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.