It's Summer vacation already, and city streets are packed.. Everyone has a destination.. a place to go, or an airplane to catch out of here (and it's not because of the weather, alone)..
Summer time is also the time where the country is trying to "convince" tourists (middle eastern ones, specifically) and it's own citizens (sadly) that it's worth checking out.. It always starts with some dramatic music selection, happy faces, saline under water, flashy restaurants, and a typical none-existent Saudi family walking back to the car (or into the horizon) with the kids in one hand and the shopping bags at the other..
I came to a conclusion.. It's either they (governmental media) are not telling the truth, or am too blinded to see the beauty in what Summer in Saudi Arabia has to offer..
[ insert, "well DUH" here please ]
When the citizens of a country don't know half of what historical footprint is around them, or never saw one, i blame them for not educating themselves (sometimes).. But why do i feel inclined to blame the government more for not caring to promote those footprints, in any scale similar to other countries? Neighboring countries, to keep the standard to a realistic minimum?
Some would say, people leave the country because of the weather.. Well, there are several sites around the kingdom with amazing weather, and equally breathtaking vistas.. How much money is paid to let you know about these spots? How well maintained are they?
No, that's not a historical artifact from the age of automobile introduction in the kingdom.. Those are what you're supposed to use inside any city you visit.. Plus points to the models without AC's, those are rare..
Who are we kidding, Saudi Arabia? beyond your malls, you're utterly Boring.. I know, i know, no need to fancy-word that statement, "boring" would do just fine..
Governmental funding is paid greatly to promote our shopping malls, other shopping malls, and more shopping malls.. Watch those Summer-vacation ads and count the number of none-commercial points of interest.. I failed to go beyond the typical mud palaces.. Our historical motto: incase you happen to pass by, ask the locals if there's anything worth seeing.. Act like a tourist in your own country.. Bad weather? there's a mall right across from where you're standing right now..
Saudi's main component of a social life is either, or a combination of, 3 main elements:
Malls - Coffee shops - Stagnate smelly sea fronts (maybe some scuba diving)
Libraries? Museums? Galleries? Parks? Historical Landmarks as commercial focal points? Organized outdoor activities with culture influence? Any thing of special exclusive Saudi relevance?
All of these combined, from all the cities of Saudi combined, from any other perspective combined, won't exceed 30.. If you think that's a good enough number, please leave this blog.. I mean it..
Basically, our summer festivals are nothing but shopping festivals.. There's nothing more to it.. There's isn't any commercially-funded and organized culturally-attractive things to do (Sand Duning and Desert Hiking comes to mind)
One negative point that we all must realize, all our Summer festivals are Shopping festivals, period..
All the cities have similar shopping malls with similar shopping slogans and catchphrases, similar logos, similar attractions (except for geographical perks), and similar typical none-existent Saudi Families, walking back home with a smile across their faces..
I have to ask.. Did anyone happen to catch that "typical" family in real life? I want to ask about the drug prescriptions, because it reaches a point when there's nothing worth smiling about more than the sight of your boarding pass on a plane out of here..
One summer-related phenomena that i like, is those loyal citizens who pop-up on the local radio station talk shows, uttering the same nonsense we were taught at school, every single summer since the introduction of Radio waves in the kingdom:
- There's no need to travel outside, everything we need is right here..
- There's all sorts of interesting events for the family, and we're all happy to be here..
How about, We're brainwashed to believe that this is a festival, if it's even proper to use that term as a definition, and we're loving it because we're over-patriotic and too blind to see the actual facts?
How about, Saudi Arabia is designed to be a traveling gas station, where you buy things with minimum taxes, and easily afford a ticket to enjoy those winter-clothes you just bought in some other country?
How about, the need to travel and to tour the world is about culture and well-preserved heritage and historical museums and art galleries and socially famous local attractions, of which we have none?
These were posted in a tourism message board that fell in love with the beach.. Yes, this is that smelly sea front..
Our understanding of a Summer vacation good-times are infested with what we THINK is a summer vacation (we were brought up that way), and thus, our standards of what to expect are already lowered to a shopping-mall minimum.. Summer vacation is also an excuse to triple those price tags, despite the product or it's summer-relevancy, in hopes to get the year's worth of profit in 3 quick months..
Saudi Arabia has fancy hotels? Which, during the summer vacation, are spaces you rent to rest your wallets (and feet) from a hard workout at the nearby mall(s).. The SAME malls which host brands that you already have in your hometown's mall, but with different mall-names and more catchy lights and glittery stuff..
Because, let's face it, we know more malls in each major city in the kingdom, and we know almost nothing about anything else beyond that..
Or, to be more politically correct, we know more places to spend our money in major cities around the kingdom, and we know NOTHING about anything else..
Because we don't want anything else? Because we can't see anything else? Because there isn't anything else?
I guess that's why am blogging about this.. Have a great summer, and buy me a friggin' ashtray or something..