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Muslimitis
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ohman



Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 239
Location: B' Um Fouk, Egypt

PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 2:22 am    Post subject: Muslimitis Reply with quote

Today, more than three quarters of the villas on the compound are empty. There is a skeleton crew of defense contract teacher and trainers. The slides and swingsets sear and corrode unused in the heat. The pool is always open for lane swimming.

Those who remain have turned to television, prayer, chronic self abuse, ethyl alcohol or suitcases brought back from Thailand with enough codeine and Valium to sedate a herd of dromaderies. The few who remain go about their days like godforsaken ghosts looking for any where but here to haunt.
The stately pleasure domes have now been sandbagged and are guarded with heavy German-built machine guns, the honey dews are rotten and the milk of Paradise has soured.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12903
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 3:42 am    Post subject: Aw, you're making me homesick Reply with quote

Dear ohman,
But other than that, it's still the fun place to be, right? Hey glad you're back. So what's your excuse for your absence? Was it television, prayer, chronic self abuse, ethyl alcohol or suitcases brought back from Thailand with enough codeine and Valium to sedate a herd of dromaderies?

Boy, your post reminds me of what Ishmael said at the end of Moby D i c k:

". . . and I alone am left to tell the tale."

Regards,
Re-pat John
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shebab



Joined: 17 Sep 2003
Posts: 166

PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 4:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

With all due respect, why stay in a place you aren't happy in? The money alone can't be worth it...You know that Saudi Arabia is "culturally challenged" compared to other places. Yet I found Jeddah to be one of the most stimulating cities in the Gulf. Did you go to TESOL Arabia? There were plenty of opportunities there for someone looking for a change...perhaps it's the military setup that isn't your cup of tea.

Good luck to you...
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Mark100



Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Posts: 441

PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That sounds like Saudi to me alright.
I am fortunate that i do not work for the military and have a very good job. I also live 40 mins from Bahrain where i go most weekends.
The majority of expats do seem to have substance abuse problems and i can understand why.
However life in Saudi also offers the opportunity to embark on some sort of project like distance learning or maybe writing a book. There are many sporting facilites available so you can also get fit and if you like reading as i do you can certainly get thru a mountain of reading. I read on average 2 books a week!
If you are falling into the "pit" the best advice i can give is to try to start a project of some sort or failing that leave.
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Cleopatra



Joined: 28 Jun 2003
Posts: 3657
Location: Tuamago Archipelago

PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh my god, Ohman, is it really that depressing?
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sidjameson



Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 629
Location: osaka

PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

John,
I think I just got the answer to my question on my thread about what the general mood of the teachers in Saudi is. Shocked

OK enough about the good points. Whats the downside? Very Happy
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ohman



Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 239
Location: B' Um Fouk, Egypt

PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 11:58 am    Post subject: Xanadu it ain't Reply with quote

John, none of the above. I spend my time sending out my CV.

Cleo,
Since the bombings, many companies have evacuated families.

Every villa on the compound used to be filled with families--there used to be an overflow to adjacent compounds and a waiting list to get onto the company's. Now, bachelor status will get you three bedrooms and a yard instead of a studio.

This time last year, after school days and on the weekends, the voices of children playing carried from the swimming pool to the courtyards' parks into the yards and into the homes. There used to be funding for morale get togethers like Christmas dinners, New Year's Day parties, Super Bowl Sundays, Fourths of July, Thanksgivings and Halloweens. Bowling leagues, baseball teams, swim teams, ballet classes, Tae Kwon Do classes all met regularly.

A few wives have returned--those who have kids in university or older. But the younger families have been separated since last May. Ma Salama sales are meaningless because everybody seems to be heading in one direction--westward.

Why am I here? I remember the halcyon days and didn't think things had changed much. The money, as always is fantatsic. But now, I'll take a 1/3 to 1/2 cut in pay to get back on with a university and work a few institute classes into my schedule.

Life on a compound these days I imagine to be like life aboard an Arctic whaling ship locked in the sea ice.

I'm "this" close to walking into class eating a ham sandwich wearing a John 3:16 t-shirt to get my one-way ticket.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12903
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 1:55 pm    Post subject: Compound sentences Reply with quote

Dear ohman,
Well, I never lived on a compound during all my time there. So, for me I guess it'd be a case of - you can't miss what you never had. Which makes me wonder, if I ever DID decide to return (not a option I'm even considering, but . . . one never knows), would it seem at all different to me?
Regards,
John
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ohman



Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 239
Location: B' Um Fouk, Egypt

PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 2:44 pm    Post subject: mumkin yumkin Reply with quote

John, who knows? I am on military contract and my first one at that. I wouldn't take a uni job here because the pay wouldn't be any better than Kuwait, Qatar, UAE and only slightly better than Oman. Maybe things aren't so different at IPA or the like.

