them to be able to drive. Most of the people discussing it in the US think the men don’t want the women to drive. I laugh, and say “they DO drive!” They drive all over the world, including Saudi Arabia, only in Saudi Arabia they have to disguise themselves as men, or drive out in the deserts. Their brothers, husbands and fathers teach them to drive. Time is on their side, their day is coming. Let’s hope women driving means fewer 12 and 13 year old boys behind the wheels, driving their Mums.

November 5, 2013 Posted by | Adventure, Cultural, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Law and Order, Saudi Arabia, Values, Women's Issues, Work Related Issues | Leave a comment

A Minor Miracle

A couple years ago, when I was at the dermatologist (and if you have lived under the hot strong sun in the Middle East, you might want to have an annual skin-scan, too) she asked “anything else?” and I wailed “What is happening to my skin??”




I’ve always had good skin. All of a sudden, I felt like the Portrait of Dorian Grey, like all my secret sins were catching up with me and manifesting on my skin. You could see my pores! I was getting little brown spots. I am not an abnormally vain woman, but I will admit that the sight of my skin going bad overnight was a staggering blow.


She laughed. “I have a magic potion that will keep your skin looking pretty good,” she said, and wrote me my first prescription for Retin-A.


It’s not a fountain of youth. It’s not like it gives me the face I had in my twenties and thirties, even into my forties. But it holds those brown spots at bay, gives my skin light and sparkle again, and tightens up those pores. I don’t know how it does it, I don’t care. It’s a little bit of magic and helps me handle the inevitability of the aging process.


She also gave me a coupon that made it less expensive. Still, I gasped the first time I went to buy it, and neither of my health insurances covered it. A little goes a long way, so I’ve only had to renew the prescription twice.


This last time, when I walked in to the pharmacist, I asked the cost first. He told me that for the name brand it would be eight hundred something and for the generic it would be five hundred something.


You could feed an African village for a year with five hundred dollars. I couldn’t do it. I walked away. I spent a week in stunned disbelief, then went online and found a coupon that promised a sizable discount.


When I went back to the pharmacy yesterday, they said the coupon wouldn’t discount much, but this time the girl took the initiative to check my insurance and said “the coupon doesn’t help, but did you know that your insurance will pay for all but $5. if you take the generic?”


“There must be some mistake,” I thought to myself. My insurance has never covered this before.


“Are you sure?” I asked her, not really wanting to, wanting to hand her five dollars and run out the door, but also knowing that if it were a mistake, that the pharmacy would be stuck holding the bag.


“Yes, ” she responded, “I’m sure. Only thing is, you’ll have to come back tomorrow to pick it up, we don’t have it in stock.”


Oh ye of little faith . . .


This morning, still thinking they have made a mistake, I called to ask if it had arrived, not wanting to make a trip in vain. The pharmacist left me on hold a long time and I just knew something was not right. I knew it couldn’t be this good. You don’t get a $500.+ medication for $5.


Then he came back on the line. “It’s in,” he said, “Come and get it!”


I feel so blessed. I’m aging, my skin is aging, and the Lord is merciful on me, a sinner. He allows me a small vanity, caring for my skin, and for only $5. I still can’t figure out if this is the new Obamacare or some Medicare benefit, or a prescription benefit change. I don’t even want to investigate, I am so grateful for this mercy.


And no. I would not have been able to justify it at $800. Or even justify it at $500. There is just so much need in the world for the basics, for food and shelter and clothing for the poor. But $5? For me, it is a minor miracle.


(In a study published in the UK Telegraph, researchers found women think negative thoughts about their appearance an average of 36 times EVERY DAY.)

November 5, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Happy Islamic New Year

My good friend and commenter, Daggero, left this comment for us yesterday announcing the new Islamic year:


For your information yesterday we entered the Islamic year 1435 Hijri ( hijri = immigration ) which marks the year the prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, emigrated after 13 years of calling people to Islam from Mecca to Medina, ( where he is burried in his Mosque , Masjid an Nabawi, the second holliest mosque in Islam after the Mecca )


So total Islam time from begining to now is 1448 years, and on this auspicious occasion i wish you , AdventureMan and your family and the little ones a happy and a blessed New Islamic year.



We wish you the same, Daggero, and I smiled as I read that you discussed the topic we were discussing with your daughter on the drive to school in the morning. I remember those days so well, as young people begin to draw off into their own lives and the time we spend with them in cars can be so precious. Happy New Year to you and your family.


We had a friend from Libya whose family name meant “from Madina;” before we had ever lived in any Middle East country, he had told us a little about Madina, and what a beautiful city it is. The mosque is very beautiful. I think the tradition is that green was the prophet Mohammed’s favorite color?


Happy New Year, too, to all our Moslem friends.

November 5, 2013 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Events, ExPat Life, Faith, Family Issues, Interconnected, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia | , , , , | Leave a comment