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."**

Monday, May 28, 2012

You make me feel like a whore...

I'm not really that bummed out, I just always thought that line packed a punch and at the same time rang true so often in life, and today it applies...

As the semester winds down, the cracks begin to show.  Not only in the students and the instructors, but the entire apparatus as a whole.  Large western companies with experienced professional staff even start to crack under this kind of workload, here though it looks like someone dropped an egg.  Today is a day that the College has chosen to begin the processing of Visa's and collection of Iqama's that must be traded for the passports that have been taken, mutilated and held hostage all year, lest an employee get the crazy idea to act as a free human being and go somewhere else.  We can't have that now can we.

What really happened today though was that the machine broke down.

Sure, sure it was already running slow, but now its broken.  All because one instructor is leaving a week early to pick up his family and return almost immediately.  You see this wasn't in the plan, and he's only nah...why bother?  Never mind the man has had to spend nearly 10k Riyals on the airfare.  Never mind that its his God Given right as a human being to return to his country if he so desires.  Never mind the fact that he requested permission over 60 days ago, never mind that he is overworked, underpaid and is planning to be back in time to teach summer school, never mind even that he's a fellow Muslim, administration doesn't feel like doing it, so they're not going to.   WTF?

Students have started to get results from the first week of finals and now they come to your office at first begging and then demanding extra "marks".  Extra "marks" for what?  That was my first question...Apparently they're called "consideration marks".  Its basically like asking the instructor to give you a better grade because you like him and you had enough respect to come see him first, before you went to the Dean and demanded a higher grade.  REALLY?  WTF?  Its bad enough that a 59% is passing here.  I mean in any type of US or western based health education passing scores are 80%.  79% is failing with 1 re-take.  I should know, I got a letter grade of C- in Paramedic school.  My percentage was 81%  I passed the National test on the first shot as well.  Today I witnessed a student with 3 grades in the 30's ask for "consideration"...Simply put...NO!

Passports are another thing that just set my ass on fire.  For some reason, a few companies in the KSA still follow the old law (still allowed) and confiscate the employee's passport so that they can't "run away".  They also can't go on vacation, or go to nearby countries over the weekend.  After months of bitching, I finally managed to get back my illegally stickerd, and stapled and folded passport and keep it probably because my employer refused to issue an exit Visa for local travel on weekends.  Now that it's getting close to vacation though, I need my vacation visa.  This morning, they told me no problem, give us the passport, and we'll give you the visa.  I said "no", they said "then no vacation".  I smiled and said "OK, we'll see".  How about just answering me this question.  What business does a Non-American employee have holding, bending, stapling and mutilating a piece of US Government property?  Just answer me that question, and I'll consider giving it back to you to play with again.  Until that point though...Pound Sand buddy...

These things and a few others can just really wear you down.  Today especially its these things that make me realize that like my job or not, care about my students or not, work very hard or not, want to make things better or not, well paid or not, I'm just an indentured servant.  Just one step above a slave really,  one slip too many and the master can quickly put you in your place.  There are days here when you realize that your job is not to do your job, its to do whatever they tell you to do today.  If you don't like it you can what?  They're holding your passport...they're allowed to freeze your bank accounts...they can apparently go to the Ministry of Labor and mark you as essential personnel and FORCE you to go to work.  Failure to show up could get you put in jail and eventually deported.  Money stolen, belongings misplaced, nothing but the dirty clothes on your back.  These things...well they make you realize that if you came to work one morning and your boss said get on the table and dance...well, you're probably best to get on the damn table and dance.  These things ladies and gentlemen, these things that they can do...these things make me feel like a whore...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Saudi Positives

This post is long overdue...

But as some other bloggers have recently reminded me, we all get a little negative sometimes, its natural, were in a strange place, were away from family and friends, our religion is illegal and all it takes is for one poo head to ruin the day.  So here are some of the positives I've seen...maybe we can dispel some rumors!

The Food:  Food in the KSA, despite what a compound expat might tell you is awesome.  I do not go hungry fact I gained 25 pounds and 2 inches to my waist in the first 3 months.  Variety includes:  Thai, Chinese, Italian, Indian, Filipino, American, and British.  I'm sure even more exists, but these are the big ones that I find, and they are cheap, excellent quality and delicious.

