KRAZY KATS

Welcome to Krazy Kats - a friendly informal online community discussing life issues that we care about. Open 24/7 for chat & chill. Come and join us!

The Video of the Week now showing on Light After Life Forum's Portal Page is: BBC Documentary - 'Science and the Séance'

Latest topics

» Keep a Word - Delete a Word
by Whiskers 15th July 2018, 18:04

» Jellyfish swarm turns sea pink
by Kitkat 12th July 2018, 17:28

» Silly Endings.
by Whiskers 12th July 2018, 16:39

» Backpacker hospitalized with sepsis after mosquito bite coma
by Kitkat 6th July 2018, 10:00

» Antwerp Railway Station.
by Kitkat 3rd July 2018, 14:57

» Garden Gossip
by Kitkat 1st July 2018, 10:07

» The power of the tweet !
by Kitkat 28th June 2018, 19:28

» Eighty-two chihuahuas found at Birmingham house
by Kitkat 25th June 2018, 12:28

» Stardust on the Moon
by Whiskers 12th June 2018, 20:36

» Feather by the sea.
by Stardust 10th June 2018, 20:46

» Pic-pick of the week
by Jamboree 10th June 2018, 02:10

» Notification of new posts made on the Forum
by Kitkat 3rd June 2018, 11:54

» Oh, well done! - crafty little crayfish
by Kitkat 3rd June 2018, 11:26

» The Spiritlove Forum
by OreoCat85 1st June 2018, 08:51

» Notification of new PMs (private messages) [solved]
by Kitkat 28th May 2018, 22:27

» Costco is where the talent is
by Kitkat 26th May 2018, 17:01

» What is GDPR ?
by Kitkat 26th May 2018, 12:55

» New 'Like' feature on the forum
by Kitkat 25th May 2018, 22:27

» The cartoon thread.
by Kitkat 24th May 2018, 16:08

» Goodbye Depo Provera
by OreoCat85 24th May 2018, 10:53

» The Greatest Showman
by OreoCat85 24th May 2018, 10:50

» Ashya: The Untold Story
by Whiskers 22nd May 2018, 11:07

» Raincheck! Sorry, I'm doing my nails ...
by Kitkat 18th May 2018, 11:18

» Forum going slow
by Kitkat 17th May 2018, 13:31

» Eurovision 2018: 7 things to look out for during the show
by Kitkat 12th May 2018, 17:36

» Woman asks firefighters to help'stoned' raccoon
by Kitkat 12th May 2018, 12:35

» Poetry from the heart.
by Kitkat 12th May 2018, 11:20

» "Moonlight Sonata" - A Morning in May
by Feather 12th May 2018, 10:37

» Red tide: Electric blue waves wash California shore
by Kitkat 11th May 2018, 12:18

» Rolling stock that just ... doesn't
by Kitkat 8th May 2018, 22:49

» Like cake?
by bimbow 8th May 2018, 22:15

» Shoulda known it was too good to be true ...
by Kitkat 8th May 2018, 11:05

» The Irish Thread
by Kitkat 3rd May 2018, 11:49

» MPs call for ESA death statistics to be published (Calum's List)
by Kitkat 24th April 2018, 20:26

» 'Messy' mum barred from pub
by Kitkat 23rd April 2018, 14:21

» Prime cheek!
by OreoCat85 22nd April 2018, 19:18

» Endowarriror os now OreoCat85
by Whiskers 22nd April 2018, 18:38

» Migraine is more than 'just a headache'
by Jamboree 19th April 2018, 09:04

» View all new posts since last visit - at a glance
by Kitkat 9th April 2018, 11:36

» Ronnie Corbett in an opera spoof?
by bimbow 7th April 2018, 23:02

» Henry and Baloo leave their pawprints in our hearts
by Whiskers 6th April 2018, 21:55

» Orkney: When the Boat Comes In
by Kitkat 6th April 2018, 16:30

» The Worst Construction Mistakes Ever
by Whiskers 5th April 2018, 12:00

» Nature
by Whiskers 4th April 2018, 12:00

» Wildlife - death of Sudan, last male White Northern Rhino
by Stardust 4th April 2018, 09:36

» Stephen Hawking's warnings: What he predicted for the future
by Whiskers 3rd April 2018, 22:05

