An Englishman in Saudi Arabia
The Saudis knew that all the ex-pat Brits brewed their own booze but, as long as we kept it inside our compounds and didn’t involve the locals, they turned a blind eye.
The MoD, though, were allowed to bring alcohol into the country in the “Diplomatic Bag” so they never had to resort to home-brew. On one occasion, a Wg Cdr buddy of mine gave me a bottle of whisky as I’d done him some favour or other. We used to work in the same building in Riyadh and I had to take it home with me in the car. I had a lovely big Chevrolet at the time with a huge bench seat at the front and I slid the bottle under the seat to hide it from view. Half way home there was a big hold up as there had been an accident on the highway and we sat there for ages not moving. Just as I got up to the scene of the accident a Saudi policeman waved at me to stop which, with a bottle of whisky under my seat, I wasn’t too comfortable about. I wound down the window and he very politely apologised for stopping me but could I possibly do him a favour and drop him off at the Malaz police station which was about a mile down the road.
I really couldn’t say no as it was on the road I was on so he climbed into the passenger seat. As we went along in the stop-start traffic, the whisky bottle broke loose and started rolling about under the seat and I was terrified it might shoot out when I braked and he might see it. After a very “hairy” five minutes with the sound of this bottle rolling about, we finally stopped outside the police station. At which point the police officer thanked me profusely for giving him a lift but then added…….”By the way. If I were you, I’d fasten that whisky bottle a bit better under your seat. If you brake hard it might shoot out and break and that would be a bloody shame and a waste of good Bells………….take care now and drive safely.”
With that, he winked at me and climbed out of the car giving me a cheery wave as I drove off.
What a star…!!
Male, 60-65, retired defence systems Salesman
Where you’re from: Lancashire
Where you live now: North Wales
Your drinking habits: Moderate