Ink & Paper

Friday, October 15, 2004

As part of my designated job of Dog Owner, I am required to perform certain tasks to keep thy pooch happy. One of these tasks is a morning walk and on such walks I have noticed a rather ironic setting. In Kuwait, as I have already described, the driving is rather akin to a washing machine spin cycle. On our morning walk me and Monday pass by an amusement park, one of many that dot the 'scenery' of Kuwait. And in this amusement park there is a space set aside for bumper cars.

Now, maybe it's just me, but I think that in a country that is prone to high speed accidents, ought not the adult population be instilling a 'safety first' attitude in their youth? Giving them a free pass in bumper cars when they are 12, and then handing them a licence a few years later (and no, Driver Training isn't offered) seems to me to perpetuate the car crash cycle. And as if the bumper cars weren't enough, right next to them sits the bumper boat ride. I guess if you can't kill yourself on the roads, you might as well try to do it in Dad's speedboat. I don't know, it just strikes me as a little odd. Monday doesn't seem to notice or care, so maybe she's got the right "Don't wanna know about it" mentality.

Ramadan started yesterday, meaning that while I was at the Hilton, living the high life, I couldn't drink any water. Now I am sure there is a joke somewhere about a desert-based religion that decides to have a holiday where no one can drink water during the heat of the day, but I'm not going to be the one to make it.

Okay, off to teach some sleepy G12s. Cheers for reading.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 10:43 PM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out


Slowly towards the drian go the watery pages of history....

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 9:17 PM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out


Thursday, October 14, 2004

A couple of interesting tidbits of news for my oh-so-faithful readers.

Tidbit #1- Ramadan, the Islamic holy month, starts sometime this weekend (14th or 15th). This means a few things. One, I cannot be seen to be eating or drinking anything between sunrise and sunset. This is against the law, but thankfully we have a few rooms set aside for consumption-minded Westerners. This also means that everything, and I do mean everything, is now on "Ramadan-time" which is kind of like Kuwaiti regular time, except much slower. Kind of like a healthy turtle who then has all four of his legs broken.

Nothing is open, either, except for at night, when the party starts. Basically what happens is that no one does anything all day, then they eat and carouse until 3 am or so. Subsequently the next day is a write off for productivity, and the cycle starts anew. This continues on for a month or so.

Secondly, the school, because the kids are all sleep-deprived and starving, is running on shorter hours. Usually I am at school from 645am-240pm, but with Ramadan we go 800am- 200pm, which is nice, especially since the behaviour issue kids are all alseep anyway. Sure they don't learn anything, but think of the classroom management paradise I'll have for a month. Smashing.

Tidbit #2- I have kept this pretty quiet, more so because I hate eating crow more than anything else, but it is official now. In the early part of December, I and 5 other teachers have been selected to travel with a group of kids to Spain for a week. Everything except spending money is paid for, so basically I get a free trip and only have to make sure no kids get lost, or worse yet, get corrupted by shameful western practices. I'm pretty pumped and I have been told that it is a sign that they are happy with how I am working out. I also think it is a carrot that they are using to entice me to come back another year. I'm sure it will come up, as Paul (The Boss) is coming along too. But we all know which way I'm leaning on that issue. Smile my Megs.

So that's cool, I'm going to turn 27 in Spain. Maybe even get a few drinks into this alcohol-starved body. And it will get me out of Kuwait. Actually this next month and a half will only add fuel to the arguement that some morons profess about teachers not working. Ramadan and shorter hours until mid November, a ten day laying-on-the-beach break in mid November, then two weeks of teaching, then a trip to Spain. Yeah, I would hate me too.

Anyway, it is the weekend for me and in a bit I off to the Hilton, whose security has dropped back to "normal" in the last week. Hope this finds you well and informed. US election is just around the corner. Go Kerry!

Cheers for reading.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 4:03 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out


Monday, October 11, 2004

It has been awhile, sorry aboot that.

Ah, the youth. Today I am now able to say that I broke the first fight of my teaching career. At lunch, two morons in my G9 class starting throwing punches, one of them landed a good one before I grabbed em by the collars and we all marched to the Principal's office. It's kinda cool to tell the truth, I get to be involved in a fight and suffer no punishment from it. Ah good times, except for the boys, both of whom managed to get suspended for the week. But I'm fine, don't you worry.

Also had a call from a parent whose kid is pulling an 88% in my class; apparently his marks aren't good enough. Sheesh, lady, I got way worse marks than that when I was in junior high and I turned out okay. Let me tell you about Mrs. Hess, who not only gave me a final mark of 49% in G7 LA, but also told me I wouldn't ever amount to anything. And yet, I'm not eating out of dumpsters (too often anyway) nor am I collecting bottles (mainly cause they are all broken glass here in Kuwait). So relax, Mohammed is doing super in my class. You would think so too if you saw some of the other goons that stare at the walls.

A couple more interesting things I've noticed about Kuwait...

1. Kids, when they are in cars, are never buckled in. Never. They are always crawling around, usually between the front and back seats. It doesn't matter how young, they are all free-range kids.

2. People have plastic, saran wrap-like covers on their car seats, no matter how old the car. I suppose this is to keep any sweat (which is a common element of Kuwait) from ruining the fabric. But when you are driving a shitbox of a 1983 Chevy Caprice, what are you helping?

3. Kuwaitis are lazy. For proof just check either the Olympic medal count or some website that tells you that percentage of fat people by country. I say this as I have watched a phenomenon known as the "park 'n' honk." Kuwaitis will pull their Lexus/Mercedes/Land Rovers up to either a local grocery (like a Mac's) or a drycleaning place and honk the horn. This is a signal to the poor working immigrant who is inside the store to rush out 20 feet to take their order and do their shopping for them. The Kuwaiti sits in the car, smoking away in the AC, while the employee runs around the shop gathering items. It is really something to see and I view it as a sad example of two entirely different economic stratas.

Today is grossly humid, about 38 degrees and just soaking humid. My glasses fog up, I kid you not. Usually this a sign that a rainstorm is coming, but seeing as how we are in the middle of a desert, I'm not gonna count on it. I just hope it goes away soon. I am managing to handle the dry heat, but the humid heat is gross. Dog Monday thinks so too, but then again, she's an idiot for wearing a black fur coat in this weather.

Okay, that's all for now, hope this finds you well. Cheers.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 4:38 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out


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