No Rush

As much as I've enjoyed trying to update this blog with some sort of consistency over the last 18 months, I just can't seem to fall into a regular rhythm. This probably isn't going to change anytime soon, and although I wouldn't care to admit it I seem to be adapting to an Arab frame of mind when it comes to time.

That said, I'll be on holiday for the next two weeks. I'm journeying north for a change, and for the first time in two years I'll be seeing snow. Or at least I hope so.

See you in a few.



From Oxford Dictionary: Diversion: an activity that diverts the mind from tedious or serious concerns.

Earlier last week I was playing football with my kids because I didn't feel like teaching.

Student: Mr. S, why you get so red in your face?
Me: Because I'm hot from running around.
Student: But we run more than you and our skin not red?
Me: You're not white. I change colour when I'm hot.
Student: Oooh, like this (slithering hand gesture).
Me: Yes. I'm like a magic white chameleon.
Student: No no Mr. S. You look like him (slithering hand gesture).
Me: It's called a chameleon.
Student: No. Like snake, but he have legs.
Me: A chameleon.
Student: No. He change colour.
Me: A chameleon.
Student: No. He have eyes, they go like this (makes his fingers point around his eyes all skewed and cross-eyed).
Me: It's name is chameleon.
Student: I don't know.
Me: It's a chameleon.
Student: You say champion, I say patatas (how Arabs say potato).
Me: Alright then. At least you're starting to understand colloquialisms...
Student: ... Ok Mr. S.
Me: Good. I'm glad we got that sorted.


Nothin' Better

I’ve fallen into the habit of staying away from my apartmentover the last few months, not so much because I can’t stand my roommate (whichis reason enough), but mostly because I don’t have much to do there. Instead, I’vefound myself at the Brit’s helping out with his kids and frequenting MonkeyHangers, my local pub.  

My evening usually involves some sort of childcare, a dinnermade by the Brit’s Wife or his housemate (who is also British but twice our age),then a short walk a few houses down to the pub. I don’t mind babysitting solong as I get some sort of payment, and usually food or beer is quitesufficient. Most people find it surprising that I’m good with kids, especiallybabies, and tend to make comments like ‘I can’t believe they would leave youalone with their 6 month old.’ I don’t really care, especially because I’musually drinking while I watch these children. The Wife doesn’t seem tooconcerned anyhow.

After I fulfill my spawn watching obligations, I sit aroundat the pub with the regulars. Monkey Hangers is interesting in many ways, nonemore so than the fact that it’s a very well known illegal bar operating inSaudi Arabia, and for as closely as the Fat Man (the proprietor) watches hisdoor, there are always new people wandering in and out on any given evening.

The regulars are a fairly uninteresting group of miserable,old, sarcastic, and incredibly profane group of British men. They’re incrediblyabusive if you aren't accustomed to their sense of humor, but once you've gotten used to the usual banter they’re an all right group of people to sitaround and have a pint or three with. I don’t particularly like large groups ofpeople, especially when I drink, but this group of codgers is more than happyto leave me be at a table in the back and occasionally turn around to sling afew insults when the moment seems apt. The beer at the Hanger is a homemadeconcoction that changes its strength and flavor throughout the week, but it’sbetter and cheaper than most of the booze you can make yourself. Nobody reallylikes it, but you’d be hard pressed to hear anyone complain to the Fat Manabout it. Beggars can’t be choosers.

Such is life in Saudi.



As I have written about before, my roommate is a very simpleminded person. Nothing in his life is actually all that complicated, but his understanding of the world and how to live in it are definitely much harder than they ought to be.

One of the more luxurious (and blatantly colonialistic) things about living in Saudi is the ability to have hired help for just about anything you’d like. Anything vaguely manual or dirty is usually done by someone else, and it usually costs next to nothing. I’ve managed to take advantage of this, though not to the extent as your typical Saudi, and it comes in the form of a ‘house boy.’ Submissively gay moniker aside, my house boy is actually an old Pakistani man, who prefers to be called Bob. He cleans my apartment on a biweekly basis outside of his normal day job, but also comes around to fix things if they happen to break. Bob is one of the nicest people I’ve met here on my compound, and I greatly value what he does, mostly because it involves a considerable amount of looking after my roommate.  


Renewed Perspectives

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to meet my parents in the UAE over the course of my school’s winter holiday. It was a nice escape from Saudi and everything that had been happening at work.

I set out from Dammam early Thursday morning, driving to the border at Batha, and continued on to Ajman, the Emirate just north of Dubai. It was a fairly peaceful drive until Abu Dhabi. Then it was stop and go for a few hours. I had an interesting time waiting over the midnight hours at Arrivals at DBX, then shared some jetlagged cocktails in the early hours of the morning catching up with my folks.