July 17, 2006

Saudilogue 24

I think I started this before and can’t find it. It is July 15th. I leave for the states on the 27th = wow, 12 days from now.

The conflict north of here is very sad and very out of control. I am not afraid for me, but I now have friends all over the area. Huda went home to Beruit. My dentist is in either Gaza or the West Bank. A colleague planned a wedding in Beirut for July 26th. So much for that. My office mate is from Lebanon but I think she’s in Canada right now. Another colleague is from Lebanon but is in Brazil right now.

On the local front – 4 more days of classes, turn in grades, process the clearance forms so I can get paid, then head home.

The construction north of the compound, it turns out, is not just for any princess, but rather the widow of King Fahd. Or so I’m told. We’ve been thinking that when she moves in, we should do the neighborly thing and take over warm rolls.

I have one more trip to Balad, the major souk in the old city before I come home. Goodies. Sandy’s sleigh.

I look forward to seeing lots of friends and family. My garden probably needs major attention. I really look forward to meetings as I am getting very fuzzy around the edges.

I have taken more photos of Jeddah and the statuary. I am giving a talk at the VDIL on August 1st inshallah on teaching graphic design in Saudi Arabia. Amazing Saudi sweets will be served. Yum.

So, hang in there. I will do the same. See everyone soon.


Posted by at 9:09 AM

July 6, 2006

Saudi 23

June 2, 2006

Friday afternoon. Tis hot and humid… low hundreds…

Two nights ago I attended another dinner playhouse event. The play was called Bouncers – a British play about pubs, drunkenness and sexuality. The thick British accents and pub slang made it difficult to follow and some of what I did understand was disgusting, taking me back to the not-so-good old days, as they say. The ladies sitting next to me were appalled and my friends David and Maggie were less than enthusiastic.

I went to bed feeling yucky. Then I thanked HP for the best meeting with multi-drunkalogs. A great reminder.

The next night I went back to the same compound for a Scottish Kalee (misspelled). The food was stupendous and the dancing was wild. There were Scottish dances to learn (sorta did that) and then regular rock and roll. I realize I have done more dancing since I came here than I have in the past 25 years. If I did the dancing thing every night without taking in so much rich food, I would tone up and lose weight. Oh well.

The biggest part of the evening was real you know what. So, I was very glad to have seen the play the previous evening. I told one fellow who kept offering me liquid refreshment that if I did that I would re-act the previous night’s play. He laughed, but I was dead serious.

The westernern/whitish expat community in Jeddah is very small. When going to one of these events, one sees all white faces. I think only one or two of us is American. Most are Brits, South Africans, Irish, New Zealanders and Australians. It seems so foreign to me because the environment I live and work in is so different. But, after a while, I begin to recognize familiar faces, even if I don’t know who they are.

When I first moved to Northern Minnesota I wondered where everyone went. Chicago is multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural. Where were the Hari Krishna people? Everyone was white with blond hair… gee.

I was pleased to learn that Saudi Arabia is also blessed with great mineral wealth which has never been developed. They are starting to do that now as oil’s future dims.

Saturday night I am one of the jurors in a photography competition at the Saudi Natural History Society – which has also been an interesting group.

Almost July 1at.
Just watched Germany defeat Argentina in the world cup.

Spring semester is concluded and summer classes 25% done. This is my first experience with the expat year end. Of the four of us who came over this fall, one is already gone and another chose not to stay for next year. Of the 4 who were here (Americans, this is) when we got here, one is already gone, two are leaving, with only one coming back next year. The compound is clearing out. One family of South Africans moved to Dubai yesterday. My Scrabble buddies are gone until fall. Quite a few of the other ladies who worked on staff are gone, also, so the compound is getting very quiet. A few new people have moved in, including the family from Scotland I met through these Saudilogues. So everyday someone leaves. It is kinda sad. Some I won’t see again and others it is just summer holiday.

My friend Maggie says that here we learn how to make friends fast because often you don’t see people again or since time is limited, one must develop the ability to decide who will be good friends and who won’t very fast.

With Spring semester done and summer underway, I spent quite a bit of time bobbing about the pool without feeling guilty. I’ve started packing myself for the journey to the US – to happen July 27.

Politically, I am distressed that Israel has launched such a severe reprisal against the Palastinians in order to secure the release of the kidnapped soldier. 10 to 1 the guy is already dead. But blowing bridges and the only power plant negatively impacts millions of people who are already undernourished. Even CNN Hong Kong talks about the hospitals in Gaza which have no medicine. Just like Basra in Iraq. There is no money to rebuild the bridges or the power plant. The headlines in one of the English speaking Saudi newspapers was: Crimes against Humanity. War never solves anything. This is very sad. All this does is polarize the area even more.

So, I’ll see y’all soon.

My daughter is planning a party for August 12th at her Dad’s place in Moose Lake. It is a combination graduation party for her and a hello and maybe good by party for me. Let me know if you want to come.

S of A

Posted by at 11:30 AM