Arid Letters

The Diary of an English Teacher in Arabia


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Lizard Noodlin

Back in Iowa they used to do something like this with Flathead Catfish called noodlin.  Here in Saudi they go noodlin for the local desert lizard, called the “thub.”  Here’s how it works:

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Step 1: Get a bunch of water. You’re going to need this for later.

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Step 2: Try to stay awake on your trip out to the desert. We had to wake up really early to beat the heat. We probably still didn’t beat the heat. It’s always hot.

Step 3: Find a lizard hole and start dumping water in there. If the lizard is home, it will believe it's raining and, if you're very quiet, will stick it's head out.

Step 3: Find a lizard hole and start dumping water in there. If the lizard is home, it will believe it’s raining and, if you’re very quiet, will stick it’s head out.

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Step 4: When the lizard pokes its head out, grab said lizard by the face. This part might be tough. The little buggers are really stuck in there. And sometimes they bite.

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Step 5: Repeat until everybody’s got a lizard. These are the two that David and I are eating for supper tonight.

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Step 6: Try to stay out of the sun while you’re hunting. It gets pretty hot out there, and the Saudis told us it would make us crazy if we didn’t cover our heads.

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RE: “Don’t let the heat get to you.” Is it just me or does lizzy look like she’s into it?

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Camellicious

The first thing about camels – they’re hilarious. They have lips that for some reason remind me of the California Raisins’. Camel lips seem to have a life of their own – perhaps they use their lip wiggles to communicate with each other, like the way that dogs talk through eyebrow twitches. In any case, camel’s have very funny faces.  Really, look at these things.  

Also – camels sound super scary.  Like, I’m pretty sure this is the sound that Lord Cthulu makes to strike fear into inferior beings before he consumes them.  Camels might look cute, but they sound terrifying.  And it is LOUD.  

I really want to touch the bottom of their feet – I bet the bottom of a camel’s foot is very soft. When they step, their foot pads squish out to distribute the weight over the sand. It’s reminiscient of some kind of moon walking technology.  I’d show you a video of camel feet, but searching for “camel foot” only brought me video results for camel toes… these were completely unhelpful.  

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I can’t believe how big camels are. From afar, they look like they are approximately the size of the horse. Upon getting closer, however, I find that they are probably twice as large as any horse. I’m amazed that at some point, desert people were able to domesticate these creatures. A horse is of a certain size and disposition that I can imagine being the first caveman to lure one within reach, tie it up, and courageously get on it’s back. In the same way, a cow seems like an animal naturally inclined to domestication. Their passive nature and lumbering grazing would make them an easy target for early innovators in farming. But a camel… as I got close, I realized just how CRAZY the first desert nomad must have been when he lured one of these beasts within range, tied it up, and eventually milked it, butchered it, and tamed it. How did they do that? This would be more like taming a buffalo then anything else. A splay-legged, wiggly-lipped, goofy-lookin’ buffalo. 

Camel milk is supposed to be really good for you. Not only is it supposed to be really good for you, it is also really healthy and good for you. This means that drinking camel milk will help your overall health and make you feel good. In short, camel milk is a beneficial drink. 

It tastes really… “animally”, somehow. Like, a cross between grass and horse fur. I remember this smell that would come from deer when my Dad and I butchered them as a kid. Not the bloody, sawing-through-bone smell, but the other “previously-frolicking-in-an-charmed-forest-and-open-prairie” smell. Camel milk tastes sort of like that smell. It is supposed to make you poop your brains out if you have any intestinal problems. I didn’t poop my brains out after drinking it, which I was told means that I have a healthy intestinal tract and a strong stomach. Go me. I didn’t poop. David didn’t poop either.  Check it here.  


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Sandy Singles

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IMG_2019Image David and a couple Saudi friends are standing outside the Kingdom Tower, because it was families only that night – NO SINGLE DUDES ALLOWED!!! Because single dudes are just trouble….

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I wish I could think of an explanation for this shoe/sandal graveyard. But I can’t.

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How bout them melons?

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I really, really, really hate sandstorms. But I kind of enjoy the feeling like I’m about to throw a Molotov cocktail.

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Food is so cheap here. When I get the gumption, I cook dinners fit for kings. This is my crab and roasted eggplant from the other night.

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Amanda thought you couldn’t be “hot” in a niqab. Pssshhh. Whatever. Girl I’m fabulous.

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