Christina/ October 7, 2009/ Culture

I’ve been knowing Aldi since my childhood, the beautiful discounter market where many would like to spent their sunset years according to Willi Deutschmann, a German satirist. Back then, Aldi provided my village counting 27.000 souls with sugar-coated canned fruits, packaged Gouda cheese and above all the most delicious crisps in town. Over the years the can-in-boxes-on-shelves-discounter turned into a respectable all-rounder offering unbeatable low fares and a product range that’s impressive. Meanwhile the Aldi newsletter is a compulsory reading. For quite some time modern discounter like Aldi offer more than just bread, butter and cheese. Textiles have been part of the supply for years and lately travel offers came along.
Travel offers like tours to the Caribbean or weekend-trips to Rügen were therefore nothing new anymore. However, a travel offer to Saudi Arabia surprised me. Eight days in the desert for € 1.999. To me that seems to be quite expensive. That amount of money normally lasts for two weeks in South Africa or a cruise to wherever. Well, it includes full board and the hotels have four or five stars – all-inclusive might be unknown yet in Saudi Arabia. But what makes the strict and traditional Islamic state attractive for tourists that’s worth 2.000 Euros?

A enhanced reading of the travelogue reveals more: “be part of an exclusive and unforgettable journey!” Okay, this addresses that kind of people who definitely wants to be the first one’s in a certain place – not matter what. Therefore it does not come as a surprise that sightseeing is secondary, first-class hotels and dinners are more important.

The tour operators hint might be standard: “please take notice that places are limited. Despite of detailed planning there might be a shortage of seats due to unexpected high demand.” I wonder if the dates were all (over-)booked.

The country that owns most of the oil sources in the world seems to open up slowly but surely to new income resources. A first step towards cosmopolitanism?

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