Saudi Arabia, the country where people don’t know the postal address of their house

Today, I am going to discuss a strange fact rather a great inconvenience we come across in Saudi Arabia i.e. Houses without a proper address. If you rent a house in Saudi Arabia, it might not be having a proper address. It means that you might not be having a house number, plot number and street address. In this situation, if it is needed to receive a mail, the email address or Post Office Box is the available address. There is nothing like a postal address so you cannot get mails at your door step. The natives of KSA are quite familiar with this but the expatriates are amazed at this situation. One of the people I meet shared his feelings about this issue with me in a detailed narrative. Let me share with you what he said.[irp]

He said that “I got a house on lease and signed the lease deed but it is amazing that there is nothing on the paper that could be taken as an address. There is no numbering on the house and no name on the road. It is quite usual that people have rented post boxes and the mails are delivered to those boxes and not to their residences. Since the buildings are common without a proper address, people cannot give a proper address to their guests rather they explain the way to their homes by taking help of landmarks. You will see a white mosque on the right, take first left after the mosque then leave the first intersection and take right from the second intersection then keep heading straight and after a few miles there will be hospital, take left in the street and my house is the fourth one from your right side having a green gate adjacent to the street light, or the address is explained in a similar way.

It is not necessary to say that it causes a great inconvenience. I bought some furniture from the stores after moving to this new place. To get the furniture delivered at my place, I was unable to give a proper address. So, to get the job done, I had to write my mobile number for the delivery staff and the nearest well-known landmark. When they people reached the landmark, the driver called me and I tried to explain him the directions to my home and indeed it was a great job when both of us did not know a common language very well, resultantly I had to go there myself to bring them home.

In Japan, every building and every house have its own unique address but as the streets are not arranged properly all the times, it is sometimes difficult to find the destination.  So, people mostly depend on maps that are well prepared to have necessary details on them. I thought the same formula may work here and I prepared a map of my house, putting all the details of the surrounding area of my house and highlighted the landmarks as well. It was again, of no use. It seems that the people are not familiar with reading maps and getting helped by the maps.

The most amazing scene of the story came when I needed a landline telephone connection. I was told that I need to give my water connection number to the telephone company. I was confused because I could not understand the relation between the water supply and telephone line. Later, I got the pearl of wisdom, that the number mentioned on water connection meter is prominently displayed on the meter and it is clearly visible from the road so it works as surrogate address of the home. If you are succeeded in getting to a general location, you can track your desired destination by looking at the water meter numbers. So, if someone needs to visit my place, I will tell him the general location of my residence and will give my water meter number.”[irp]

On a very serious note, it is the duty of the local authorities to solve this issue. They may divide the cities into sectors and then streets and the buildings and houses must be given a proper number. For a country like Saudi Arabia, that is a trademark of prosperity, peace, and development, it is not a big deal to have an address for every plot or building.