Sunday, January 31, 2010

Clothes Make The Man

You detail-minded types out there are no doubt asking yourselves: forget about the Russian sluts, X. What happened in the aftermath of you having to throw away an entire bag of clothing when you left Russia, due to excessive airline baggage fees? Have you been going about in only three changes of clothes, like a commoner?

(In point of fact I threw away loads of cheap clothes before I left Russia, also.)

Happily, replacing the cheap clothes -- almost all of it bought at after-Christmas sales at the Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and TJ Maxx -- with equally cheap clothes.

The nearest city -- a fifteen minute drive from our college -- is the nicest Southeast-Asian city in the Middle East, which I will refer to as Al-Filthy. Very rarely do you see local people there -- it's almost entirely populated by imported labor. Fillipinos, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Indians, the occasional Ethiopians, and just very rarely the occasional white foreigner venturing timidly from their compounds. It is devoid of chain shops and restaurants except for a Pizza Hut and McDonalds, and is a stinking, filthy, crowded, chaotic mess. The streets teem in the evening with men without much to do, spitting and smoking and waiting in endless lines at the cash transfer places to send money back home.

There are loads of cheap Indian and Asian restaurants there, and there are also loads of shops selling cheap clothes, gold, fake watches, and electronics. (I have Bangkok flashbacks every time I go there.)

My favorite shop is a Fillipino clothing outlet that sells an interesting combination of factory seconds, second-hand stuff, remaindered and unsold sweat shop clothes of various brands (including Gap, Old Navy, etc.) and stuff that I think has just flat-out been hijacked off of cargo ships. A pair of trousers costs less than $10; you can get three button-down shirts for about $8.

Much like a real Old Navy, the clothes is just kind of piled up in heaps and forced onto racks at random -- you have to dig for awhile to find the good stuff, probably making yourself vulnerable to scorpion bite and N1H1, but as it happens there's not much else to do here.

So it was no trouble at all to rebuild my ragamuffinish wardrobe of ill-fitting blue and grey button down shirts, plain t-shirts, cheap cargo pants and cotton trousers, for considerably less than $100.

So take that, greedy airlines with your high fees and pornographic body scans!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


My students for the most part are an inoccuous bunch, harmless, naive and childlike young men of 18 - 25. Their lives are simple ones -- video games, sleeping, coming to class and sleeping some more.

"Teacher, when you were in America. . . I heard. . . this animal, do you eat?"

The student drew a little circle with little triangular ears and a pig nose, and then mimed pushing his own nose up like a snout.

"Yes," I said. "Many people eat this animal in America."

Murmurs of fascinated disgust and laughter rippled around the room.

"And does it taste good?" asked one student.

I thought of the six bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches that I'd eaten in the 24 hours prior to getting on the plane back to Saudi Arabia.

"Yes," I said. "It's not bad."

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Monkey Shines

"It is awfully easy to be hard-boiled about everything in the daytime, but at night is another thing."

-- Ernest Hemingway, THE SUN ALSO RISES.

Man, I'm in a good mental state, I would say, and dealing with the lack of female companionship very well. I'm sure it's even been positive and therapeutic. Getting my head together, you know.

But it's been five months now since I've even touched a female -- and last night I woke up at 3.00 in the morning feeling like this little guy:

Thankfully, I'm taking Super Natasha to Egypt for a week-long holiday in February. Not long now.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cyber Coitus Interruptus

[7:26:10 PM] English Teacher X: hello how are you feeling?

[7:26:39 PM] Super Natasha: hello! i'm not bad today, better than yesterday

[7:26:59 PM] Super Natasha: and you? what did you do today?

[7:27:07 PM] English Teacher X: rode my bicycle, as usual
[7:27:12 PM] English Teacher X: another nice day
[7:27:17 PM] English Teacher X: but a little too cold to swim.

7:28:13 PM] Super Natasha: oh, that's good!

[7:28:23 PM] Super Natasha: try to call me

[7:28:37 PM] *** Call to Super Natasha, duration 02:10. ***

[7:29:21 PM] English Teacher X: can see you but you're a bit blurry

[7:29:27 PM] English Teacher X: are you wearing your house dress?

[7:30:01 PM] Super Natasha: yes, it's a pink house dress

[7:30:14 PM] English Teacher X: what are you wearing under it?

[7:30:40 PM] Super Natasha: do you know today is Hug Day or Hugging Day? (hug)

[7:30:52 PM] *** Call ended ***

[7:31:00 PM] *** Call to Super Natasha, no answer. ***

[7:31:54 PM] English Teacher X: well, that would be nice. . .

[7:31:56 PM] English Teacher X: try to call me.

[7:32:54 PM] *** Call from Super Natasha, duration 00:53. ***

[7:33:24 PM] English Teacher X: what is under the house dress?

[7:33:43 PM] Super Natasha: do you like my tights?

[7:33:50 PM] *** Call ended ***

[7:33:58 PM] English Teacher X: lets try yahoo

[7:34:12 PM] English Teacher X: or ICQ, do you have ICQ?

[7:41:22 PM] English Teacher X: stupid fucking connection. . . can you see me?

