From Jamie's Philippines Pics

We have also had the opportunity to travel to some amazing places in China, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Bali. We have archived all of our travels and living experiences abroad; and if you wish, you can read about our adventures by finding the archives on the right of this page and by checking our Photo Album.

We appreciate all of our family and friends who have stayed in touch and emailed us with encouraging words throughout the year. We hope you will continue to keep us in your thoughts as we continue our adventure of living abroad teaching at an international school. For those who have stumbled upon our site, check out the "About Eric and Jamie" section on the right for more information.

Thanks for checking us out!

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness."
- Mark Twain

"Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends."
- Maya Angelou






Skype: "ericandjamie"



Monday, October 25, 2010

Getting a Bank Account - Not Really

We were told that getting a bank account would be a breeze. We knew we had to wait for our Iqamas to come through before obtaining a bank account, but the frustration came afterward.

Why do you need a bank account in Saudi? You don’t really. Our school pays us in Saudi Riyal, and you can go to the bank and simply cash your check. Since we are sending most of our money back to our US bank account, we’ll need to set up an easy way to transfer money bank home. The banks here allow for online banking and we could easily have our check direct deposited and then transfer the funds home online.

Jamie and I both went to the bank one day after school by taxi. We met with the Saudi manager and filled out the necessary paperwork. We gave them our Iqamas and the letter from school stating our salary. If you make so much, you are considered “VIP;” and after this story, you’ll see why that is funny in and of itself. We were told that we needed our marriage certificate to open up a joint account and that we would have to return. We said that was fine and made plans to return the next day.

Jamie went to the bank the next day to drop off our marriage certificate and was told that it could not be a copy that it had to be an original. This might or might not be true, but she told them we’d try and obtain one. Since we’ve learned from previous experiences to try and always have originals, we actually do have a our original marriage license with us, so I was able to go back the next day.

I was told that they would not accept one form that had been written in red. Granted, you probably shouldn’t use red to fill out a form, but it was the pen that the bank manager handed us. I explained that it was fine in red 3 days ago and it should be fine now. I told them they needed to accept the red ink and work it out. I was sent to another manager who told me that the red was fine… but… Jamie’s signature was wrong. Now, I knew they were just screwing with whitey westerner. I told them they could either accept the forms the way they were or I could find another bank.

Since my salary is probably beans compared to all the other salaries they see at that bank on a daily basis, they didn’t seem to concerned about me not opening up an account. I guess I showed them.

A friend helped us transfer money to home using another wiring only bank, so I think we’ll go that route for a while. It is easy, perhaps takes a bit longer, but our first wire went through without a problem.

Such is the life here in Saudi. Generally speaking, it is not a customer service oriented culture. The foreign workers who work here are very helpful, but any Saudi could really care less if you do business with them or not.

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