what's great about being overseas is things that would normally be a huge annoyance turn into interesting cultural experiences.
yesterday i came out of the grocery to find a right rear tire on my corrola that looked suspiciously low in air. i confirmed this with a few kicks of the tire, but decided it was still full enough to drive to garage close to my villa.
i pulled into the garage and in front of the area that looked like the tire shop (i.e. there were stacks of tires). an indian man came up to me and said something in arabic. . .my arabic is terrible. . .so i said in english, "more air", and accompanied it with a hand motion indicating inflation and a noise that sounded like air going into a tire. . .at this point the man grabbed a young saudi guy (a LOT of saudis speak english) to help him. . .only this saudi's english was terrible, but he was just a teenager so he probably hasn't been to school in the states yet. . .seems most saudis inevitably end up going to school in canada or the US . .so anyway the three of us are standing there looking at the tire. . .making noises, hand gestures and speaking two broken languages. then the indian man busts out a whacky looking gage and attaches it to the tire. . .he then shows me the gage. . .okay. . .the thing is EVERYTHING is arabic is backwards. . .they write right to left. . .and even the computer screens here are mirror images (i.e. the windows start button is on the bottom right). . .so when i looked at the gage the needle was in the bottom left. . .which as most westerners would agree means low. . .but it's also in a green "zone" as opposed to the yellow or red zones. . .which to most westerners would indicate okay. . .so finely i say in arabic. . ."problem or no problem?". . .and both the saudi and the indian say in arabic, "problem". . .yes!. . .we are finally on the same page. . .i need the tire patched. the indian man just takes the tire off and starts patching it. . .he didn't ask me anything, like, "do you want this patched?". . .i had no idea how much this was going to cost me. . .but luckily being in saudi and seeing has how it was being done by an indian. . .it was probably safe to assume it was going to cost me very little. (yes these thoughts would be considered racist in america. . .but it's the sad truth of saudi arabia. . .everyone is EXTREMELY race conscious). right about this time a SUV comes squealing around the corner into the garage and out jumps this 20 something saudi dressed in western clothes. he literally opens the back of his SUV and throws/rolls a flat tire into the tire shop. he then struts over to me and asks, "where are you from?" his english was perfect. . .i said, "the states." he said, "obviously, but were in the states?" i said, "indianapolis." he said, "i went to college in VA." explains his excellent english. . .anyway. . .he starts to tell me how i should go to some bar in bahrain and how i should go to his gym. . .blah blah blah. . .he was nice enough. . .he even bargained a decent deal on the tire patch for me. . .we exchange numbers.
later that night he sends me some text message that is some sort of joke. . .whose punch line i forget but it described penises as "===>" and vaginas as "( )". . .i was at a loss as to what to text back. . .so i ignored it.