[7:41:27 PM] English Teacher X: do you see me on friends list?
[7:46:18 PM] English Teacher X: are you there?
[7:46:24 PM] English Teacher X: can you see these messages?

* * *

I tell you, this is worse than trying to have sex after half a bottle of vodka. A good reliable cheap internet connection is the only thing I miss about America, I think.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Way The Wind Is Blowing

So I was speaking on Skype to a guy who now works at the school I used to work at back in Vodkaberg; he says they have only four native-speaker teachers now. That's the lowest number I can remember since 2004. It was only a few years ago that we had more than ten.

There aren't however, only four teachers.

In addition to a few Russian teachers of English , there's a teacher of Spanish, one teacher of Italian, and one teacher of Chinese there now. . .

The profession of English teaching is dying faster than an HIV-positive crack whore. With a defective heart valve.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


If I tell you that little kids sometimes throw rocks at me while I'm riding my bicycle in the evening, does that sound scary?

I wouldn't say the reality of it, however, is very frightening. I live in a quiet residential area full of palm-lined streets and while riding around in the evenings, there are occasionally kids of 7 - 13 years old wandering around the streets, assumably in front of their houses. Occasionally they have bikes themselves, but more often they're on foot, and when I ride buy somebody throws a rock at me.

Not with the intention to hit me, I don't think. Generally there are no angry shouts and they never chase after me. One small rock, or occasionally a handful of pebbles, will fly by, generally coming nowhere near hitting me.

I think they're just curious. They'd probably do something similar to monkeys in the zoo, if they had the opportunity.

One kid threw two at me, however, this afternoon, so I got off the bike and grabbed a couple of small rocks and threw them in his direction. He and his younger companion bolted away.

As for the older teenagers, they occasionally scream "fuck you!" out of the window of their cars at me. Again, they don't do much else -- the first time it happened I was expecting them to run me off the road and get out with tire iron, but they just kept driving.

Somewhere along the line it's possible for youthful unruliness to become dangerous extremism of course -- I haven't encountered it yet, though. One colleague told me that a few years ago, at the height of hostility to foreigners, a group of angry local teens started throwing rocks at his house and daring him to come outside, at which point he thinks they probably would have killed him.

He didn't, and they didn't. They never came back -- he supposes the police identified and had a word with them.

And so international communication continues apace.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions

Don't you miss snow?

Ah. . . maybe someday. Not at the moment. It's 22 degrees celsius (71.57 f) and sunny most days here in January and call me a unromantic but I think I prefer that to 5 feet of snow and -20 celsius (-4 farenheit) that you're likely to get in Russia at this time.

Nine years, times seven or eight months per year of snow, rain, mud, slime and cold and wind. . . equals enough.

Don't you get bored?

So far, I haven't noticed time passing slowly. There are plenty of movies to watch and books to read, if nothing else, thanks to the Internet. . .

How's that sobriety thing going?

I must say that waking up oriented and rested and without a skull-busting hangover on my days off is pretty nice.

Aren't you worried about terrorism?

Yeah, but it's all about statistics, isn't it? It's probably much more likely that I'll get run over accidentally on my bicycle. (Of course, there's a possibility that I'll get run over on my bicycle by a terrorist, I suppose.)

There hasn't been a major terrorist attack against foreigners for a couple of years here -- let's keep our fingers crossed after this moron with the diaper full of explosives from Yemen tried to blow up the plane.

(I've done body scans and I've done the usual take-off-your-belt-and-shoes thing -- give me the body scan anyday. So somebody gets to see a blurry thermal image of my cock, who cares.)

Monday, January 04, 2010

The Love Which Dare Not Speak Its Name

Here's an email that I sent to a English teacher acquaintance of homosexual inclination:

. . . I remember reading on your blog you are attracted to handsome Arabic men -- you ought to consider the Middle East, i don't think I've ever been sexually propositioned by men so much in my life! Homosexuality may be illegal, but lacking ready contact with women, lots of guys seem to do it.

In point of fact that's probably not true, I probably got propositioned (or at least complimented on my ass) just as much when I lived in the French Quarter in New Orleans when I was in college, or by "lady boys" in Thailand. But there you kind of expect it, you know? Now I'd heard stories, but things are so otherwise copacetic here that it still rather surprised me.

But it's hardly overt or intimidating (not, yet, anyway); just overly-friendly invitations to visit somebody's house, perhaps with some atttempted leg stroking. Guys often hold hands and kiss when they meet; that's just natural for them. Being raised by a wire monkey myself, I can only envy them their comfort levels.

My acquaintance responded:

I do like those hottie Arab guys. So sexy and confident. The problem is that most of them are tops ( they want to fuck you ) and usually ( 95% ) I'M the one on top. I'm not much of a bottom ( the one getting fucked ). So if you are thinking of "experimenting" keep this in mind. Also, these guys are not gay. Any port in a storm is the norm in the middle east, if you know what I mean.

I emailed him back:

yeah, you're right -- it's hardly a lifestyle gay thing. Nah, not really thinking of experimenting, i still like tits.