Land-grab, Saudi vuvuzela, and tasting weird drinks

  • According to recent stats, about 60 percent of Saudis do not have their own homes. The main reason behind this situation is the prohibitively expensive cost of buying land where you can build a house. Of course this is crazy because Saudi Arabia is a vast desert. You would think lands would be dirt cheap, right? Wrong. Why? Land-grabbing. Fellow blogger Essam al-Zamil has been on a roll with a series of thoughtful blogposts about the problem of land-grab in the country. He recently crunched some numbers to estimate the fair price for land, and his findings are nothing short of astonishing. Per his estimate, citizens pay between 5-10 times the fair price when they buy a small piece land in most decent areas.
  • Now that the World Cup is over, I’m looking forward to enjoy watching football without the deafening noise of vuvuzelas. Or so I thought. The vuvzela will find its way to our stadiums because although it might be an African tradition, it is actually made with Saudi materials. The Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) waited until the end of the competition to proudly announce that the plastic horns are manufactured using its high-density polyethylene products. So yeah, Saudi Arabia did not reach the World Cup finals, but they still somehow managed to make themselves heard in this global event. You are welcome.
  • Since drinking alcohol is illegal in KSA, the Burdened Mary decided to sample some of the weird non-alcoholic drinks available in the local market. Her verdict: “These drinks were mostly duds compared to fresh fruit juices or Saudi Champagne.”