Working for the Royal Saudi Family: The Palaces
|.||..||If there ever was a time I got to relax a little, it was when we stayed at the Royal Palaces. In addition to private homes, The RSF owns palaces that they share with other members of the extended family.
In a way, the palaces are like private hotels for the family; a reservation is required and they are fully staffed. That fact really took a tremendous weight off my shoulders because the security, cars, food, and everything else was already in place. In Paris, for example, this allowed me a little time for sightseeing.
If you ever saw the George Clooney/Matt Damon movie named “Syriana,” you’d know that the RSF likes Marbella, Spain; yet another location of a palace I visited. I rather enjoyed that stay because Marbella is like a European-style Beverly Hills of sorts, except on the beach – nice!
If you ever get the chance to work for the RSF, here is a short list of other traditions and customs you may consider:
- The Muslim Call to Prayer (adhān) is 5 times a day, which means they must face Mecca (a city in Saudi Arabia that is the holiest site in Islam) and pray. This takes place at specific times of the day.
- They have a strong oral tradition that goes back to the ancient Bedouin times. Therefore, they like to sit and tell stories. Sometimes while smoking a hookah (a large floor-standing smoking device about 3 feet tall). This can take hours.
- When in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, most Westerners stay in upscale compounds (mini cities that are self-contained like a college campus).
- It is not uncommon for women to be covered from head to toe.
- Sometimes at dinner the food is put in the middle of the table and everyone eats with their hands. Additionally, in some homes and restaurants, this would be done while seated on the floor.
- Depending on who you work for, you may be asked to sign a non-disclosure (confidentiality) agreement, as well as submit to a background and credit check.
Although I did act in many business capacities for the Royal Family, my job was primarily what we refer to in the business as “Lifestyle Management.” On that note, let me address some of the typical definitions that are often used in this business.
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