I'm slightly obsessive. Obviously.
Currently, I'm highly into several ongoing news stories, including the "Girl of Qatif" case. This is all about the 19 year old Saudi girl who was gang-raped by 7 guys (twice) because she met a man who was not her husband. Oh, and then she got sentenced to 6 months in jail and 200 lashes. Well, today she was pardoned by the King.
Thanks a ton, Abdullah.
In reading about today's development, I realized that I really don't know that much about Saudi Arabia. And my go-to place for self-education is Wikipedia.
Did you know that Saudi Arabia didn't even become a country until 1932? And it's the only country in the world where women aren't allowed to drive!
Anyway, this morning I'm sitting here getting all riled about about this poor Girl of Qatif and then reading all about the history and culture of Saudi Arabia and I finally announce, "I'm going to Saudi Arabia!"
Yeah. Why not? I'm goin'. Where's my passport?
I found my dad in the kitchen.
"Hey, dad. Let's go to Saudi Arabia."
"Uh, it'd be stupid. And we're not allowed."
"Seriously. We're not allowed."
"Perhaps you're unaware of King Abdullah Economic City, a city being built for tourists."
"Yeah, it's not built yet. If you want to go to Saudi Arabia so bad, google it and see what the rules are. I've got a friend that's lived in Riyahd for the past 15 years. You figure it out."
Awesome, Saudi Arabia, get ready for the Spotswoods.
So I googled "American travel in Saudi Arabia."
Most of the time if you google travel somewhere, it's all Sandals resorts and bus tour pop ups. They can't wait to get your wacky foreign money.
Yeah, not so much for the old SA.
The first Google result is a warning from the US Government. The very government which, according to basically everyone and CJ Cregg, kisses Saudi ass like Hybrids don't even exist. And this warning carries the very verbiage I need to stop my Saudi travel planning and look into a nice Radisson in Honolulu.
Check this shit out:
American citizens who choose to visit or remain in Saudi Arabia despite this Travel Warning are strongly urged to avoid staying in hotels or housing compounds that do not apply stringent security measures including, but not limited to, the presence of an armed guard force, inspection of all vehicles, and a hardened security perimeter to prevent unauthorized vehicles from approaching the facility. American citizens are further advised to exercise caution and maintain good situational awareness when visiting commercial establishments frequented by Westerners or in primarily Western environments. Keep a low profile, varying times and routes for all required travel, and ensure that travel documents and visas are valid. American citizens are also advised to exercise caution while driving, entering or exiting vehicles.
On a side note, I have a very good friend currently serving our fine country thereabouts, and I would normally e-mail him for his thoughts on these developments, but we've decided to be the only ones who maintain actually letter writing in times of war, and thus, all correspondence takes 2-4 weeks. All of his letters start with, "Thanks for the mail. How very WW2 of you."