The People:  OK so Saudi's themselves pretty much fall into one of three categories "Love us", "Hate us", "don't care at all about us".  I can't really blame them, its pretty much the same the world over with foreigners, especially Americans.  For the "love us" group though, the amount of effort they will put into making us comfortable is awesome, the amount of consideration and work they will do to please us is nothing short of incredible.  The other side of this coin though is the other expats.  When I first got here, I began looking for Westerners, now though some of my best friends are Saudi, Egyptian, Jordanian, Filipino, Indian etc...I trust them and enjoy their company as much as Westerners.  Listening to their stories about their families at home and why they are here makes me realize that the world is a lot smaller than I ever thought it was. 

The Cost:  Gas is cheaper than water and approximately 60 US cents per gallon.  This has a negative as well, but for now...WOW.  Depending on what you do for fun, most things here can be done cheaply...a heck of a lot cheaper than the US.  Considering we all pretty much came here for the money, I can handle cheap, and I appreciate the fact that I can live very well for about half the cost of the US. One caveat to this does annoy me though.  As an American I often have to prove to the guy that I'm not "JJC" or "FOB" to get the good prices, they see me coming from a mile away.  (BTW:  "JJC" means "Johnny Just Come" and "FOB" means Fresh Off the Boat and neither are considered culturally sensitive)

Safety:  Safety?  Despite some rumors, Saudi is remarkably safe.  It has its moments, and most people don't believe the statistics of 1%, but even if we triple that to make up for unreported crimes and other problems with statistics...its still only 3%.  That's not bad.  I walked down the street with 40,000 riyals in my pocket once...didn't worry about it all.  The only thing that could really happen to me here is a little graft, and murder for political/ideological reasons (terrorism).  So while that sounds pretty bad, its really not, both ends of the spectrum are present, but all of the crime in the middle is pretty much non-existent.

Relative Global Positioning:  I can be at a pub in London in 7 hours, Dubai and Abu Dhabi in an hour, Egypt and Lebanon in 2 hours.  Americans love to wander, but price has kept us N. America bound for about the last 10 years...not anymore.  Europe and Africa are wide open to me!

Respect:  I've been on the Ambulance a couple of times here, and helped a man on the street after an accident.  Never have I felt unsafe and never have I been hurt.  More importantly though, I've been sincerely thanked, I mean really thanked.  12 years of Healthcare in the US and I feel more appreciated here...Islam really believes that to save a mans life and to help a Muslim says something about you, and that saving a man is equivalent to saving the world.  I could get used to that appreciation.  Don't worry though...not converting.  I wouldn't mind the US adopting that theory though.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pimps on Parade

There are a few strange and yet interesting Saudi phenomenons, this one seems especially present here in the Eastern Region...Mall cops...butt of the joke the world over, here in Saudi these guys really think they're something special.  And they are...they're the gatekeepers to the women...

First of all they wear a uniform that could easily be confused with the worlds toughest Special Forces (Is that a Navy SEAL?  An SAS commando?  A Green Beret?  Nope...its a Saudi Mall Cop who makes about SR3000 a month, has no education and sticks needles in his ass to help those muscles along...).  mall cops in Saudi are plentiful, but not for reasons you may think.  Not in order to make sure the Sunni-Shia conflict never spills over, not to ensure the safety of Western businessmen, not to ensure the safety of the people and not to ensure that the few extremist elements never get out of hand...oh no, these guys have a much more important keep men and women separate!  This "job" puts them in a powerful position...basically they spend their shift texting, smoking, drinking "Bario", and every now and again pow-wowing/hob-nobbing with the boys from the "PVPC or Prevention of Virtue and Promotion of Vice"...The "Mutt's" as I affectionately refer to them. 

These guys are completely responsible for making sure that single men (who aren't their friends at least)  stay out of the mall, where they might have the opportunity to secretly communicate with women.  And OK, you know what? Once again its not my country, if that's what you want to do,  its fine by me.  But don't expect me to ignore it.  Or ignore the fact that these testosterone needle freaks spend their entire "shift" screwing around and flirting with women or harassing the single men who were old enough to tell them to screw off at the door.  These guys love their job so much that they come in to flirt help out on their day off!  Check out their picture..."shorts" has got a total hard-on for me, no matter where I sit with my food this dip-shit finds me and says in semi understandable English "you move, family section!".  The last time he did it, I just looked at him and said "what?  mafi Arabi", he said it again, and I said loudly and slowly, "what language are you trying to speak?".  Finally I got tired of screwing with him and pointed at him and said "you show me where to sit!"  He didn't get it until I followed him with my tray and then was all sorts of embarrassed and flustered and pointed to the worker section.  I laughed and went and sat back down 1 table away from where I was sitting before.  This seemed to please him and his "guard" friends, as they all laughed and high fived each other.  "Big man, tell Ameriki what to do!" or something like that I imagine.  That was about 2 months ago, and while I haven't really pushed his invisible boundary, he hasn't had the sack to come back over to my table yet...maybe the roids shrunk it...

