Monday, 20 November 2017

The Art of Doing Absolutely Nothing

Here's how I know I'm getting older...

Sometimes, I download documentaries on nature / wildlife / biographies, and I love staying in and watching them, on purpose. And I actually feel guilty that I don't watch regular tv that often. And I cook and clean like clock work. 

And here's a secret: I love cooking. I just can't actually say that aloud because in this environment I'm sure to be met with more than my fair share of lazy people who would be too happy to take the joy out of my life with their culinary expectations. 

Another thing: I LOVE the weekends I get to spend an extra hour in bed - the way a cactus loves water in the middle of the desert. In fact, my ultimate favourite FAVOURITE thing to do is: nothing. Even the word is like music to my ears. There is no where else in the world that teaches you the art of doing nothing like Arabia. It's an Art. Like, really.

Other less pleasant indicators of my maturity or lack thereof include: 
1. Being constantly tired. I wake up tired, I go to bed tired. I'm just tired.
2. My persistant lack of interest in anything trivial, or just anything really.
3. My inability to focus long enough to do things I love like reading: because somewhere in my warped mind I reckon that these things will only be optimally enjoyed on those days I have nothing to do - the irony being that I'm not doing anything most of the time (when I'm not working like a demon). I can't even commit to watching a movie from the beginning to the end - that's how bad it is.

Being here in the desert doesn't help - it only enables this behaviour. I'm hoping to get out of this existential slumber though - and be more productive overall. Time waits for no man and I don't want to wake up one day regretting not doing more. 

Now, if only I could bring myself to finish that book. Or do the things I've been putting off since forever.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Exit Strategies

Change is all around in the Kingdom, and you don't have to watch the news to feel it. I'm currently not in an ideal position to give my opinion on various matters, but it's been interesting to say the least.

At some point earlier this week, we were thinking about our exit strategies should anything disasterous happen. It was hilarious - mine included taking the back roads through the mountains of Badr towards Tabuk, and then swimming over the Red Sea to Cairo.... like seriously, it would be easier for me to just go to Dubai haha!

I don't think it will come to that. But I also don't think that whatever is going on is over... there's more to come ladies and gentleman. For all the media's cynisicm and the people's skepticism - I will say this (and it may surprise most people):

Judging from my experiences over the past 4 years, and bar the foreign policies and politics, this new Prince is exactly what this place needs. I recently watched a news clip about how no one believes any change will come to KSA...well, let me be the first to tell you. The KSA that existed when I landed here the first time, and the one that continues to live and breathe today are very different species. 

There has been so much change over the last few years that it's difficult to keep up. Every week, every month, there are new rules / regulations / procedures / laws. Everytime I leave for a mini vacation and return, I come back to a new place. So let there be no doubt, the Crown Prince is driving change, and driving it hard. And only the people who remain here will live to tell the tale. 

For my own safety, I will elaborate at a later time. But for now, all the changes within the kingdom are - in my opinion - completely necessary. I can see how and why certain decisions were taken and I don't see how it could have been done differently. 

It's a dawn of a new era. I'm only hoping for the people's sake that this transition is successful and that they can emerge from it stronger and more progressive than before.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Only in KSA

This was last week Friday:

He doesn't do it for free, of course not. He gets a tip - SAR10. And the Apartment is a 5 minute walk from the Al Raya Supermarket.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Deja... Something

So, last weekend I decided to go to the holy city of Makkah for Umrah (a mini pilgrimage). It's a trip that I usually make at least once a month but since I've moved further away from the Province, it's a trip that becomes more and more difficult to take. I booked the tickets a few weeks ago - calm and happy that I would be travelling to one of my favourite places soon enough. But alas, I shouldn't have been that comfortable...

The entire weekend reminded me of something that happened when I was 19 or 20 years old. I was at my cousins house party, along with my sister, several other cousins and members of our extended family as well as family friends. The night began normal enough - there was music and people in and out of the town house. There was an abundance of food and everyone was in good spirits. 

Then it happened. 

One among the extended family crew suggested we go to a club called "Juice". It was the hippest, most happening place around those days. And for whatever reason, this seemed like the best idea we've all had in ages. It didn't occur to us back then, that we were already at a pretty awesome party - we just wanted to up the ante by going to this nightclub. 

In any case, it didn't take long for the idea to fall flat - since we were all flat broke and the money that we could scrape together was not nearly enough for all of us to go to Juice. And in what I can only describe as peer frenzy, we all went about looking for different ways to get enough money to go to Juice. We searched the house and respective cars; we thought about selling some of the food we had, we thought about going to Juice and camping outside until they let us in. We thought about having the men pay - since it was Ladies night - but it was already too late and we surpassed the 10pm deadline. All the plotting and planning was utter madness... but the craziest bit was still to come.

It was another among the extended family crew who suggested that a few of the guys go to the Gold Reef City Casino down the road, and gamble the money we had already put together - to make more money - so that we could go to Juice. (Don't even ask me why I was on board with this absolutely ABSURD idea - since I was stone cold sober).

Anyways, after arguing about it for another hour, they eventually left and after waiting for what seemed like an eternity, they returned 2 hours later with no money and absolutely no way to get to Juice. They'd lost everything in a game of Black Jack. So there we were - lamenting what felt like this huge loss, while still feeling hopeful that something would transpire and that we'd all eventually make it to Juice. God we were such idiots! Haha!

The only thing we accomplished that night was that we had wasted our entire evening scheming, plotting, planning and TALKING ABOUT going to Juice and how much fun we'd have if we went, but without actually going anywhere or doing anything. In fact, we never ever made it there and until today, I've never been to the long defunct establishment. 

The past weekend I felt a similar pang of longing and hope and regret. It seemed that no matter what I did, I just didn't come out to my destination: Makkah. All plans and attempts failed and in the end, I was forced to accept defeat. 

All was not lost though - I still had a fabulous time at the beach.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

No Time At All

I found myself thinking about accidents the other morning enroute to work. I then decided that I should always sit in the middle of the vehicle in case anything happens. Fast forward to that evening, I had forgotten about my resolution and was seated by the door. All I remember is seeing a black car way too close to us & then the door bending towards me. And then a few seconds later, we stopped & both drivers stood outside screaming at each other.

Five minutes after that, they both apologised to each other, got back into their vehicles, and we drove off. No phone numbers were exchanged. No insurance details. Nothing. Just a 5 minute screaming match, and then Khalaas, we were all on our merry way. Thankfully & by The Grace of the Almighty, no one was hurt and no real damages incurred.