Saudi Arabia: What DO American Bedu Readers Really Want?

While I am recovering from recent procedures I thought this would be a good time to reach out and ask American Bedu readers what  do you want from this blog?

I started this blog in 2006 and I now take enjoyment in knowing American Bedu can be a “one stop information service” for anyone wanting to know about customs, cultures, traditions and overall life in Saudi Arabia.

Since I have been writing the blog for six years it can be easy for me to either become jaded or simply accepting of some of the culture or customs one may observe in Saudi Arabia.  As a result, I may fail to write or address the issue unless YOU bring it to my attention.

Furthermore, this blog is here for YOU so I need to know what you want.  What do you want to see more of?  Less of?  What should be added or taken away?

Since the death of my Saudi husband, I had stopped writing the weekly Arabic language posts.  I also stopped the monthly Saudi quizzes because the web platform I had used for several years decided to charge for people to place quizzes on their site.  I didn’t think that was a fair exchange!

One thing I have been considering for American Bedu blog is to have each post in English and Arabic.  However, in order to do so, I would need a volunteer(s) fluent in Saudi Arabic willing to translate posts.  If you are able to translate and would like to do this, email me at

Should I have more or less opinion polls?  More or less interviews?  More or less videos?

Last but certainly not least, what keeps you as an American Bedu reader returning to the blog?  What is most informative or helpful to you as a reader?  Do I post too often with daily posts?  Why or why not?

Do you think American Bedu overall gives a balanced perspective of Saudi Arabia?

I look forward to your responses.

Carol Fleming (aka American Bedu)


25 Responses

  1. about me !!!
    i would like to see more and more of interviews !!! >>> ” i hope i’m not asking for much ” but i wish i see on Americanbedu an interview with Bruce fenton the managing director of Atlantic Financial Inc.
    he is the most interesting expate i’ve ever seen in KSA !!!

    interviews with many different people and about many different subjects !!!
    thanx Mrs. Fleming

  2. While I get all sorts of information via your blog, what I most like & what is most helpful is the ‘life in general’ in Saudi Arabia. The other day you posted information on group travel packages in and around KSA – I wouldn’t have known it existed without your post. It’s the *little things* that help so much. The shopping/mall information page I refer back to often, for example. So that’s the sort of stuff I look for on here. Thanks again for all your work on this blog!

  3. Carol,

    I have always liked the interviews that you do. I have been on your blog a little over six months, so I don’t know whether you have already interviewed the ones I am going to suggest:

    Radha’s “F”
    Sandy (from jeddah)

  4. Not sure you need to post anything in Arabic since all the readers know enough English to understand the points.

  5. American Bedu,

    I like your blog “as is”. I wouldn’t change a thing. I love the variety of articles that you put on. Thanks!

  6. I would like to see more interviews, more posts on general life and culture in KSA and the region. I would like to see just a little bit less on some of the religious aspects because then the posts seem to get taken over by comments of people trying to prove who is right and who is wrong (e.g. why atheism, christianity, islam, etc. is the “right” choice). I don’t like watching videos nearly as much as I like reading, but a lot of other people seem to enjoy the videos. I like hearing about newsworthy events in KSA and the region, too.

    I like the daily posts because there are usually a few I’m not interested in and a few I am really interested in each week. I love checking just to see what the daily topic is.

    It might be nice to hear more about the history of KSA and past civilizations.

    I think the topics of each post are fairly well balanced, but I wouldn’t necessarily say the same for the comments- which is fine. The whole purpose of the topic is to start a discussion where people can talk about it and they might take opposing opinions.


    If Carol was able to post in English and Arabic, we would probably end up with more Arabic speakers commenting on the blog. I think that would be a good thing because it might help bridge cultural misunderstandings and miscommunications.

  7. I got attached to ur blog because of the wide variety of info it offers. I’ve been living in riyadh for 4 years but u’ve gave me great insight about the life here cz i truly don’t know much. U make me feel that life is normal here while i don’t often feel that. Thank you!

  8. I like that there is a new post nearly every day. Keeps me coming back to see what the topic is. Thanks!

  9. Carol,

    It would be ideal if you could instigate debates & discussions to bring about environmental awareness. At the moment no one has attempted to champion this topic although most ex-pat see this as the lacking element of urbanisation gone without appreciation.

    Articles, reports, publication and media covering etc to curb fanaticism, intolerance, corruption, apathy also to encourage national pride, Love and Respect, Open & Honest behaviour. Awareness of the fact that God loves people and look at their heart and charitable behaviour with delight rather than location, …..

    If one fell ill and unfortunate, then search wisely to find the cure but refer to God to find the strength and stamina you need to fight the evil disease.

    In general, inspirational tips to get along, face the music and tackle the Bull by the Horn; no attempt to brush aside the shocking realities and statistics of the today’s urbanised living such as youth’s expectation, their view of life, anticipation, perception, behaviour, drug and many more.

    With regards to Motivation (link below) – let’s learn from such handicapped person what it takes to appreciate life in good health and full fitness.
    Nick Vujicic on the uTube.

    Inspirational – Nothing can hold you back in life accept YOU Yourself….

    By the way, there are numerous Groups and Societies in KSA like British Business Group (BBG) whom would love to know about your Blogs. They usually have monthly presentations, gatherings and seminars that could be of a mutual interests too!

    If practical, its nice to see a forthrightly or at least monthly scientific debate or informative publication e.g. regarding advancement of the Nano Technology. The KSA is one of the 27 member States, invested to promote advancement of the technology; surely there will desire to share publications / presentation to justify their existence.

