Friday, September 23, 2011
Funny Stories About The Middle East...?
Drop a hard-drinking, womanizing English teacher in a country in which both things are completely illegal?
Sounds like a recipe for hilarity, right?
Well. . . .
Thing is, if I wanted to drink and womanize, I would have stayed in Russia, or gone somewhere fun like Brazil or Thailand or whatever.
Some of my colleagues here go to Bahrain or Dubai frequently; spending $300 or $400 in a weekend kind of moots the point of coming here to save money, in my opinion. Why come here at all, if you spend a huge chunk of your salary leaving every week.
(Now, of course -- we have week-long holidays about every two-three months here, and I always take a nice vacation with my Russian chick on those.)
I don't live in, or near, a compound where there are any females. I've heard of high times at the compounds, but I saw a couple of parties inside compounds back in 2009, and I feel I can safely apply the "sausage fest" joke even in this country, where pork is illegal.
(Once you've been to a few Russian nightclubs that are 70 percent women, something like that can't help but feel like a bit of a time-waster.)
The place I work is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, but next to an attractive beach area. (Although it's way too hot here most of the time for most people to enjoy the beach.) A lot of my colleagues are married guys here with their families. People tend not to socialize much, outside of the school, although I do occasionally eat dinner with colleagues.
Alcohol is available -- mainly in the form of bootleg "sidiki" which is a toxic mess of methylated alcohol. I've seen the unfortunate results of drinking too much of that; one teacher went berserk on it (somewhere upstairs in the faculty residence here) and punched another teacher in the face.
He'd been losing it, quietly and not so quietly, for a while; he'd begun coming to class late, not showing up at all, coming to class red-eyed and stinking of alcohol, etc, stuff that would get you fired even in Russia, these days.
Far from being executed for this, however, he was quietly let go at the end of his contract. (I suspect nothing worse happens in cases like this because the administration here would have gotten in trouble if they let THEIR superiors know that such things were going on here.)
(Not for nothing, he was the youngest teacher here, at 33. Clearly this is a place for the Golden Years, because when you combine the Fire of Youth with the desert heat and emptiness, nothing good will come of it.)
There's plenty of sodomy going on around the Kingdom, apparently; colleagues have been spotted in public with Phillipino 'friends.' If kept low-profile, nobody kicks up much of a fuss, but there are tales of a teacher who got fired for being less than circumspect about the constant stream of young men visiting his apartment.
(I'm happy to say my personal Gay Stalker has never bothered me again, although I think I did see him drive by in his car a couple times.)
Guys make their own wine; I haven't had any recently nor have I tried to make any. (Because mostly I found when I tried it that it just made my head hurt and gave me a stomach ache.)
Guys smoke hash in their rooms and plop in front of the TV to watch downloaded movies; I can smell the hash in the hallways. It's never been a favorite thing of mine, hash and marijuana. But it doesn't sound so bad, does it?
So it's hot, and it's empty, and there's no social life at all -- but I have filled my time with a variety of projects and haven't been bored. Or rather, perhaps I'm enjoying being bored.
It always feels like I just finished a vacation, or am about to go on a vacation; and waking up not feeling like you're about to puke and die is actually pretty pleasant.
So for a middle-aged man, this isn't a bad life, as long as you can entertain yourself in a suitably non-destructive sort of way. Some guys study for Master's degrees or PhD's online, for example. (I've been too busy studying kung-fu on YouTube for that.)
But yeah, if you're in your twenties or thirties? I can't say I recommend this life, unless you're really deeply in debt or something.