i've had the worst luck with security the past two days.
over the weekend, in the restaurant/bar on the compound, i met a 30 year old half african half arab named sam from holland who spent 4+ years in london then went to surf in brazil before ending up here in riyadh. he has been calling me incessantly ever since. . .so last night i decided sure. . .man. . .lets hangout. we drove around the town and grabbed a bite to eat at chili's. . yes, chili's. . .because it made me think of the television show "the office". . .which is funny.
around 10pm we found ourselves back at the compound gate. only. . .the little security guy, who vic calls "rat boy". . .wasn't there. it was some new pump fellow who was followed out of the gate house by some guy in military fatigues. security always checks under the hood. . .looking for bombs. . .so i popped the hood to my corolla. the security guard then gave me the hand signal for "papers". i pulled my compound card from my pocket and told sam to do the same. . .about this time the security guard positioned himself to the right of the car, and the military guy was standing on the left. . .and now outta now where there were two more military guys. . .one of which was standing in front of the car and the other one behind. i thought to myself. . .what the f*ck?. . .i was starting to get nervous. . .i knew if i needed to drive away i was going to have to hit one of these bastards. the military guy on the left asked me with a hand motion to roll my window down. . .i did. . .he said in arabic "how are you?". . .i said back in arabic. . ."100%". . .he then pounded on my door and said in english. . ."open your door!". . .i said in english. . ."what?". . .then i spewed a string of both arabic and english. . ."no no no no. . .you better explain why you want me open this door!!" then the man said something to the others. . .and they all backed off. . .and waved us through. the whole thing wigged me out. . .i'm guessing its probably new security measures. . .something to do the recent news. . .but i'm not about to get outta my car for anyone.
as a quick side note. . .this is prime example of what i'm talking about when i say it's mentally exhausting here. . .i'm simultaneously thinking, "what is this guy asking", "how can i get outta this situation if i need to", "why is the happening", "is this new guy next to me doing the right thing", "how do i communicate everything is cool", "damn what is the arabic word for cool". . .thought processes like this happen. . .a lot. . .
this morning i pulled up to the security gate at work. . .the military security checked under hood. . .and in the corolla's boot. few meters after this manual human staffed gate there is a second gate that is automated by badge/access card. it's pretty much standard procedure to tailgate through the automated gate if someone swipes through in front of you. this morning i was third in a line of cars at the gate. car one swiped his access card. . .car two followed him under the gate. . .and i followed car two under the gate. i parked my car. . .opened the door. . .and got out with my briefcase in one hand and my starbucks in the other (i'm such a yuppie american). . .and up marched a military guard. he said in english, "card!". . .so i set down my briefcase and dug my badge/access card outta my pocket. . .he grabbed it and my arm and pulled me over to the automated gate (which is now about 50 meters away). he swiped my card for me then handed it back to me and said, "go!"
i left work today and found the outgoing gate which operates with the same protocol as the automated incoming gate. . .to be lopsided (i.e. the end opposite the hinge was on the ground). . .i certainly learned my lesson this morning. . .so i swiped my badge. . .the gate didn't move. . .so i swiped again. . .no luck. . .by this time there was a line of saudis behind me. . .and if you know saudis you know they LOVE honking those car horns. . .by this point. . .i'd just had it. . .with gates. . .security. . .my crappy luck. . .so i put the car park and got out to lift up the gate. . .it was dusty and heavy. only it didn't stop at 90 degrees like i expected. . .it did a full 180 degree rotation and smacked the ground on the other side with a huge "BANG!" i looked at the saudi in the car behind me who was laughing. . .i shrugged. . .and got back into my car. about the time i shut the door. . .out ran a guard. . .barefoot?. . .he was yelling. . .he told me to pull over. . .i did. everyone behind me just drove through the gate and waved at me in thanks. the guard went back into the guard house. . .i could see the guard fiddle farting around with his socks and boots (obviously he neglected to put his shoes back on after prayer). . .he started getting really frustrated as he was lacing up his boots. . .i swear like 5 minutes went by and the guy couldn't get his boots on. . .he gave up. . .poked his head out and told me to go. . .