Compounds with other nationals: South Africans, Egyptians, Eastern Europeans etc still have families despite the attack last fall.

Americans seem to have as many do's and don'ts on how to go about the simplest routines as the Wahabis themselves.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12903
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 2:55 pm    Post subject: Work matters Reply with quote

Dear ohman,
Well, I'm still in contact with some IPAers who are there right now; from what they've written, I get the impression things there are about the same as ever. Although I don't really have any intention of returning - at least as matters stand now - it IS sort of nice to know that I always could, or so I'm told.
Ah, a "military contract" - that explains a lot. I've always thought that if the work situation wasn't one that a person could get enjoyment and satisfaction from, then the Kingdom would be a mighty hard place to take for most "Westerners". I never had - or needed - much "social life", but I looked forward to going to work every day. That made a big difference to me.
Regards,
John
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Leila2003



Joined: 22 Apr 2003
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2004 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi there...I agree with John....I am a single female in Riyadh and have never lived on a compound....in fact I live alone in a small housing complex...with no other native English speakers.

Ofc after the bombings, even a few Lebanese left. However, I must say that I have found lots of things to do to occupy my time....and I am a single female!! No, I don't drink and watch television.....instead I have found a wonderful balance between "desert excursions" and distance education.

Hey, I even learned how to ride a horse and hunt here!!

The trick is to immerse yourself in the land and its culture (albeit a bit closed)

Best of luck Smile
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sidjameson



Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 629
Location: osaka

PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2004 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Leila. When you are the one being hunted don't complain.
Join the 21st century. There's no beauty in cruelty.
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Mark100



Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Posts: 441

PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2004 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anybody who believes that things haven't changed much in Saudi obviously doesn't live here at the moment.
Do you realise how many security checks one has to go through everyday?
They can become a major irritation.
Mounted machine guns on armoured vehicles are outside of all the compounds.
Tons of explosives and weapons have been seized over the last year or so.
Police and terrorists have been killed in a number of incidents.
Compounds have been bombed and lives lost.
The number of westerners that have left is very high.
A lot of men with married status have sent their families home.
There is a very strong anti western and more specifically anti US feeling amongst the locals.
Saudi Arabia is at a sort of crossroads itself.
There is major internal dissatisfaction with the present system and there is a strong grass roots suppost for Bin Laden and his cronies
Time will tell what happens but the situation here is fragile.
There are some hard core people here who refuse to recognise the situation for what it is.
They are in complete denial.
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ohman



Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 239
Location: B' Um Fouk, Egypt

PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2004 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Couldn't agree with you more Mark. If this country is on the brink of reform, I find nothing that would indicate it other than some interesting editorials in the English dailies. I broached the idea of women driving in class today only because it came up when I'd mentioned I'd taught in Kuwait ("teacher, woman drive in Kuwait?")

Nobody rolled their eyes when the class Mutawa said, and I wish I was making this up, "Women who drive should be killed."

Remember that the curriculum for the Pakistani and Afghani madrassas was not developed by local steering committees.

If only the world had the collective juevos to do here what was done to South Africa to end apartheid.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12903
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2004 1:02 pm    Post subject: What's at steak? Reply with quote

Dear sidjameson,

"Leila. When you are the one being hunted don't complain.
Join the 21st century. There's no beauty in cruelty."

If you're a vegetarian, please ignore the rest of this message.

I'm not - and have never been - a hunter. Personally, I find the idea of killing animals for sport to be a very unappealing one. However, I go to supermarkets and restaurants and I buy and eat meat. A little reflection made me see how hypocritical it would be for me to condemn
those who hunt when I consume the end products of a slaughtering process that is probably far more cruel than anything most/all hunters engage in.
And where, I wonder, do we draw the line? Is it killing only nice, friendly, dangerous or cute forms of life that's "cruel"? Ever slap a mosquito or step on a c o c kroach? Sometimes I wonder if perhaps the Jains may not be right:

http://www.cs.colostate.edu/~malaiya/jainhlinks.html

but that hasn't so far stopped me from ordering chicken marsala, buying hamburg, swatting mosquitoes and stomping c o c kroaches.
Regards,
John
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