Fisherie Friends

Most of the blue collar workers here in Saudi Arabia are from poorer Asian or African countries like Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, or Somalia. These two men work in a busy and popular fisherie in Jeddah. There were at least ten men working in this particular fisherie. Fresh catch from the Red Sea are available for purchase (or a customer can bring in his own fish), to be gutted, prepared, and fully cooked to order for take-out only. We brought in a very large fish (that my hubby had caught himself!), plus we purchased several more smaller fish there at the fisherie and had them prepare and cook them for us. The total cost was 40 Riyals, which is $10 US. I thought it might smell pretty fishy in there, but it actually wasn’t bad. The facility was quite clean and completely tiled. The shovel in the photo below is used for scooping ice into the fresh fish bins.
The workers kept watching me as I snapped my photos and they were happy to pose for me. Saudi women are forbidden from having any contact with men outside the family, which means ignoring them, not looking at them, and not speaking to other men, except when it is absolutely necessary, and even at that, as minimal contact as possible. But as a friendly American woman, I choose to behave the way I always have and treat other men like normal human beings. My hubby would prefer that I act more like a Saudi woman, but I cannot bring myself to totally ignore other human beings like that. I find that men here welcome and appreciate being acknowledged in the smallest ways, and I think that likely it’s because Saudi women treat them as though they don’t exist.


About SusieOfArabia

American woman now living in hubby's homeland of Saudi Arabia
This entry was posted in Culture, Food, Life, Tradition and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Fisherie Friends

  1. Dina says:

    Glad you explained that the shovel was for ice and not for clobbering to death any live fish.
    I know what you mean. When I first came to the Middle East, to the Old City, I had to try to curb my natural friendly smile and look-you-in-the-eye egalitarian manner when talking to male people, as it was often misinterpreted. But when I work at archaeology eight hours a day, it’s hard not to be friendly. A few of my Muslim co-workers spoke (in jest, I’m sure) of joining their family as their second or third wife.

  2. Fishing Guy says:

    Susie: Ice is always good to keep the fish fresh. I would have liked to see Hubbies catch.

  3. A Friend says:

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  4. Thanks to You All for your Comments!

    To Sonia – It really is a great idea for fish preparation and cooking. There are many fisheries everywhere. Jeddah is on the Red Sea and fish and seafood are a large staple of the diet.

    To GeoGypsy – Thank you so much. I am so glad you are finding learning about Saudi Arabia interesting.

    Hi Marahm – I can certainly understand why you miss the great fish here – it’s fantastic. There are very few times when I have ever been out without my hubby so far. I am kind but I make sure I am not too friendly so that it might be misconstrued in any way.

    Thanks LadyFi!

    Hi Babooshka – I feel the same way about learning about your beautiful Isle of Man!

    Thanks Sharon – Sometimes I do find myself biting my tongue here – knowing when to is the art!

    Hi Judy – Generally the only workers that bring their families with them are the professionals (white collars) and usually housing or a housing allowance is included in their contract. The blue collar workers come on mostly 2-3 year contracts. Housing is provided by their employer but is likely shared quarters and can be as little as a cot and a dresser if they are lucky. For the most part, even those employed by the royals are provided very meager quarters and meals. Those who are in the country illegally likely split the renting of minimal accommodations with others in similar situations, although I’m not really sure.

  5. Judy says:

    Where do the people live that come there from the poorer countries? Do they bring their family with them? I love your descriptions of life and try to put myself into the picture for a taste of a different culture.

  6. I love the stories you relate and realize what a huge difference it is for you to live there. I feel like I would get into so much trouble living there but, then I don’t have a husband so it would be doubly difficult for me.

  7. babooshka says:

    I can relate to the fishing industry living here, but even hat is a world away from yours. Always fascinating.

  8. ladyfi says:

    My comment seems to have disappeared!

    Love this photo – and the glint in their eyes.

  9. ladyfi says:

    I love this photo – the glint in their eyes!

    I hope you never lose your humanity and friendliness – men, too, are part of the human race! πŸ˜‰

  10. Marahm says:

    One of the things I miss the most about Saudi Arabia is the magnificent Red Sea fish, seasoned and grilled to pearly perfection.

    As for the men, you may find yourself gradually behaving more like Saudi women, the longer you live there.

    When with your husband, your American friendliness may be appreciated, but when you are not with him, be careful!

  11. Geogypsy says:

    Susie, you amaze me. How truly adventurous of you to just be where you are. I’m glad you can let yourself out, at least a little. I love reading about this, to me, unusual culture. Their appreciation for the arts is encouraging. I truly like the idea of letting someone else prepare fish.

  12. Sonia says:

    What a great idea! I would love to have somewhere where they prepare the fish for me, because my dh can’t stand seafood smell at home. When I do cook seafood at home, and it smells like seafood, he won’t eat it. We’re stuck going to restaurants to get our seafood fix.

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