Wednesday, February 02, 2011

You Say You Want a Revolution, Well, You Know. . .

Massive protests in Tunisia, leading to massive protests in Egypt, leading to changes in government and other Gulf countries scrambling to assauge their citizens by slashing taxes, subsidizing food prices, and even, in the case of Kuwait, giving cash bribes of $5000 or so to all citizens.

And here? Well, it's hard to get any impression of unrest, because I live in a very quiet suburb that kind of doubles as a sometimes would-be beach resort.

In fact, that's kind of why I'm here. The place I work is an enormous government subsidized project to provide education and vocational training to the many many young men who might otherwise turn to drugs and extremism.

English Teacher X -- your first line of defense.

Anyway, as I mentioned, there are still little kids who throw rocks at us when we bike through the working-class neighborhood (mostly cops and soldiers) near the supermarket.

I was at the supermarket last week, and chained it to the railing outside, as always, and saw some shady-looking kids, eight or nine years old, stink-eying me as they walked outside.

I kept my eye on them as I walked in and they walked out - they lingered by my bicycle. I'd been warned by colleagues that bikes tended to get vandalized outside this supermarket, so I went back to shoo them away.

Then I saw that they were waiting for a friend -- who was in a wheelchair. The kid had practically nothing below his waist.

I figured they probably had other concerns than vandalizing my bike, and went into the supermarket.

When I came out of the supermarket about twenty minutes later, my bicycle seat was gone.

I darted around the corner and scanned the area. How far could a kid in a wheelchair get? It astounded me.

I wondered if they were going to use if for something, or just dump it somewhere. I checked the nearby garbage cans and didn't find anything.

I unlocked the bike and walked it home.

A few days later I got a new bicycle seat and went to the supermarket on an evening which was, uncharacteristically for here, dark and rainy.

Locking the bike up, I considered that it was unlikely they could attack again so soon, particularly on a rainy night -- but I went ahead and ran the cable of the bike lock through the metal brackets of the new bicycle seat.

When I came out of the supermarket twenty minutes later, the bicycle seat was on the ground, dangling from the cable. No children, in wheelchairs or otherwise, were in sight.

(As far as disgusting stories with alcohol and whores here in the Middle East -- there are a few, but I'm not at liberty to divulge them at the moment.)


Tefl Secretagent said...

So first time they nicked the seat, then the second time they nicked everything but the seat?

cruel bastards!

Anonymous said...

boobytrap it next time or dump superglue on it...or do something!:)

Eve said...

I keep wondering why we don't get more stories involving alcohol and whores nowadays ... I'm guessing it's more dangerous to write about those kinds of things in the country you're in.

Anonymous said...

Look on the bright side of having bad things happen to you... At least you can write about it in your blog.

English Teacher X said...

ah, actually I just meant that the bike seat was hanging there, connected to the rest of the bike, but it's really much funnier the first way, isn't it?

Miss_igirisu said...

Gosh and I thought I had it bad here in Japan.

Paddy said...

Can we get to the booze and drug stories? Lift the lid!!