Now and then I must leave my cubicle and travel. This time I'm heading out to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where I'll spend the next week or so hip-deep in Matters of Official Concern. As the saying goes: "what happens in the Kingdom, stays in the Kingdom." Or maybe that's Las Vegas. Someplace with lots of sand, anyway. Still, I'll find something to report back about.
The Kingdom is a quirky place, to say the least, but I've come to like it. Although I went there for the first time only fairly recently - in 2003 - I've visited often since then, as many as four times a year, and for up to a month at a time. Moreover, due to the nature of my business there, I've spent almost all of that time traveling about outside U.S. official premises and working with more-or-less average Saudis (average for those who work in the oil sector, anyway). The place and the people are starting to make sense to me by now.
While traveling, I like to read books that were written in and about the place I'm visiting. On my last trip to the Kingdom I re-read Seven Pillars of Wisdom, T.E. Lawrence's memoir of the Arab Revolt. This time, I'm still searching for an appropriate book. By sheer chance, the book up next in my normal reading rotation is A Monarchy Transformed. Even though it's about 17th century Britain, I won't take that one along lest the title be misinterpreted.