Friday, May 11, 2012

6 Months Down!

I still can't grow a proper beard!, but look at the waist size compared to my first pictures 6 months ago!
Well folks, its official.  6 Months ago today, I disregarded the voice in my head (and the voice of my wife...which is also sometimes in my head) and boarded a plane bound for Washington DC.  That plane took me to the international terminal at DC and from there I headed to London.  I then ran across Heathrow's Terminal 1 and just made it in time to my  7 hour "commuter" flight to Riyadh.  Its been as the GD have said, a "long strange trip", and I haven't met anybody quite as helpful in dealing with it as Jerry and the guys would have been.  That said, it hasn't been all bad either, and as silly as they might seem to some folks, as desperate as they might seem to some others, these little monthly milestones of mine actually make it even more interesting for me and somehow they give me a little to look forward to every month...This one is big!

6 months is a big one for a couple of reasons.

Obviously because its half a year...Duh!  Its also half of a contract fulfilled, half of my mission accomplished.  But its special also because its longer than I have ever been away from the safety and comfort of family.  You really don't know what they mean to you until they aren't around anymore.  6 months is enough time to go through the really bad times, grow and explore and hopefully emerge stronger, settle into a routine and even go through hard times again when your routine that was your savior at 3 months becomes dull or tedious again.  Someone wrote (during my Pre-Saudi research) that being a medic in Riyadh for 1 year is equivalent to 3-5 years anywhere in the US due to the shear amount of critical cases and the call volume itself.  I have seen similar things at some of the stations here in the eastern region, especially the one I volunteer at in Al-Khobar.  I'm going to take his suggestion of time one step if not two steps further though.  As far as learning the region, the politics, the religion the area and figuring things out, 2 weeks here equals about 2 hours.  BUT on the other hand, I would venture to say that in terms of self awareness 1 year is equal to about 3 at home.  My reasoning for this stems from the fact that if you're here without family, and your not living on a compound, there is little to do but learn about yourself.  Reading, exercise, TV, video games, shopping and food only go so far.  You eventually have to start doing some deep, near meditation style thinking.  And you won't have very many distractions strong enough to drown out your inner voice or thoughts like you would if there were access to mind altering substances such as women and booze.  Yes I said women, and I actually mean it seriously but not intimately.

A woman's voice, laughter, opinion, smell and just presence has an effect on men.  Here, it is absent.  I'm sure that makes expat wives of the world happy, but I can imagine their severe shock and dismay if they were to find themselves in the company of only women, all day, every day.  In fact I wouldn't like that either, there needs to be a balance, here there is not one. 

Alcohol is another distractor, often times used in the US to "chemically convince" yourself everything is going to be fine.  It is a CNS depressant, a sedative, a tasty beverage.  At its best it is enjoyed responsibly throughout the world, at its worst it is abused the world over.  No where though is it to blame, it is a substance that lowers inhibitions by acting on the brain, if a man when drunk is a "raving lunatic", a woman a "wanton harlot", you can rest assured that these are their truer states kept at bay by society's expectations and diplomacy.  I get tired of hearing (here and the US) that alcohol causes behavioral problems, it does nothing of the sort, rather it simply forces the person to take off the mask.  Here in Saudi, booze is least for the off compound expat.  Oh sure there is some of it about, but its poor quality, homemade, "nail varnish" and has a high methanol content making it quite a dangerous little reprieve.  For this reason, my students who do like to drink (about 25%), make weekly trips to Bahrain...something they are permitted to do, yet I am forbidden to do, remember the "golden rule" or equality tenet of Islam?...yeah I didn't think so, not here, not for "employees".  Apparently it wouldn't apply to me anyway not being Muslim.

So without these distractors, this place is a wannabe monks dream.  Meditation happens here without even trying, and I would guess that you learn more about yourself and your place in the world in seclusion than you do in a place full of man made noise and distraction.  So here's my unscientific opinion.  1 year here = 2 years self actualization anywhere else, and 3 years at home, meaning an American expat alone in London still learns more about himself and the world than he would at home, but less than he would in Saudi. 

