I walked into the DHL office in Ardiyah late last night. I parked my car in the customer parking at the front entrance and proceeded inside. I wanted to send some official signed documents to a bank I was corresponding with.
The DHL office was small. A counter with computer terminals was on the left and seats for six people where on the right. The counter was painted in the standard Orange and Red DHL corporate colors. The white walls where adorned with promotional DHL posters. Just above where the counter met the wall hung framed pictures of Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed and Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmed. Sheikh Sabah and Sheikh Nawaf looked towards the length of the counter in a benevolent smile as if over looking what was being sent out of their country to far away foreign lands.
On the other side of the counter was an Indian attendant. He was busy processing a letter for a Kuwaiti man dressed in traditional attire. On the seats placed at the end of the room, another Kuwaiti man was waiting for his turn. I pulled a number tag from the numbers roll and sat waiting for my turn.
With nothing better to do but wait, I sat listening to the exchange between the Kuwaiti and the Indian.
"Who is the recipient?” asked DHL, the man answered in a low voice, "Al Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud". My ears pricked up. I looked up to see what the man was sending to Saudi Royalty, it was a large white envelope with a bulge in it, as if it contained a small package. "Your address please?” the attendant asked, the man responded with his address giving the street name, house number, block number in Firdous.
"Do you have a mobile number for the recipient?” the attendant asked. The man said no, again in a half whisper. "I am sorry, I cannot send it if you don't have the recipient's mobile", the man tried to explain quickly in a low embarrassed voice that Sheikh Abdullah was well known and the DHL office in Jeddah would know where to deliver it. Can you give me any mobile number; the man pulled out his mobile phone, clicked on his phone address book and said this was the Mobile of the Sheikh's secretary, reciting the numbers as he read them off his mobile's screen.
The Kuwaiti paid his DHL charges, received his receipt and left very quickly.
The next Kuwaiti sitting near me had a big brown envelope also bulging. It is a standard process by DHL to inspect the contents of the shipment. I shifted my seat to get a side view of the transaction. As DHL took out the contents of the brown envelope, four loose fax rolls came out. They where fax copies documents that had a letterhead similar to the Kuwait Military. "What are these?” the DHL attendant asked, the man said "just papers". The attendant wrote that down. "Where are you sending them?” the man showed him a piece of paper. The DHL Attendant, oblivious to the man's attempt at secrecy, recited the paper out loud. "Hmmm, mmmm airbase, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia", the attendant slowly read. "Your adress?” the man was asked, the man answered “Sabah Al Nasser Area", with the street and block number and house number. The transaction was completed and my turn came.
As I went to the counter, it could have been my imagination, but the portrait of Sheikh Sabah and Sheikh Nawaf lost their smile and instead had a stern sad look on their face.