Read Me/Disclaimer

Read Me/Disclaimer: This is a non-political/socio-political blog. It's a running tale of my Saudi Arabian adventure, great, good, bad, and ugly. It is uncensored, and I don't really care what you think of it, read it or don't. I don't care. I did not decide to do this as a means to an end, but rather to document the means with which I occupied my time while waiting for my end... All that being said, I'm an American Expat in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The opportunity to help build this system and the salary that accompanied it were to good to pass up.-Geoff

"The views presented here are just the views of some asshole named Geoff, they are not necessarily the views of my employer, my co-workers, my family or anybody else. First hand knowledge and second hand accounts were used to compile the information. These are not scientific facts and figures. These views are not necessarily supported, endorsed or even appreciated by the KSA the USA or any other country for that matter and the author makes absolutely no claim that they are."**

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Midnight Train To Georgia (well an early evening train to Dammam actually)

I usually write all my blogs after the fact, but have a rare opportunity for live chronicle today.  I'm writing this while were on a train from Riyadh to Dammam, looks like it's going to be about a 4 and a half hour ride, right now were headed out of the city through some of the parts of Riyadh that I've never seen before (which isn't surprising considering "Riyadh proper" occupies some  600 sq miles and houses more than 5 million people.  We just left the first class lounge and are now sitting in some of the nicest seats in first class.  When they scanned my ticket and passport at security, the guard said "oh American, Welcome!"  He then yelled for a porter who told us to follow him and he whisked us through security without even a stop at the metal detector.  The X-ray machine looked like it was from the 1970's and was being repaired anyway, it didn't scare me nearly as much as the Fire Hydrant anyway, 2: 1 1/2 's and 1: 2 1/2.  That is hardly adequate to supply a truck fighting a fire in a building of this size...(I know, I know, I'm a nerd).   Officially were headed out to one of the other campuses to give a "seminar", but were actually going to ensure that the students have been taught properly by their current instructors, and to recap a little of what they already know, and then examine their practical skills…After what my class put me through today, I'm not all that optimistic. 

We just came out of Riyadh and are now in the real desert.  Red sand as far as the eye can see, dotted with scrub brushes,   and small trees.  Mesa's and plateaus in the distance, small foothills that shelter small family farms and villages in our foreground.  The scenery looks remarkably like every movie about humans and Mars made in the last 20 years.  Something about this feels very much like a Arabian desert themed rollercoaster ride through an alternate universe, Disneyland in the "SaudiZone" maybe.  If 29 palms had railroad tracks running through it, out by dry lake or any of those training areas it might look like this, NTC at Ft Irwin too.  What may be the strangest through is the occasional infrastructure way out here, wadi's are culvert-ed and their bridges paved, roads appear to be maintained even though they aren't paved.  It's kinda cool, but kinda creepy out here. 

Food:  I don't believe there is a dining car, but the food cart came around and we just paid 3 SAR for a Juice, a bottle of water and a coke (3 SAR /3.75 = 80 cents USD).  I was seriously contemplating a tuna and cheese sandwich, but good old American "foreign food cowardice" got the best of me, most of the tuna here is imported from Asia anyway and says on the label "In Heavy Oil" or in "Brine".  Yeah…gonna have to say a big old no to those. 

It's starting to go dark now,  which is to say it should be pitch black in a second.  I'm not sure why it gets dark so quickly here…Come to think of it, when I get an Internet connection back, I'm going to have to look that one up, were near the Tropic of Cancer if I'm not mistaken, maybe that has something to do with it…

90 minutes out of Dammam…Driver should meet us at the station.  They probably told him to hit his thumb with a hammer as hard as he can, when he see's the two guys who look similar…"well that’s them". 

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