Here's to 6 months of learning!  Think I'll hit up "Crabalbee's" and celebrate!
Handsome fella, aren't I!

P.S. Months 7 and 8 actually hold some significance to me as well...but you'll just have to wait to find out what that is!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ya caught me!

I take a lot of pictures, but I'm not much of a photographer.  I know, because I dated one once, not for very long, but long enough to know that she could take a picture of a flower and a bee and make it look like art, Whereas I'd be more likely to step on the flower, and get stung by the bee just to take a crappy picture of a sports car or something equally worthless. 

However, since I do like to take pictures, especially since I'm somewhere that once I leave, I will most likely never return, I've been thinking for a while about getting an actual camera, rather than relying on my banged up 2 year old iPhone 3GS.  problem is, I don't know jack about cameras, I don't trust salesmen, and I don't want to pay over say $250.  Even that is on the high side for me in regards to a camera considering I will never use even half of the features. 

Tonight, while doing some shopping, (TP, Pepsi, pretzels, juice and fake beer) I happened to notice that one of the cameras had been marked down.  All of the guys at the counter don't know squat about the merchandise despite their repeated claims of "very good, no problem, best model".  I decided that my best bet was to take a picture of the model number, go home and "google it".

I wasn't being sneaky, didn't think I had to be.  I pulled my phone out of my pocket, turned the camera on, approached the counter, smiled at the clerk and knelt down so that I could take a picture of the model number and camera information.  When I stood back up, I again smiled at the clerk and noticed the look of fear on his face and the faces of his two colleagues.  Their expressions perplexed me and I suddenly felt the need to explain that I wanted to do research on the model number and see what other customers thought of it.  The man quickly whispered "not allowed" in a fearful and non accusatory tone.  Now completely bewildered, I asked why not, and he replied, "cannot use camera, take picture of girls".  "But I was just taking a picture of the info card, not any girls" I said in defense.  He explained that he knew that, but that cameras are not allowed, and he gently nodded his head to the left and said "see security already knows!"  I looked over his left shoulder and sure enough a gaggle of store security had formed about 10 feet away and were looking and pointing our direction, their manager looking concerned.  I said "thank you", shoved my phone back into my pocket and pushed my cart towards the checkout and past the watchful eyes of security.  I had some choice words for them, but didn't use you believe that?  Lets just take my word for it OK? 

OK so here's the analysis, that is the stupidest rule I've ever heard of.  First of all, even if I was taking pictures of women, they're already covered.  second of all, I've seen Saudi men follow our party of westerners with video cameras when women were in the group, and thirdly students and people I've met in town tell me they use TPB for everything, they don't use iTunes, or any of the other services, they use TPB or one of the other pirate services to download music, movies, magazines and books.  I'm fine with that, none of that bothers me, but all of those torrent services also supply....wait for it....wait for it....waittttttt forrrr ittttt.....PORN!  Yep, good ol' made in California, USA HARD CORE PORN!  So stores in the Kingdom try to ban camera phones and the taking of pictures in public, and go all "code 3 security!" on me when I take a pic of an advertisement, all in the name of protecting the virtue of women...all the while you can download all the movies and smut you want...ingenious guys, Freakin' ingenious.  Some day's, I just want to raise my hands in surrender and say "get me to the airport please, I'm done, I've done all I can, its not my place to change it, but I just can't take it anymore!!!!"  Below is the picture in question, according to google shopping, both are overpriced, poorly made and have a lot of negative comments.  I apparently risked arrest to figure that out...note to self, carry a pen and paper for such errands next time.  

Friday, May 4, 2012

I want to come work in Saudi! II

Throughout this blog, I've talked about the things that I've seen, things that I've done and feelings that I've felt.  I've talked about some of things that helped me and some of the things that hurt me in terms of survival.  As I approach my 6 month anniversary, I thought it high time to mention some of the other things you might want to know before you set out.  Because when you hear the voice saying "now boarding flight XYZ non stop service to Riyadh" it becomes real, real quick.  

#1.  Lets talk about Marriage...

These are my experiences, from what I've seen and heard, they are fairly indicative of what you can expect...of course you'll ignore them...these things happen to other people, not you...right?

First off you should know that I have a strong marriage, always have.  I had dated and been involved seriously before I met my wife.  I knew who I was, and was happy with it before I met my wife.  I was happy just being by myself.  When I met my wife, I just knew.  No really, I did, I just knew. 

