Tally Ho! Curzon is off to Saudi Arabia!

In a few hours I will be leaving to visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The “KSA” is not the first place on my list of countries to visit, but I am delighted to visit a country deemed to be one of the most culturally and politically alien places on our planet — or as one close colleague said to me, speaking from the experience of his numerous trips to Saudi Arabia: “You might as well be on the moon.” However, as it is truly the largest economy in the region, a lot of Westerners regularly visit the major cities of Riyadh, Damman and Jeddah, so the place is not quite as alien as you might imagine. Stay tuned for more when I come back.

Fun fact: If you hold an English, Dutch, French, Canadian, Japanese, Chinese, Australian, or any other passport other than American, you will have a nightmare of a time getting any type of visa to enter Saudi Arabia. The paperwork is all in Arabic, the bureaucrats are notoriously lazy and not time sensitive, and once the visa is issued, you must enter the country very quickly before it expires. The biggest exception to this rules is for American citizens, who find it easier to get an ordinary business visa, and who also can receive a five year, multi-entry visa with a relatively simple procedure through the Saudi Embassy in Washington D.C. as a bilateral accord that came into effect in May 2008. If I end up going to Saudi regularly, I may seek to acquire this visa.

About Curzon

Lord George Nathaniel Curzon (1859 - 1925) entered the British House of Commons as a Conservative MP in 1886, where he served as undersecretary of India and Foreign Affairs. He was appointed Viceroy of India at the turn of the 20th century where he delineated the North West Frontier Province, ordered a military expedition to Tibet, and unsuccessfully tried to partition the province of Bengal during his six-year tenure. Curzon served as Leader of the House of Lords in Prime Minister Lloyd George's War Cabinet and became Foreign Secretary in January 1919, where his most famous act was the drawing of the Curzon Line between a new Polish state and Russia. His publications include Russia in Central Asia (1889) and Persia and the Persian Question (1892). In real life, "Curzon" is a US citizen from the East Coast who has been a financial analyst, freelance translator, and university professor; he is currently on assignment in Tokyo.
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4 Responses to Tally Ho! Curzon is off to Saudi Arabia!

  1. kurt9 says:

    Good luck!

    Saudi Arabia is not the kind of place I would consider visiting.

  2. von Kaufman-Turkestansky says:

    … and from a moral point of view SA seems almost of a different planet than Gulf neighbour Dubai…
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/may/16/dubai-sex-tourism-prostitution ..

  3. Dubai Canuck says:

    It’s fairly easy actually, it took me about 350 AED and a visit to a small typing centre in Dubai and that was it. But you do need an invitation letter from a company in the Kingdom.

  4. Alec says:

    What’s an English passport? One written in English?