fins and flying

Haven’t posted for a few days, that’s usually a good sign.

I switched hotels on Wednesday night. (Just as an aside, it is incredibly confusing to have a different work week here…we obviously get used to the placement of our weekdays. I am constantly confused about what day it is and what day I did what.) Anyway, Wednesday night I moved into the Sheraton in Jeddah so I could get a day pass to the Sheraton Villa Resort. Marty and I went snorkelling on Thursday. It was HOT, but if you were by the sea there was a great breeze that made it the perfect temperature in the shade. I snorkelled twice, for a total of about an hour. It was a bit choppy and the visibility wasn’t as good as last time, but it was still pretty phenomenal. And you know the water’s warm when I, the biggest wimp when it comes to cold water, don’t hesitate getting in.

The rest of the time I sat on a lawn chair and read, sitting about four feet away from the Red Sea. Did I mention I was by the Red Sea? Did I mention that I’ve been in the Red Sea?

So that was Thursday. Friday I spent in my hotel room, mostly working myself into a frenzy about having to fly from Jeddah to Riyadh on my own that night, and once again having to make my way to a hotel in a strange city. Two Saudi airports in one day? Yikes. As you probably guessed, I managed. I was totally confused in the Jeddah airport about where I was supposed to go and I was thinking what a stupid system it was until I realized (many hours later) it was the exact same system as any Canadian airport. You do a self check-in, drop off your bag, and then head to the gate. I think I was so worked up that I failed to see the similarities. Plus I was scared of doing something “wrong” and getting yelled at. Not that I’ve ever been yelled at here.

As we were sitting on the plane taxiing to the runway, I looked up from my book and realized that the nose of the plane had a camera in front of it, and they were projecting the image onto a big screen in the middle of the airplane. Pretty cool in a totally freaky sort of way. I am not the most relaxed flyer, and I contemplated trying to ignore the camera (did I really want to see the nose of the plane lift off the ground?), but my curiosity got the better of me, and I watched the take off. It was pretty cool. Then right after take off, when all you could see out of the nose camera was sky, they switched to a camera that must have been right under the nose. I had to turn away from that one. The ground was moving too quickly and moving a long way away too quickly. I generally get through take off by repeating to myself that statistically the plane I’m on is not going to crash. I don’t need to be reminded of how fast we were going and how quickly the ground is dropping away below us.

I’m now in Riyadh, and I’ve just completed my first day training a new group. It went remarkably well, and although I’m very tired, I can almost say it was enjoyable. The group here is a bit more jovial, plus there were only seven people, as opposed to 15 in Jeddah.

I’ve got four more days of work and then I’m heading home. The countdown has started. I haven’t even unpacked my suitcases here and I’m not sure I will. Because I’m going home in four sleeps!

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