Reflecting back on my first few days in the Kingdom I can honestly say that so far everything is great. Granted I haven’t done any actual work yet but everyone I have met is so friendly and helpful.
The flight out – business class – was amazing. Had a lovely meal, as many drinks as you wanted and coffee and chocolates about an hour before landing. The best bit for me was loads of leg room and being able to adjust the seat. The seat even had a massage function which was rather nice!
I had a few tearful moments on the flight as everything started to hit home and kick in that no, I wasn’t going on holiday I was off to a new job half way round the world! Queue looking at the ceiling and blinking rapidly. I’m not entirely sure the man seated next to me would have been able to cope with a blubbering wreck!!
As the plane came in to land I started to feel really nervous about immigration and customs, for some reason I managed to convince myself that I had packed something illegal without realising it and wouldn’t be allowed into the country! You know, the way you do…
In reality it was a long process – when entering Saudi Arabia for the first time you have your photograph and finger prints taken. Felt so sorry for the guy processing the queue I was in – his finger print machine broke so h e moved us all to another desk only to find the camera a t the new desk didn’t work!! A colleague eventually helped him out so I had my pic and prints taken then he said ‘just have a seat please’ My face must have reflected the horror that my brain was feeling as he hastily explained the system was slow and it was simply to save me standing. Phew!!!
With the immigration and customs procedures completed I joined the other new starts in the lounge to receive our welcome packs and keys. Except they didn’t have keys for me… Apparently someone had keyed my ID number in wrongly and they couldn’t find me. Everyone who knows me knows how bad I am with numbers so I really couldn’t get annoyed at this. Anyway, I was taken to a lovely warm and comfortable guest house for a few nights until things got sorted.
Things were sorted out on Sunday (Sunday is a work day in Saudi Arabia) and I am now in a lovely house with a fab room mate.