October 20, 2005

More travelogue

From Sandy:

Saudi part2

Tis Sunday, Sept 4. I am in my office. Day two at Dar Al Hekma College. Yesterday was overwhelming Ė all the new people and a new place. Actually, Dar Al Hekma college is small compared to UMD, so I canít imagine how overwhelmed new faculty must be to start there. And here, people are so friendly and helpful.

I was exhausted, but still had to do major shopping. I am the proud owner of dishes, silverware, glasses and pots and pans. More food. I might actually be able to fix spaghetti or a chicken stir fry tonight. Use the stove for the second time. Wow. Itís coming together.

Some of you have asked about address & phone number:

For mailing purposes:
Sandy Pederson
Graphic Design
Dar Al-Hekma College
P.O. Box 34801
Jeddah 21478, Saudi Arabia

Mobile phone: 966-5-61548728 (This already includes the country code and mobily codeÖ)
School: 966-2-6303333 ext 172

Compound: Ask for ext 105
Compound address:

Jen and Jake called last night. That was a thrill.

Fred, the gecko, bit the dust. I had to turn in a maintenance request form. A fellow showed up and rather than catch and release, Fred went to the gecko great beyond. An hour later I sent two unnamed cousins to the same place when they went shooting across the room. Stomp.

Had my first major ďaloneĒ adventure last night. Went shopping on the compound bus, driven by Mr. Bin. He dropped a bunch of us off at Danube. Prayer time was fast approaching so we were to finish shopping and meet at 6:45 pm. Well, I assumed we would met where he dropped us off, so with my mounds of stuff, I went out the front door, waiting beside a very busy street (5 lanes in one direction, with no lane markers). No bus. Waited for a very long time. The sun set. So, Iím there with my shopping cart and there are bars at regulated intervals trapping me and the cart from exploring more of the outside of the building. Prayers had already started, so I couldnít get back into the store until prayers were over. One lady on the bus had just returned and had been up 24 hours, so I knew I was delaying her slumber. Taxis kept stopping.

And, it is considered disrespectful here for non-muslim women to cover their heads (except for going into and out of school), so us non-muslims stick out like sore thumbs. Neon thumbs. The abaya (the black robe) is the required outer wear for all women.

Soooo. Now itís very dark. Iím on the busy street corner with memories of religious police who arrest women for prostitution if alone during the day (another incorrect bit of information)Ö. So, I pushed the cart back up to the entrance and asked my angels to help me out. I had no idea what to doÖ I just got my mobile phone and the only number in it is for my department head, Angela.

Then, appearing around the corner laughing was Mr. Bin. I have never been so happy to see a guy in my whole life. Together we forced the cart between the poles, got to the bus where I apologized to everyone. They apologized for not telling me where to meet the bus. Got home and unloaded everything.

No more geckos. Kids called. Am still watching New Orleans. So sad.

I have enjoyed your e-mails immensely. Have not found meetings or members here. Oh well.

Have Colleen Birt e-mail me at SandyPederson28@aol.com so I can recapture her e-mail address. I must have written it down wrong.

Yesterday afternoon I was ready to pack it all in, but like I said in my MFA thesis, Growth begins at the end of your comfort zone.


School: I have been given office supplies, but my office computer is half there. My office mate, who is supposed to be in tonight or tomorrow, has speakers. Thatís it. I have been assigned six classes. Two of them meet at exactly the same time. A problem which needs to be resolved. But Iím told it will be fixed and I will know my school e-mail address eventually and have an ID.

More later,
Sandy

Ps-I was going to take pictures yesterday of the magnificent sculptures and other architectural features around town. And the signage Ė however, I was told not to take pictures because I could be arrested.

And Ė did I mention the cats? There are feral cats in the compound, in fact all over Jeddah. They keep down on the rodent and gecko populations. And, Rudy, dogs are not generally allowed in Saudi Arabia. There is something against dogs in the Koran.

On an oh well note, there is a beautiful new city library here which has been finished for years but the authorities are still arguing about which books can be housed there.

Kinda sounds like the freeway extention in Duluth when I first moved there in 1973.

Salaam (peace)

Sandy

at October 20, 2005 9:14 AM