Secondly you should know that I don't get jealous, of course some things bother me now and again, but I just don't get worried about it.  If someone is going to cheat or betray your trust, they're just going to do it, being paranoid about it helps nothing and hurts everything.  Throughout my marriage, people have questioned me about leaving my wife alone for days on end while I was at work, leaving for a 24 hour shift, her doing midnight checks on clients with police officers (generally considered the horniest public servants known to man)  and how I could go through these things without worrying.  I always just laughed and said "if she's gonna cheat, she could do it anyway.  I wouldn't marry a woman I had to babysit".

So keeping those things in mind, imagine that when I came here, the last thing on my list of concerns was my marriage.  However, seclusion and loneliness along with boredom and high stress, have a way of seriously screwing with your head. 

About 3 months in, I began to think my wife was acting funny, about 4 months in I KNEW she was acting funny. I was going crazy with worry, with fear, with...everything! I began checking phone records, and monitoring online activity, I checked bank accounts, verified things she said she did, in short I began getting super paranoid and a "wee bit" out of control.  Midway through month 4, I really began the fighting and the arguing and the interrogating.  Probably best actually, if I'd held it in any longer I could have gone completely off the deep end.  The really funny part is that I never really thought she was cheating, I never really got upset that she was, even if she was, which she wasn't.  What I did get upset about however was that I felt like she was disinterested in me, in us, and didn't understand how hard this place could be, didn't care really.  I felt like I was losing my wife, not to another man as much as to the world at large.  In a way I was. 

Male and Female humans are not biologically designed to be alone.  That's why were not asexual as some plants are.  In order to reproduce and therefore ensure the survival of our species, (which we are biologically programmed to do!) we must be together.  Muses, Sages, Philosophers and holy men have always extolled the virtues of being alone, of meditation, of seclusion.  They claim that it helps you to hear and become closer to the voice of God, the Universe, Nature, the Planet etc...I agree and I disagree, I think it allows for self reflection but at the same time invites a form of near schizophrenia.  The thoughts in your head become "the voices in your head"; And as we all know, voices in your head aren't usually a good thing. 

So now, approaching 6 months, I can tell you that my wife and I are fine, better than fine really, stronger than before.  Was she cheating?-NawWas she acting strange?-Nope, I was.  Was She changing and growing without me?-Yup, and its a phenomenon well documented by the US military in regards to combat deployed troopsAs soon as you leave, the "little lady" has to find ways to survive without you, knowing you might die at any moment, she learns how to turn a wrench, get her oil changed, take care of all the household and landscaping duties, take care of the bills. She finds new friends some of them men, she learns how to get out of bed without needing you, how to go to bed without crying in loneliness.  She learns how to move on with life, while on the other hand, you just try unsuccessfully to push pause on yours.  So am I good again then?-For now, and now I know the warning signs of nutty behaviorI still miss her though, and still feel like she's moving on while I'm on pause. 

These are the things you should know before you listen to the voice that says "now boarding".  Money isn't worth it, world travel is overrated, and "Freedom" is just another word for "nothing left to lose" (thanks Janis J.)  

Should you come?  That's up to you. Will your marriage suffer in the short term?  Most definitely. Will it stand the test of time?  Maybe...that all depends on you and her, it'll help though if you go into it with your eyes wide open. 

I'm open to comments, I am also available by email if you want to talk about this one before or after you get on the plane.  This is a hard subject, one that many people have strong feelings about, if I can help you or your marriage at all, please don't hesitate to contact me.  Believe me, I understand the feelings associated with this.  It doesn't get easier, it just gets "different".


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Mission: Aramco...Mission Accomplished

One of our more ambitious students is doing a summer volunteer project at Saudi Aramco...Thanks to his love of the place and his initiative, he did the all the legwork and arranged a tour and presentation day.


1933 Saudi Arabia grants a concession to the Standard Oil Company of California.  This was a shocker, American oil beat out Iraqi and British bids.

1944 after a host of failures and lack of success, Oil is finally found at a well called
"Dammam No. 7"  The company continues on and the name is changed to the Arabian American Oil Company.

1988: By Royal decree the name is officially changed to the Saudi Arabian Oil Company.  (Saudi Aramco)

For more info: and for where I got my info

Aramco is the largest and most valuable company of all time.  It is privately held  It is westernized, has offices in multiple countries including the US and is head-quarted in Dhahran, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  It employs a great number of American's and Brits.  Everything from custodial staff to Oil workers, to medical staff, to Managers.  The main compound in Dhahran is huge and encloses a fully functional hospital very similar to a midsize US Army/US Navy hospital in the states.  The place might not be perfect, but it's as close to the US as you're going to get without getting on an airplane.

