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."**

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Welcome Back...

This post was supposed to take a different approach...I had written a little on the plane and at the airports. Some of it good, some of it great, some of it down right poetic...(I'm sure some of it was crap too).  I had written about the emotions of leaving, the hassle at the airports, some baggage tricks I learned a little too late, and the awesome mix of West and East that I found at Dubai International...However this post will be about none of those things.

"Welcome to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and thank you for flying with us".  Those were the words from the young first officer and the flight attendants as I stepped off Saudia flight 557, service from Dubai International to King Fahad International Airport, Dammam, Saudi Arabia.  I progressed quickly to passport control found the lines reasonable and within 2 minutes, a smartly dressed professional passport officer opened an additional line.  5 minutes after arriving in line, I found myself standing in front of him while he reviewed my passport and Visa.  He thoroughly looked through my documents for about 30 sec and then looked up and in clear, excellent English said: "Did you enjoy your vacation Mr. H.?" taken a little off guard, I replied that I had, he smiled.  "Welcome back to the Kingdom, please proceed."  On to the Baggage claim, I grabbed a cart and a few minutes later the bags started flowing.  I watched as one, then two and then the third bag I was still angry about appeared.  As I grabbed them I noticed that they were in good shape...and had not been tampered with this time.  Amazed I headed over to Customs and the X-ray machine.  Again a young professional officer opened an additional isle to combat the growing lines.  5 minutes later, I was placing my bags on the conveyer.  As I collected them, I couldn't help but tell the young man, how much better this was then the time I came through Riyadh, he smiled and said again in good English, "Really?  Thank You, where are you from?"  I replied that I was from the US, his face lit up, he gave me a thumbs up and said "America Good!".  I smiled and thanked him.  I had just cleared passport control, retrieved my bags and cleared customs in under 15 minutes...Wow!

My apprehension gone, I began making phone calls and text messages, I began hearing joyful voices, both Eastern and Western welcoming me back, As my driver approached, he shook my hand and hugged me, smiling widely while helping me load my bags.  

At this point, I was smiling, grinning actually, all I could think was "I made the right decision, I'm ready to get back to work, I'm wanted here...this is going to be a great year!"

This morning, I went into work early, jet lagged, on no sleep, ready to get started.  I was welcomed with open arms and "Saudi Kisses".  I made my way to my office and found the building workers cleaning it and getting it ready for me, AC repaired and all.  I made my rounds and said hello to everybody.  I found out that the student project I never got to see before I left was finished, posted on You Tube and was excellent!  I found out that instructor reviews from summer session were very positive for me and that I had finally really found "my groove" with the students.  Check out the video below...This was their final project for the summer semester. 

I fired up my computer and got ready for a conference call with the main campus in Riyadh...and that's when everything went to shit.  I discovered my salary will be 8 days late this month, my housing allowance is already 36 days late and may not be paid because they are considering transferring me to Riyadh again, and after traveling for 24 hours on my own ticket plus baggage for a year ($1400+400 USD or SR6750) contract may expire and might not be renewed...nobody's sure yet...To say that I am "sick to death" of this company, is the understatement of the year.  I told the guys in Riyadh today that we need to have a face to face with the BIG bosses, and just lay it out...just say "look, I'm here, I'm ready to work, if you don't want me to, then lets shake hands, you give me a letter of no objection or a final exit, and I'll go somewhere else.  I'm not a slave, I'm a free man, an American Citizen and an expert in my field, you WILL NOT treat me like a child, if this doesn't work then fine, lets shake hands and part ways".  However with this company, I doubt I'll get anything but lies and back peddling.  Just a bunch of BS, until finally one day I get on an airplane and don't come back...maybe that's what I should have done this time!  This is not a problem with the eastern world, it is not a problem with Arabs, nor is it even a problem with Saudi Arabia as my airport experience is a problem with Wasta appointments and this damn company! 

Did I mention that even after all of the late salaries, late housing allowances, all with no good given reason...that I'm being docked 3 days pay for coming back "late" even though we don't have students yet, even though we don't have enough instructors, even though school will most likely really start in 3-4 weeks?  

If I couldn't laugh, and couldn't vent...I'd probably just be forced to cry and scream in frustration!  
Welcome Back!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, and thanks for reading! They never did deduct my salary those 3 days...and they did finally pay my housing...I think they just like to mess with me!