» Facebook links
by Stardust 3rd April 2018, 11:39

» A Granma's Anagrams
by Whiskers 3rd April 2018, 11:23

» Is Peer Review all it's cracked up to be?
by Stardust 3rd April 2018, 10:02

» Guess the word
by Jamboree 31st March 2018, 16:09

» Question for Forum Bloggers (Poll)
by Kitkat 30th March 2018, 23:05

» Happy Easter
by Kitkat 30th March 2018, 23:01

» Wild Scotland
by Whiskers 29th March 2018, 20:03

» A blink's as good as a smile
by Kitkat 27th March 2018, 21:08

» World's oldest cave art
by Stardust 27th March 2018, 11:23

» Kemerovo fire kills at least 64
by Stardust 27th March 2018, 10:52

» Blogthings: The Labyrinth Test
by Stardust 26th March 2018, 17:10

» Cannes Film Festival 2018 - Red Carpet selfies banned
by Stardust 26th March 2018, 13:33

» True hero: Lt Col Arnaud Beltrame
by Kitkat 25th March 2018, 22:27

» Books
by Kitkat 24th March 2018, 16:48

» Cosmic beauty
by Stardust 23rd March 2018, 11:26

» Blogthings: The Easter egg personality test.
by Kitkat 23rd March 2018, 10:29

» Blogthings: What part of Spring are you?
by Stardust 23rd March 2018, 10:13

» So you think you know cats... read on
by Stardust 23rd March 2018, 09:43

» Freecycle.org
by Kitkat 22nd March 2018, 13:09

» Blogthings: what forest animal are you?
by Whiskers 21st March 2018, 16:40

» Bureaucats: Whiskers in the Workplace
by Whiskers 21st March 2018, 15:45

» Wildlife - lions eat the poacher
by Whiskers 21st March 2018, 15:43

» Wildlife - San Francisco to ban sale of fur
by Stardust 21st March 2018, 11:48

» The Beast from the East?
by Stardust 21st March 2018, 10:44

» Delicious and nutritious
by Stardust 21st March 2018, 10:19

» April Fools
by Stardust 21st March 2018, 07:57

» Your man with the glasses ...
by Kitkat 20th March 2018, 13:36

» Message in a bottle
by Stardust 20th March 2018, 09:39

» Upper Back Pain
by Kitkat 10th March 2018, 16:14

» [solved] Yahoo Mail down - again!
by Kitkat 9th March 2018, 23:00

» Concerns with Wikipedia (and "filter bubbles") - Guerrilla Skeptics at Large
by Kitkat 3rd March 2018, 23:29

» Wonderful images - fabulous music
by bimbow 1st March 2018, 17:23

» The Beast from the East
by Kitkat 1st March 2018, 14:01

» Invasion of the sex-craved spiders! EEK!
by lar-lar 25th February 2018, 21:32

» Daughter fundraising to save her terminally ill mother
by Jamboree 18th February 2018, 11:53

» Kitkat's KK Blog
by Kitkat 15th February 2018, 21:36

» A Day in The Life of a Dictator - Documentary
by Jamboree 12th February 2018, 07:21

» A coconut in a coffin?
by Whiskers 9th February 2018, 20:35

» Limericks
by bimbow 8th February 2018, 21:22

» Is there a Cathy in the place?
by Kitkat 1st February 2018, 19:17

» Chinese New Year
by Stardust 1st February 2018, 14:17

» What's your emergency?
by Whiskers 27th January 2018, 13:09

» YouTube free-loading vlogger gets a much needed lesson in reality
by Whiskers 22nd January 2018, 20:17

» Three-month-old baby says "hello"
by Kitkat 13th January 2018, 15:00

» 60 Christmas traditions around the world
by Kitkat 30th December 2017, 21:58

» Simon's Cat
by Kitkat 26th December 2017, 16:27

» A new(ish) song for Christmas.
by Whiskers 24th December 2017, 13:49

» Merry Christmas
by Whiskers 24th December 2017, 13:37

» The Christmas Thread
by Kitkat 20th December 2017, 21:22

» A reader's response to your article on food waste
by Whiskers 18th December 2017, 14:35

» Downward Dog
by Kitkat 4th December 2017, 21:35

» A very young Bee Gees treat
by Whiskers 29th November 2017, 16:35

» The life and achievements of Dr Elsie Inglis
by Kitkat 26th November 2017, 09:14

Top posting users this month

Top posters

Kitkat (3574)
 
Whiskers (1343)
 
Stardust (1243)
 
Feather (1211)
 
Umberto Cocopop (369)
 
Jamboree (329)
 
bimbow (317)
 
lar-lar (132)
 
Pixie (105)
 
OreoCat85 (82)
 

Top posting users this week

Please sign our Guest Book:

Guestbook

Light After Life Forum (LAL)


Click HERE for latest topics feed

A Day in Kuwait

Share
avatar
Kitkat
Admin Kat
Admin Kat

Posts : 3574
Likes received : 34
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

A Day in Kuwait

Post by Kitkat on 23rd March 2013, 22:47

Half a dozen mouldy copybook pages that survived Jakarta's termites and slugs: this was a working day at the training centre of Getty Oil Company, where I worked with five Irish teachers.


