Golfing

A new colleague and neighbor of mine found a driving range and desert golf course about 30 minute drive outside the city.  He had been previously and was telling me about it, so I just had to go.

As you will see from the picture, it really does seem as though it is out in the middle of the desert.  Well… it is.  There are some sort of warehouses around where we were and plenty of electrical lines, but for the most part, it was all sand, sand, sand.

My first impression was of the quite funny sign that told all ladies to make sure they had “male protection.”  Women can play out there with no problem and even do not have to wear an abaya, but do have to wear long sleeves and pants.  No one was playing today, but my friend tells me that women do play out there.  The South Koreans who live in Saudi love to play golf.

We arrived and as you can see from the pictures, it is a small 2 shack operation, but with a solid cover for driving range balls, a small putting “brown,” and even some mats thrown down so you can hit on the range.  The yardage is marked accordingly.  There is actually 18 holes on that course complete with rules and everything.  Apparently, you purchase your own little square piece of artificial turf, drive the ball down the lightly packed fairway, and then try and your ball on the finely packed “brown” (green).  Walking only.

We only hit about 50 balls each, but we will definitely go back when the weather cools down.  Not a bad rate to play either, and it will certainly be an experience.

Welcome to the Kingdom!

Back in the US

I had a full workday on Thursday (remember, this is like my Saturday), and Jamie also went in to get some things done in her classroom.  I was able to pretty much get everything ready, but still had to work on Friday to finalize some documents.

Thursday night, we were invited to the U.S. Consulate for a party.  This was a cool experience and needless to say, security was very tight getting into the U.S. Consulate in Saudi Arabia.  Several little checkpoints.  I guess since it is technically US soil, they were allowed to serve alcohol, but Jamie and I wondered how they even got it into the country unless they have their own landing strip.  We mingled for a few hours and met some new people and headed home.  It was a nice outing, and they said they have those gatherings about 1 time per month, but you have to be invited.

Friday was an off day for us and we were able to catch a ride to the Hyper Panda (like WalMart) for some household items.  The store was closing for the midday prayer and wouldn’t open again until later in the afternoon, so we just headed home, where I worked on some school stuff.  That evening, we ordered out to Baba Habbas, a “fast food” type restaurant probably similar to KFC, except it has Arabic food.  We were introduced to Shawarma (Read about them here). Theyare delicious and pretty inexpensive, so they might become a stable in our diet.  It came with some hummus, so that made it even better.

Today was our first day of school with the kids, so since I have some Internet here at school, I thought I’d post this quickly.  Still no Internet at home.  Successful day with the students so far, and I’m sure I will be putting more up about the school in later posts.

Still no questions from anyone, so I guess I am doing a bang up job with the posts.

Back to School

On Saturday, Jamie and I went back to school.  Our work week actually runs from Saturday to Wednesday, so our weekends are Thursday and Friday, and this was our first week at our new jobs.  Jamie and I have been getting up early at 5:00 and go down to our gym to workout/run.  We have breakfast and then hop on the bus which picks us up right at our doorstep.
Since it is Ramadan and practically no one is on the roads, it only takes us about 15 minutes to get to the school.  Before going into the school, the bus has to go through the U.S. Consulate security gate.  This was an interesting process the first time we went through, but no it is just part of the whole ordeal.  We just have to stay on the bus and show our school ID.

Our school is rather large and has a perimeter of about 1 mile around.  It sits directly next to the U.S. Consulate and the land is actually leased from King Faud University of Petroleum and Minerals.  The lease expires soon, so we don’t know what will happen then.  Our campus actually contains 3 schools all operated by a non-profit organization called International Schools Group (ISG).

Jamie has a classroom in a normal high school type building while I actually have more of what looks like a mobile room, only perhaps a bit nicer than what you see in the States.  The students will have to walk from building to building for their classes and lunch, which makes it a bit different than most set ups back home.

Our schedule is pretty similar and we teach an American curriculum.  School ends at 3:30, and we really can’t work past 5:00 because they close the gates to the school, and you have to go through the U.S. Consulate to get out.  Jamie and I hop back on a bus at either 3:30 or 5:00 and head back to our compound.

Lately, we’ve been pretty much crashing and napping or going shopping in the evenings.  We still do not have a vehicle and have to rely on others to take us around.

I received my schedule today and I will be teaching 7th grade math and science as well as one “elective.”  I do not know yet, but I believe I will do either Journalism or Model United Nations as my elective.  Jamie is teaching 10th grade Modern World History and 11th grade U.S. History at the high school.

So far so good at the school, but our school implements several new software programs that takes getting used to.  These include Moodle, Skyward, Atlas Rubicon, and First Class.  All have the strengths and weaknesses is appears, but it is good to know the school pays for quality programs to help teachers with record keeping.

I haven’t received any questions, so if you have any, email them my way!