I had to go out of the house and wait on the main road, as usual, for a taxi. Usually there are tens of taxis passing by, but for some reason whenever I am out and looking for one they go extinct. And it's not that I mind standing under the wonderful Saudi June-sun, or breathe fresh, hot air - no! It's because the sight of a woman waiting for a taxi amuses too many drivers on the road that they start honking whenever they pass by me. I don't get why they do it - are they offering me a ride, or just rubbing it in my face that they can drive and I have to be driven? (I am not going down the women-driving-road).Today though I didn't have to wait for long. Going into the car, my favorite hindi song was on (kal hoo nahoo). I was SO excited to hear something foreign that I recognized, that I couldn't help exlaiming 'I like that song!' The driver turned and said 'Really?' and put the volume up. 'Yes yes! It's called kal hoo nahoo right?'. The taxi driver nodded and smiled. Of course I didn't recognize any of the songs that came after, but for some reason I felt so happy!
As culturally-ignorant as this might sound, I really could smell the diversity in the air, and life seemed even more beautiful!
As much as I loved and continue to love reading and hearing about your latest random antics in taxis, I think you brought up a pretty important issue that of public transportation in the country. As I am writing this post, I am breezing through today's issue of Arab News. And guess what...a new article has been published about the trouble women in the kingdom facing transportation. Now, I do not want to convert this post into another endless rant about the ban of women driving however I will discuss the dire issue of Saudi Arabia not having any means of public transportation. It is somewhat absurd to think that everyone has can afford a full time driver. Saudi Arabia is not an exception in the major economic crisis currently in progress. With the middle social class on the rise, more families are not able to scrape the sufficient funds in order to get a full time driver. Despite the "religious" and cultural justifications for not allowing women to drive, why is there not a means of public transportation? It amazes me that there is not even a project in process to support these problem. In major cities such as Riyadh and Jeddah, the number of families that do have a female worker without a driver has significantly risen. This results in people resorting to alternative options such as taxis and private driving companies, which both are not financially convenient. Furthermore, there is a huge number of foreign workers in the kingdom that either do not the means to use private companies everyday or do not have authorization to obtain a driver. The impediments faced by millions everyday create serious consequences in the country; it encourages underage driving, creates a bigger divide between the social classes, promotes stay-at-home mothers, and more importantly extinguishes any level of motivation a Saudi women might have to work. Saudi Arabia needs to address this issue immediately to further develop the nation's potential and economy
Arab News Article - http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1§ion=0&article=124071&d=27&m=6&y=2009