Written by Kathy Cuddihy, published by Barzipan Publishing
Based in Saudi Arabia, this book is a real page turner. This account by Kathy Cuddihy tells of her experience of moving to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 1976.
Kathy’s husband, Sean, was offered a transfer to Riyadh and while Kathy agreed, it was with the stipulation that it was “only for two years, not a minute longer”. However, it would be 24 years before Kathy and her husband finally left the country and this is an honest, humorous and frank account of their time there. A writer by trade, it is little wonder that Anywhere but Saudi Arabia is so descriptive and enjoyable.
Too soon after going to sleep, my eyes flew open in shock. My heart pounded, alerted to the possibility of danger. Still drugged with fatigue, I felt disorientated.
“Sean, Sean, wake up. I think I hear lions roaring.”
“You do,” he mumbled before dozing off again.
“What are lions doing in the middle of the desert,” I cried, shaking him and remembering all too clearly my experiences only a few hours previously. Giant cockroaches were one thing; how could I also be expected to cope with the threat of wild beasts?
“The zoo’s down the road. It’s feeding time. You’ll soon learn to sleep through the racket.” He rolled over and nodded off.
Then another unfamiliar sound broke the temporary silence. Good grief, could it really be a nasally man singing badly through a megaphone?
“Sean, what’s that? Where’s it coming from?”
“That’s a muezzin making the day’s first prayer call. We’re lucky there’s no mosque near the compound or you would have got a real scare.”
A real scare? And precisely how, I wondered, did that differ from the scare I was presently suffering?
By now we were both more awake than asleep so we got up to witness our first Riyadh sunrise together and to view the neighbourhood from the tiny bedroom balcony.
Anyone who has visited Saudi Arabia will appreciate the concerns that Kathy felt and, as the book continues, you also start to appreciate the country through different eyes. Again, this book is a great read for anyone with a passion for the Middle East, and it is easily one of the most enjoyable books that I have read for a long time.
£9.95 plus p+p, 308pp paperback
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