November 6, 2008

Saudilogue 40

Yup. 40. This is the start of my fourth year here.

As a service to you all, since I noticed while in the states that the national news there doesn’t carry much international news:
• Congo erupted in violence again – 250,000 refugees have fled the rebel area. The dispute is over an oil agreement negotiated with the Chinese. The rebels believe a better contract should be written.
• Flooding in Yemen, Gaza and now Riyadh, Saudi Arabia as all areas of have too much rain.
• Worst flooding in 20 years in Viet Name, particularly around Hanoi

Meanwhile, my flight to KSA was short to me, as I took too many sleeping pills on the plane. The first one didn’t seem to work, so I took another one. Slept like a rock until just before we landed. Sadly, I do not remember getting off the plane or riding the bus to the terminal. I tuned in just before customs. I’ll never do that again. Geez.

Here, we have had three days of rain – unheard of. The storms have consisted of lots of lightning, thunder and even some rain. Parts of southern Jeddah have lots of water standing on the roads from last night’s storm.

In fact, last night a group of us was at the Green Island, a wonderful restaurant built out over the Red Sea. We were seated outside when the first band of rain came through. The ladies wanted to wait out the rain, so we ate in a light shower… then it got heavier, so we moved into one of the rooms built over the water. All the windows were open, sea breeze. It was lovely… we watched an electrical storm come ashore from far off in the sea.

THEN… all of a sudden my body felt so weird. I mean weird. I was about to stand up or ask for help, when there were bright bursts of light behind me and three explosive sounds. The top of my scalp went wild. One of the others said the lightning hit just north along the sea from where we were sitting. I have never heard such a loud series of noises. The same lady said the lightning in Texas is the same way… So, my friend Craig, who has been hit by lightning a number of times can confirm if that was a very near miss…

This illuminating even followed Obama’s win in the election. I was so happy and so were my students. Other faculty and staff congratulated all of us Americans and expressed a deep relief that America will become, again, a positive force in the world. I’ve told you that our reputation abroad is horrible – the bully nation that attacks anyone with or without warning… memories of a kinder USA are out there…

….my own included.

Posted by at 9:50 AM