Tuesday, 25 May 2010

The New Zealand Embassy Do's

New Zealand Embassy in Riyadh: Location, Diplomatic Quarter

On Sunday evenings we play tennis with some of the New Zealand Embassy staff stationed here in Riyadh.  Wonderful people.

Any expat who comes to live in Saudi should register with their relevant embassy.  I know that some Kiwi's don't register with the NZ Embassy as they believe that Mr Tax Man back home can get hold of their information.  A fair enough worry, but rest assured, they can't.

The real reason for registering is just in case something goes very badly awry.  If Embassy staff know you're here then they know who to call if, for some reason, it may be a good idea to leave.  To date I have not felt unsafe in Riyadh and, having lived here trouble free for five months, I was beginning to think KSA is a safe country?   However, as this story about Expats attacked at Kingdom shows it's not a good idea to forget where you are.

As I said, so far I haven't had any problems and, though one can get upset about what goes on here (you know what I mean - the no woman driving, must wear an abaya rules and chop your head off punishments), it pays to remember that even back home we have 'issues'. For example, being known as a country that kills its children is not something New Zealanders should be proud of.

To make living in Saudi Arabia a bit more bearable and fun for their countrymen and women, some embassy's put on events every month or so.  That is the second reason for registering your residency here.  They can put you on the contact list and send you invites.

There isn't a lot of recreation here - no disco's, no movie theaters, definitely no pubs, no sport (none for women anyway) and definitely no 'fraternizing' - unrelated men and women mixing socially. So the Embassy Do's are a chance to mix and mingle in relaxed fashion.

To date I have been to:
- A 60's night organised by the Southern Cross ladies

Not sure that the sunglasses are 60's but Glenn insisted.

- Anzac Day Breakfast - a combined NZ/Aust occasion.

I had blisters so took my shoes off.

- Was sick for the New Zealand Tui Club Embassy do (bummer)

- Coolibah Club Australia Embassy - no cameras allowed, so no photo sorry, but it was a good evening.

NZ Embassy staff provide these events on a voluntary basis - I understand it is not part of their job description.  I'm presuming other Embassy's are the same.   It's annoying when expats start to expect events and then whinge about them or abuse the events with bad behavior.  If expats aren't careful the Embassies will say enough is enough - find your own fun at your own risk.

If any fellow Kiwi's out there would like to get on to the NZ Embassy social list, then here is their contact details.  (Any non-Kiwis who would like an invite will just have to get out and meet a few Kiwis).

NZ Embassy Riyadh, Contact Details
P O Box 94397
Riyadh 11693
Saudi Arabia
+ 966(1)488-7988

For you peeps from the rest of the world, hopeful that your Embassy is as sociable as ours, here's a link to a list of embassies world wide.  Give yours a call.

Glenn and I enjoy ourselves when the Embassy occasions arise - the food is excellent, the atmosphere convivial and there is always someone new to meet.  We are looking forward to the next New Zealand Embassy Do.  Perhaps we'll meet your there.

Ka Kite,

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