Arid Letters

The Diary of an English Teacher in Arabia

Pictures of the New Apartment

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I am finally moved into a nice apartment in a good part of town.  We are close to the mall, although it is a family mall that mostly sells women’s clothes, so it doesn’t have a lot to offer us.

Unless we want love themed stuff.
Seriously, these stores sell nothing but groovy lights, teddy bears, and hearts – most of them emblazoned with the word “Love.”  And in typical Saudi fashion, there’s three of these stores right next to each other.
Oh- and if we want clothes with handlebar mustaches on them, they’ve got those.  Mother, guess what you’re getting for the holidays?
We’re also really close to a huge  produce market.
By the way, I’m talking about “we.”
This is my roommate, David.  He’s another teacher.  He’s from Los Angeles, and he’s pretty cool, except that he spent the last two years teaching with the Peace Corp in South Africa, in a mud hut way out in the bush.  So sometimes if there’s a delicious looking bug, he asks me, “You gonna eat that?”  He’s really good at eating rice with his hands.  Also, he smells pretty good for a guy who presumably isn’t bothered if he doesn’t have anything to wipe with after pooping. I haven’t asked him about this, so it’s pure speculation.  Seriously though, I couldn’t have gotten more lucky then to teach with this guy.  And, ladies, he’s single.  And of course, since we’re living in small town Saudi Arabia, he’s completely desperate.  I’ll forward him any fan mail you might want to send.
Saudis find shower curtains completely unnecessary.  This seems really barbarous to me.  They just let the water go all over their bathroom floor, which I guess they think is o.k. because it dries up so quickly here.  At least in our apartment, we’ll just get shower water on the floor, and not bidet water on the toilet seat.  This is a big issue in public restrooms, and the reason why I often hold it all day until I can go at home – because public restrooms are gross.  But not our restroom!  Right David?  David agrees.  Ladies, did I mention he’s single?
Our apartment has a couple small balconies, which is pretty cool.
They have a great view of the city.  As you can see, we’re really close to a mosque, which means the calls to prayer are pretty loud, but we don’t mind.
I kind of like waking up at 4 a.m. with the first call to prayer.  It makes me feel really good to know that, while others are praying, I’m in my boxers, drinking tea, reading poetry, and surfing the Internet – in my opinion, these are the only things that a well adjusted person could IMAGINE doing at 4 a.m., but I have plenty of family members who used to wake up at that time to milk cows, and I would never call their adjustment into question, at least when I know they’ll probably read this.
Our apartment is on top of a gym with a pool, which is awesome.  The gym is that place called Body Masters.  Our apartment is three floors up.  I like going to swim and workout, but I’m starting to think I should go in a burka after finding that  leers and advances from other men are quite common in this county, especially in the gym.  It makes sense, since female companionship is so rare here.  The fact is not talked about much, but estimates have about one-third of men here being gay or bisexual.  I’m pretty straight, but I still want to get swole, so I’ll tough out some guy-on-guy flirting for the gainz.
We’ve got a decent kitchen with a stove, which was one of the main reasons for moving to this apartment.  A lot of the places we looked at only had hot plates.
This is my bedroom.  It’s nice, but doing yoga on the tile floor adds a new dimension.  Of course, I haven’t seen yoga mats anywhere.  Up-dog to down-dog is really slippery once I get sweaty.  (Quick, can someone please ask me what’s “up-dog?”). And bow pose, plow, head stand, etc. kind of hurt.  But I can deal with it.

Author: Simeon Brown

Love walking barefoot on hot asphalt, love skateboarding, dislike foods that come in boxes. Amateur creative writer, professional cool hunter, pianist. Favorite part time job ever? Mortician's assistant. Favorite visual artist? Louis Wain.

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