  10. Carol, I think you provide an important window of understanding into a unique culture. You share your own fascination with that culture, plus, you are a very interesting person yourself. I respect your humility, yet I trust your instincts. You would not have this many hits if you needed people to tell you what to do!

  11. You know I would like some understanding into the Arabic language and the range of meaning for Saudi’s. Also if anyone knows an excellent forum for learning Arabic that would be great as I understand that Rosetta Stone is really more for reading the Koran verses everyday language skills, not really want I want to learn for everyday practices.

    I like the blog the way it is.

  12. Bigstick,

    I used Rosetta Stone in addition to formal classes before I moved to the Kingdom. Rosetta Stone is an excellent medium to learn the language. State Dept uses it for many of its employees.

  13. AB:

    Nice to know I was intending on getting it and stopped when I found out that many people could not converse in Arabic as it was considered to formal and they were laughed at by native people of the language or just didnt understand it as it was too proper and sound jumbled. So, I thought it would be better to wait. Do you know of any online courses that are good for beginners that would actually allow you to converse verses how to have an outdated or proper version of the language?

  14. Bigstick, you’d probably have to learn a dialect if you wanted to converse without sounding too formal. From what I understand, all Arabs write in the formal language and politicians and journalists use this so you’d be able to read Arabic sites and papers and understand, but the variety of dialects makes it that some Arabs cannot understand each other. My Syrian friend said he doesn’t understand some N. African Arabic. I’ve heard people say it’s like the difference in Italian and Spanish yet for Arabs it’s all Arabic.

  15. @bigstick1,
    When I researched it a couple years ago, older editions of Rosetta Stone were teaching MSA while the latest edition was classical.

    There are many books out there. My advice is get a good book that teaches arabic letters, and a second more textbook-like one that will teach you words, grammar, etc. Learning to write from books does help, but if you really want to learn the language you need to find native speakers to learn from. Or at least, that is my recommendation. It’s a lot easier for me to learn simple vocabulary from being around non-English (or limited English) speaking Arabic speakers where I am basically forced to converse in Arabic or use hand gestures. However, I haven’t been able to do this much. “Use it or lose it” is very true for languages so keep that in mind.

    I find it is easier to understand arabic if I know the basic alphabet sounds because if I don’t know how to write or pronounce a word, I’ll just ask, “Is it this letter or that letter?”

  16. @Susanne & Bigstick,
    Recently, when I tried to learn again, I had problems because of the people I was hanging out with spoke 2+ different dialects plus MSA. It was beginning to make my head hurt! So while it is possible to learn more than one at a time, I would recommend starting out with one dialect plus MSA.

  17. Hi Carol,
    Just a quick not to say Hi. Hope you are up and about soon.

  18. Rosetta Stone is my suggestion as well.

  19. Nick Vujicic: A true story of inspiration and hope for the world. Hope… A man filled with joy against all the odds yet he finds sunshine even in the cloudy days. May Allah, be blessed for His kindness and Mercy in all things.

  20. I am talking to Samer now by Skype and asked about this, he said all Arabs understand the formal language and this would be what a language class teaches. To learn a dialect, make a friend. But then you might only be understood by others who speak that same dialect unless it’s a popular one (the Levantine and Egyptian ones seem well-known since a number of TV shows come from these regions…so I’ve heard.)

    When we were in Syria, we met a Scottish student who spoke the formal Arabic very well. (Her major was Arabic and French, I think.) She conversed well with the locals even though it wasn’t the Shami dialect.

  21. Thanks. If anyone else has suggestions let me know.

    @Strangeone: That was my understanding is that Rosetta is teaching classical rather than formal. That is my hangup on getting it. Suzanne my understanding is to learn the Egyptian dialect as it is the most used.

  22. I have found the blog useful just to learn about various aspects of the culture, attitudes and current stuff in KSA. Interviews with Saudis not ex-pats., would be interesting but that’s not prime to me: I can go elsewhere for other people’s opinions.

    Maybe Carol, to get the top 20 or 25 blog posts that you feel are representative of the best stuff from you and relevancy of topic, to have them translated in Arabic.

  23. @bigstick1:
    Supposedly, the Lebanese and Egyptian dialects are the most widely understood due to television. However, just to let you know a lot of my Arabic speaking friends laugh at the Egyptian dialect as some of the Arabic letters are pronounced differently in the Egyptian dialect when compared with others. I would recommend learning whatever dialect you’ll use most often. Be aware that there are some Arabic “dialects” that are mixed with local languages, making them hard to understand even from people in a different region of the same country. Some countries, such as Lebanon, will mix English and French into their everyday “Arabic”.

  24. The words “I am recovering” made me fill so good. You take care of yourself, Carol. Continue to do the things you do so well and to be an inspiration to all of us.

    As to your blog and what to write about – that’s a toughie. You cover about everything except sub-particle physics and sex among lemurs. Just keep selecting the great variety of eclectic topics that you pull from “I-don’t know where”. Diversity is good and interesting.

    I agree with EA and Strange1 – the interviews are great.

    Just got back from a hard trip to Brazil but unexpectedly ended up in the third row of an Andre Rieu concert. T’was nice and fun. Did have a chance to meet the goattee ‘d tenor and complain about nobody drinking in the ‘Drinking song’ (from the Student Prince). He looked at me like I was crazy!

    Yeah, write about foreign shows in Saudi Arabia (classical music with both men and women playing or singing). Would an Andre Rieu show fly in SA?

  25. I am so pleased by the wonderful feedback I have been receiving. Believe me that I have taken suggestions to heart and am optimistic that readers will be seeing some posts they will enjoy based on requests.

    On the personal front, I am recuperating well. 1 procedure down and 2 more to go!

    Thank you, each and every one of you, for your support!

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