A Day in Kuwait, Springtime, 1982

Saturday

6:20 am

I’m woken early by Redmond blustering into my apartment asking if I have any note for Chit. I get into my trousers and stumble out with the wholemeal loaf I’d baked and two cassettes to pass on to Chit. I say goodbye to Carol, (kiss her with foul breath – I’m giving up the fags before they get hold of me) and the pair head off to find a taxi. Carol starts work at 8:30 in Salmiya, 20 minutes away from Fahaheel. After a warm shower I feel good, though sleepy after only five or six hours sleep. I put on a couple of eggs and a Clapton blues tape.

I throw some green olives, brown bread, hazelnuts, a lump of cheese and a banana into a brown paper bag, and sit down to enjoy 15 minutes’ relaxation before the taxi comes.
My attempt to eat only wholesome foods is grossly compromised at this stage as I light up an after-breakfast Marlboro.

It’s bright and sunny with a cold wind. Time to hear some Joe Cocker before the taxi beep rushes me and my bags out the door to join Patrick down the stairs and into the back seat of the station wagon. Seated backwards, you get a good view of the faces of the commuters.

John, Michael and Gregory, who got in at Abu Khalifa, two miles up the road towards Kuwait City, are already reading the Arab News, chuckling at some absurdity. They’re probably earmarking pieces to cut out for The Alamo Times, our underground photocopied broadsheet compilation. This goes to press in the half hour between the time the Iraqi secretary goes home and our driver comes to collect us.
After dropping us, Ahmed, a Palestinian, will go to work in the Ministry of Health in Kuwait City. The rest of us read, or stare absently out the back window. I’m the only one with an 8 o’clock class.

We bob and zoom in and out of the bunch of Toyota mini-vans, Chevy pick-ups and trucks. Where the hell are they all going to? A three lane fast show, it’s like a camel race.
Another accident this morning; we pass one every week. Sometimes the road is blocked, and we drive off into the desert.

On the coast to our left, we pass the complex of Shuaiba, insignificant in daylight, but at night lit up by myriads of lights. Disneyland, Manhattan, Hell. The eternal burning flare.

Mina Abdullah, the port and refining centre, where a filthy sulphuric cloud two miles off the road makes you wince and turn your nose. After the turn-off for Wafra, where the Getty production fields are, the traffic thins. From here, we zoom at 70 mph to our little turn-off to the sea and Mina Al Zour.

To the right, apple crumble landscape to the horizon, to the left, two miles beyond more of the same, the thin blue line of the Arabian Gulf. Two tankers slide along the skyline in the haze. The large patches of green film on the apple crumble surface are three inch carpets of grass which grew after the recent rains. We had two weeks of it. Once it rained three days non-stop. I’m told it will disappear soon, and there’ll be none until next year.

Through the security gate where Forty Coats is sitting all wrapped up like a mummy at the slightest hint of cold weather. He salutes us as we slide in. He knows the cars. It doesn’t matter who’s inside them. Once, when Ahmed changed his car, he got all confused and stopped us. Menachem Begin could drive in here in our car.

The gates of The Alamo are open. We arrive at 8 o’clock on the dot; the radio is playing the national anthem. Thirty cars out front: the morning’s students. Hellos are said, greetings very important. Mohammed, the Bangladeshi janitor, will be there. Two 7:30 classes are in session, Mahmoud and Faathi teaching Basic Beginners and Level 1.

The Marine and Refinery class enjoy a bit of crack. All Saudi. They swap anecdotes about football, girls. No serious striving to improve speaking or writing skills, an unspoken agreement between trainee and teacher. Conditions do not permit.

There will be two students waiting for me. I hello my way to my seat, put on the right face, and shake the
guys into some reactions. I shake hands and welcome them (they’ve just had a week’s break - we haven’t), and say something funny (a habit by now). We wait five minutes, for stragglers to join us. Abdullah from the Refinery will usually roll in at 8:20.

