This is gonna be a tough placement, I think.
Or at least it would be tough to most people. Not so much to me, who has been inured to cruddy living conditions by half a lifetime of English teaching abroad.
My last job in the Kingdom pleasantly surprised me; I was living in a prosperous, green, seaside suburb. (There was even a Subway sandwich shop and a bookstore that sold lots of books in English.)
This is sort of a dry dusty spit of land sticking out into the water at the ass-end of the industrial area.
In short, more sort of what you imagine life here would be like.
The job has also surprised me; for all its modern equipment, it's woefully overpopulated, so new teachers don't even get desks. We also have to share about five computers, since most of them were removed due to a spate of cyber-attacks in the Kingdom last year.
The teachers are a bit younger on average than the people at my last posting, but they have that usual deranged or semi-autistic quality of long-term English teachers. Nobody I've met yet has been here long; for all the high salary, the place seems to have a high turnover.
It's take the money and run, I guess.
The place I'm staying is a cheap compound, basically a trailer park; merchant marines, Phillipino pipeline technicians, and English teachers. It has an only slightly murky swimming pool and a decent little restaurant, though, and hot water and air conditioning, so it can't be all bad, I guess.
There's also security; a wall and a couple of guard booths and a truck with a mounted machine gun. I'm sure if you went out and shook those guys a few times and woke them, they'd snap right into action and protect the place.
I'm here non-stop for the next 90 days; I can't get an exit visa until I finish the trial period. Then I get some holiday time.
Most of the city is shut down for Ramadan, but it seems to be pretty sparse. There's not even a McDonald's, though they are building one.
Right down the street from the slaughter house.
|Only slightly retouched photo of main street|
So we got a little holiday for the end of Ramadan here, until next Wednesday. I'm going to finish the first draft of GRAMMAR SLAMMER and then I'm going to teach some fucking English.