In 1992 I signed a nursing contract to work in King Faisal Hospital in Riyadh in Intensive Care for 2 years. From the moment I got onto the plane I met fellow Irish nurses. I shared a house with two Irish girls also.
We had the life of Reilly. Even though alcohol was banned, everyone made their own. The supermarkets had an aisle devoted to red and white grape juice, kilos of sugar, industrial packs of yeast and ‘near beer’- alcohol free beer.
It didn’t take a genius to work out that the Saudi’s knew what we were doing but their other (silent) law was that what went on behind compound walls must stay behind compound walls. In other words, we needed to have respect for their culture and their religion which in my book was fair enough.
It generally bodes well not to flout the laws when you are a guest in another country. Myself and a few friends had planned to visit a friend of a friend’s villa. It was risky as it was outside and not in a compound but the man was well connected and we had been there once before. We ate, drank, were merry and left relatively early enough as some of us were working the next morning.
What we were not prepared for was the ambush that was planned by the Mutawa (the religious Muslim police) across three different roads. Twelve of us went to jail that night. Six females to the female jail and six males to the male jail.
Part 2 tomorrow.
That’s all for now