Weird Facts:

Most Americans might not know who the hell you're talking about when you say Aramco...but ask a Texan or Louisianan or Mississippi Oil Worker and the name immediately brings up the image of lucrative salaries, Middle east travel, offshore work and good retirement benefits that are almost unmatched in the US oil industry. 

Women can drive on the compound, even though they can't drive in the Kingdom.

Abayas are not required for wear on the compound

Western Style bathing suits are approved for use on the Aramco Private Beach, which also happens to rent Hobie Cats.  How do I know this?  Well for one thing its common knowledge, and for a second thing many of my naughtier students, even a few in Riyadh claim to have made beach spy trips to check out women from an area that overlooks the beach.  Did they really though?  I don't know, yes, no, maybe so.  The way they describe the beach is as a topless, alcohol fueled near lesbian beach party.  I seem to remember watching that "movie" when I was younger, but true or not, the beach and its famed recreation sites do exist as do the authorization of western style swimwear (think Bikini's, not Burkini's).

They have a Golf course and it is lighted and commonly used at night due to the 12 hours shifts and the heat of the day.  

They have Libraries and Schools

They have Motorcycle riding and Scuba Diving associations as well as organizations dedicated to just about any hobby or interest you can find.  They even have a radio station...Its the only one I listen too!

No, they don't have churches.  To my knowledge, the only church services you can find in Saudi Arabia are on the grounds of the different nations embassies, and they are just regular buildings converted for the service for the day. 

Even my students are encouraging me to go work for Saudi Aramco...I always respond "what?  Are you really that scared of next years tests?"

Ok, so now that you know a little bit about Aramco, lets get on with the day.  The tour had been arranged to showcase SAMSO, the medical component of the organization.  Saudi Hospitals range from total crap to excellent, the Aramco facility hits in the excellent range and is only open to critical nearby cases and Aramco employees.  Many of my students have fathers that work for Aramco and have therefore been to the facility before.  Many students only went to catch a glimpse of "boobs", yes I'm afraid 3 students told me that, which probably means at least 10 were thinking it. 

My best students, in all levels already knew the standards they would be held to if they ever wanted to work worst students already knew they would never meet the standards to work there.  The trip was most beneficial to my mediocre students, my borderline students, my students who might stand a chance if they pull their heads out of their ass and start studying.  Those students maybe saw something they want to be a part of.  Who knows.

In conclusion, it was a nice change to the normal pace of the day, it was nice to talk to a woman, covered with Abaya and Niquab though she was, the sound of a woman's voice and laugh is an amazing thing.  I'm glad that I got to see the place, I'm glad that we managed to show some of our borderline students a different world, and it definitely isn't off the chart as far as prospects go.  BUT sorry guys, I think you're stuck with me for at least another year, the college isn't perfect, but the money's good, the work isn't that hard, and there are too many students that I want to see succeed to just up and quit.  However, if any of you have the wasta to get that guy in Riyadh to stop disliking me and issue me a Visa as he as issued every other American a Visa, please do!

P.S.  I did have a few students act like idiot children, a few just began wandering off, peaking in rooms where they didn't belong, talking during others questioning, sitting in a posture of indifference and boredom during the short presentation.  I originally thought about making this entire post about them and how disrespectful these maybe 10% were.  It then occurred to me that I knew these students before the trip, they are always a problem, and they didn't act any different than the 10% in the US would have acted.  However, the problem students in the US are usually confined to High School, not College.  They're the lazy's, the whiners, the cry babies, the sally's, the babies who never got off their mothers teat.  They want it so they should get it right?  Whats funny about these guys is that unless they are unnaturally lucky, they will eventually have misfortune in their life.  They will eventually meet a bigger asshole who doesn't like them, they will eventually fall, they will eventually be revealed for what they are...Then completely failing to take responsibility at all for their own actions, they will fall to their knees and ask God why he has forsaken them...all the time failing to understand that God has not forsaken them, that he is just as present in their lives as he has always been, but that God granted man freewill, and they used their freewill to be rude, disrespectful, hurtful, and act superior to their fellow man.  Sorry guys, but you reap what you sow, and Karma's a bitch!