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."**

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Viva! Dammam

We stepped off the train and my nostrils were suddenly confronted with this not entirely unpleasant odd smell, I tried for almost 5 minutes to place it when the answer suddenly came to me-Fresh Air...I'd apparently already forgotten what that smelled like.  I've mentioned before that Riyadh is fairly comparable to New York, Tokyo, London and any other big city I've ever set foot in, and it goes without saying that those cities are overcrowded, over hurried, obnoxious and full of pollution.  Riyadh throws the extra ingredients of dust and sand into the mix, making for a real witches brew of funk that lingers over the city. The funny part is, when its your first time in said big city you adapt very quickly and don't even think about it for more than a day or two.  So consequently when you take a trip 3 weeks later, and find yourself in a relaxed seaside city, the thought of "where the hell am I currently living", "and why" demands your attention.

The driving in Dammam is comparable to an American city in a hurry while Riyadh is something more akin to a bunch of drunken rednecks who just won the lottery driving racecars around.    So I enjoyed my time in Dammam to say the least, Wow, what a city.  Absolutely beautiful, stayed at a hotel by the beach, went for a 2 mile walk along a well maintained and clean waterfront.  Watched families fishing in the evening, even prayer was done by the sea.  Everybody I talked to in Dammam had nothing but great things to say about it and really went out of their way to help us.  The city has a reputation of being quite a bit more liberal than Riyadh, and I could clearly see it.  Our hotel was only 60 km from Bahrain (and therefore a night life, beer and a movie theater), 20km from the Saudi Aramco facility and golf course...All that and a bag of chips if you ask me, whats not to love?

Staff and Students were good, I was wrong to be apprehensive, they have an extremely high level of competence and while they may not have had all the hands on experience and training that I would like to have seen, their theoretical knowledge base was excellent and their English was very good.  I look forward to visiting that campus again, and if I get the the opportunity, would take an assignment their in a heartbeat!  It helps that the Dean put is in an incredible hotel and took us to dinner our final night at a seafood restaurant that surpassed even my most hopeful expectations for luxury.  We tried to figure up the price, and we guess he paid between 500-750 USD for the 5 of us.  What am I going to do, how the hell am I expected to go back to being treated like some schmo on an ambulance when I get back to the states.

I told Kay that maybe I could get assigned to Dammam, or after this contract look for a job in Dammam and when she finishes school she could come sit by the beach with me and study for the bar with beautiful weather and no hassles for a couple of months...that conversation went quite well, and I'm dead serious when I tell you that the thought of becoming a permanent Expat has done more than just cross my mind at a jog once or twice...It's running marathons.  So who knows.  I do know this though, if you're thinking of working here and your employer gives you Dammam as an option, you would be smart to grab it up. 


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