First stop on today’s trip was to the Saudi Arabian Royal Commission of Jubail & Yanbu. The organization formulates trade and labor agreements within international business. In addition, they focus on higher education, job force training, language immersion, and economic development. The goal is to diversify the economy. The commission gives corporations/industries free land, tax breaks, and employee compounds for expatriates. The organization shared their expansion plans and then provided a bus tour of the whole city. Unfortunately, no photos were allowed. I did however, find a brief video explaining the city.
After the bus tour, the commission hosted a beautiful outside picnic with the best food yet, in KSA!
The hospitality continued with dessert and “surprises” which consisted of framed handmade Bedouin jewelry for the ladies and traditional head dresses for the gentlemen. Both genders received a group photo and informational CD. The commission stressed that we apply for jobs within Saudi Arabia and that they would pay for all of our living expenses, moving expenses, and future travel. If graduate school doesn’t work, I may have to look into that! ha ha!
Following the Saudi Arabian Royal Commission, was a visit to Aramco. As mentioned before, Aramco is the world’s largest oil company ; and is owned by the Kingdom. Again, photos were not allowed, but the facilities were unlike anything I had ever seen. As students, we were able to use the drill simulator and pretend to operate a deep ocean drill rig. A cave simulator also communicated the differences between oil, natural gas and vast volumes located within the rock.
As for the evening, the ladies went shopping for new abayas! I had my heart set on a pearl abaya because I had seen a woman in one; at one of my university visits. After much debate and travel, I found it! In less than 10 minutes, it was tailored to my body.
My new abaya purchased for $42.00. It has pearls, silk, and lots of bling :)
Tomorrow, we will fly out to the city of Jeddah, our last city during the cultural study visit. I have been looking forward to Jeddah the most because I have heard stories of how liberal the city is with its bright colors and tight fitting abayas. I am excited to compare the different cities. Also, there is a large pearl and gold market present :)