Saudi Arabia may seem a subdued, even dull place from a distance; but on closer acquaintance it emerges as a fascinating country, not only because of its vital political and cultural importance in the international arena, but also because of its people. Reticent but, on closer acquaintance, charming and warm hosts, the Saudis form a far less monolithic society than one might expect. Their gift for storytelling, their humour, and their endurance leave a lasting impression.
Divided by region, creed, and background but united in Islam, insular yet forever traveling abroad, and living with a foreign contingent that makes up nearly one-fifth of the population: the list goes on. So what do Saudis have in common beyond their national dress
Perhaps the key characteristic is that Saudis are intensely private people. Getting to know them can be a challenge—their reticence is often masked by loud voices and what can seem an arrogant attitude—but it is a challenge worth taking up. Those who make the effort will encounter charismatic people capable of enormous charm and a sharp sense of humor that thrives on exaggeration.
Culture Smart! Saudi Arabia will help you get to know the people at home, at work and in the marketplace. Social, cultural and business life is demystified in concise chapters while sections of the values, customs and attitudes that inform daily life will help put everything into perspective.
The month of Ramadan is dedicated to the duty of fasting, to prayer, and to charity. At sunset, the fast is broken with the iftar meal, which consists of a handful of dates and drink of water or apricot juice. The feast continues throughout the night with a great variety of delicious Ramadan treats. It is now somewhat common for people to put on weight over the course of the month rather than lose it!