Today it’s a doss.
I’m reviewing their monthly test paper, going through it with them, throwing questions and examples at them. I tell Saeed I saw a film on KTV 2 last week, “Nickleodeon”, where every five minutes a guy would exclaim “SONAVABITCH!” just like he does. He’s pleased. His choice English expression. Sumbitch! Saeed’s about 40, flashes wry humour. 9 o’clock break. I boil my kettle in the classroom to make coffee, and join the six seated around the large table in the courtyard sun. I amaze them when I light up (I had spoken against cigarettes). I tell them wait till I shave my beard off – that’ll kill ‘em.


9.10 am

Into class. I go leisurely through the second half of the paper. They tell me what’s likely to happen on Kuwaiti National Day next Thursday: military parade along the Gulf Coast Road, and fireworks. Good. I’ll bring the camera in to the city. Goodbye. See you tomorrow. No homework. No-one seems to want to do it, so that’s the way it is. We don’t push each other. I’ve learned to adapt to the situation. I don’t waste any more energy than I need to. High gear teaching is out of place here. They call the shots. They’re getting paid for this. They don’t mind too much how we pass the hour. They don’t like to be bored, yet they’re not prepared to make too much effort.


9:50 am

Khlass. Finish.

Coffee. I fill the attendance sheets. Hardly necessary now. I’ve only about 11 students, 5 this afternoon, and I’m free till 3 o’ clock when I have my very special class with the two dodos.

I chat with Pat in his room fiddling with a short wave radio trying to get news of the election.

Ali Bagshi, the Saudi Principal, comes round with more forms and folders. Asks how many students I have. Eleven? No. There will be twelve. He’s been reading Mark Twain’s autobiography.

What does a guy do with two hours? They just disappear. Shelved in the files of time.

Faathi and Mahmoud, West Bank exiles, pace the Alamo courtyard in slow, measured steps. Fourteen paces, turn, return.


11:50

Lunchtime bell.

The five Irishmen get on the Bluebird bus, driven by a 70 year old Saudi who shakes your hand as you climb in the door. Charon, we call him. Greased lightning dangerman stuff 20 kph to get us to the restaurant half a mile away on the Ras, a sandy headland with a fine view of the Gulf. Sometimes I join them there, for cake
and ice-cream. The guys I work with are great talkers. Michael’s quick witty. Gregory’s a philosopher and playwright saving up to write a book.

Today, rather than sit with the lads, I mope off with my brown paper bag to walk the South Beach. Past the tug boat jetty, the beached dredger, the decomposing cow that’s been there two months now and stinks.

I walk here to see something new.

Each day the sea is a different colour: emerald, azure, today a milky turquoise. In the past week, I have seen whelks poking their eyes around at the turn of tide. I have seen yellow/brown sand-snakes, crabs streaking for cover, seagulls flying low in a line where the sea meets the sand, a flamingo on one leg in a foot of water.

Three English kids walking three dogs, two white terriers and a black one. Blacky’s eyes stare up at a hundred skies. And you can make him freak just by holding his eyes and approaching. Last week, the three chased me in a yapping frenzy. I was encouraging them when I walked into a wooden beach shade which took a piece out of my scalp. Ha! Ha! Don’t listen to mad dogs.

Dead things too. A tiny swordfish. A shark the length of my forearm. A starfish. A cow. A myriad of brightly coloured shells. I’m making a collection. Each time I look for a new type. Johnny Walker bottles. Gilbey’s Gin.

Beaches are never static, never the same.


3.00 pm

Today, (whew!) no guides.

The “guides” is a coinage of Ali Bagshi, our Training Center Principal, his mistaken take on “guys”, i.e. fellows, lads. In Ali’s understanding, all our students are guides. Great stuff. That’s how language develops and grows.

The guides are our class of two special Intermediate students. Both Kuwaiti. They have some financial or accounting function, and Getty Oil is allocating generous resources (two teachers every afternoon) to their English skills. Arrogant, fawning, dopey, they ooze false camaraderie. Pat and I dread their arrival in the afternoon. We punch the air when the guides fail to show today.

Afternoon. I sit in my classroom, stretch comfortably, drugged into drowsiness by the hum from the refinery, sleep walking through the empty quarter of the day, though always in apprehension of having to force myself out of it, like out of mud. Too barren of thought to write a letter, capable of reading though.


4:15 pm

After Mohammed has locked up the Alamo, we hang about in front of the building waiting for Ahmed to take us home. Michael and John read today’s Alamo Times; Greg, Pat and I while away the minutes throwing stones at a tin can target.

    Current date/time is 17th July 2018, 01:05