Dubai Consumer Mirror

Friday, April 11, 2008

First time impressions: Algeria

I've been travelling a lot lately... ALOT!

I've been to countries that I've never been to before. the most interesting one I visited lately was Algeria. It was my first time.

I have to say, before the trip, I had serious concerns when my boss told me: "I know its not the best place to visit, but the team in Algeria really needs your help."

"Oh, one more thing," he added. "For you to take that trip, you are required to complete our special field security training course." So, I did the whole security training, briefing, orientation ...etc and booked my flight.

Since EK has no direct routes to Algeria, I had to fly to Tunis via Libya and then to Algeria. The trip took 22hrs! But that’s another story.

Algeria Airport was nice (I think it was called Bomidyan or something). It was nice, but very empty. Anyhow, we landed at the new terminal. My airport pick up was there on time, that was a relief. Especially after 22hrs of flying around, delays, a full day of airplane food and stale duty free sandwiches at Tunis airport.

"Welcome to Algiers" said the meet & greet person. "First time?"
"Yes"
"I just wanted to tell you that we instructed the driver to take a short cut via the mountains. There might be some roadblocks because of el jama3at el musallaha (armed, extremist groups), but you don't need to worry about that......"
"What?!"
"Hahah, I am only joking with you – welcome to Algeria"

Note to self: Got to learn how to pick up Algerian sense of humor.

I learned a few more things about Algerians. And this is coming from both Algerians themselves and personal experience.

Algerians are very very proud people. I am not sure why, but I am guessing it has something to do with their history in resisting the French colonial forces and sacrificing 2million Algerians along the way.

I also got to learn that Algerians are also very conservative. Extremely conservative. So conservative, that woman never leave their homes after 7pm.

I was driving around with a friend at night. I noticed that there were only MEN walking in the streets.

Me: "Dude, where did all the women go?"
Friend: "They are at home"
Me: "ha ha, very funny. Yeah, i know you Algerians have a sense of humor"
Friend: "No, I am not joking. Most women here in Algeria do not leave homes after 7 o'clock."
Me : "Really? Why is that?"
Friend: "Because if a woman leaves her home after sunset, she is labeled as a whore"
Me : "Ok, and what if she really had to leave the house. Like to see a doctor? Her child is sick? Or attending a class or something?"
Friend: "Then she has to look for alternatives. People here think she should do EVERYTHING to avoid leaving home when its dark."
Me:
Friend: "Of course, that’s more common by Algeria's lower and middle class communities. Upper class people don’t care about that anymore, unless they are religious of course. And most of them are."

One thing I know for sure, Algeria is a beautiful country! Of course it gets dryer the more you head south, but Algiers (The capital) is just stunning. I will upload some photos once I download them from my camera.

Ciao

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9 Comments:

  • Glad to have you back dude. LOL @ the security jokes; your facial expressions would have been priceless

    By Blogger KJ, at April 12, 2008 at 12:36 PM  

  • alright, it took a month for my earlier comment to be moderated, i hope this one finds a better luck!

    Welcome back Mory, ween hal ghaybe? ah alright you've been traveling, allah ya3teek al 3afyeh!
    And thanks for the account on Algeria, very interesting. I have few friends who've worked in Algeria before and they've told me more or less similar things to your impressions.

    I am intrigued by the field security course though, what is it about?

    By Blogger DUBAI JAZZ, at April 12, 2008 at 12:54 PM  

  • KJ - Thanks dude. Glad to be back. His joke didn't really sink in very well, especially following that long trip.

    By Blogger moryarti, at April 12, 2008 at 6:08 PM  

  • DJ - I would tell you, but then you'd have to deal with our... umm.. security guys. Big guys with big guns and bigger attitudes :)

    By Blogger moryarti, at April 12, 2008 at 6:11 PM  

  • wow, i wanna visit. btw, i might goto yemen soon.. i am so looking forward to that. i never been to either yemen or algeria.. will be lovely to goto either.. but i'll try to be home by 7pm so as to not miss any action :)

    By Blogger BuJ, at April 13, 2008 at 11:03 PM  

  • 22 hours! Ridiculous. Sounds like somewhere I would avoid.

    By Blogger Keefieboy, at April 20, 2008 at 1:31 AM  

  • so i think you don`t know any thing about algeria that`s better i`m algerian i know evry thing about i just want to say that you don`t have any right to speak about my country because we are happy with our civilisation and costums we live like that since long time so we don`t need you civilisation and we don`t need someone like there
    we don`t need to make our population as a machine or as the europeen or american costums just look for other
    and for your travel of 22h i think that's your choice because we have fly any where in the world for our ladies they are for us only not for you no need you to come back

    By Blogger djebar maafa, at May 21, 2008 at 1:53 AM  

  • djaber - i think you have failed to read my post. I was actually praising your country and saying how beautiful it is.

    I think its the English. I can clearely see that yours isn't great. Like my French. Not that great either.

    Your openions are always welcome here.

    By Blogger moryarti, at May 21, 2008 at 5:35 AM  

  • Oh and by the way jdaber - the reason why it took me 22hrs to reach Algeirs from Dubai was becuase of Air Algeria. I reached tunis on EK in 6hrs. But I was held up in Tunis Airport for 12hrs because Air Algeira kept delaying its flight..

    By Blogger moryarti, at May 21, 2008 at 5:41 AM  

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