Via several e-mail chains comes today this authentic and plaintive e-mail from the United States Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Because the White House added the Saudi stop to the President's oversees trip so close to the date of departure, the Saudi government is allowing U.S. journalists to enter the country without a visa. That's nice of them. Through the U.S. embassy, though, the Saudi government insists that the White House press corps stay in the confines of their hotel (the Marriott in Riyadh) except for official events on penalty of "arrest and detention."
· Do not photograph women, mosques, government buildings, airports, military facilities, souqs, old buildings, homes or Saudi nationals. Photographs should not be taken outside of official venues and events without consulting with White House press staff and US Embassy press staff on-site.
· The wearing of attire considered appropriate by local standards is strongly advised.
· Do not import or display any drugs, alcoholic beverages, pork products, any form of pornography, or any non-Islamic religious material.
· The Marriott Hotel has an ATM in the lobby, thus no currency exchange will be available.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia