When I picked up Caleb yesterday he told me about the confrontation with Senior about him being late, so he was determined to get there early this morning. When I woke he should’ve gotten started sooner, but we were out the door by 5:30. I dropped him off and when I came back from walking the dogs I met a guy at the top of the stairs that’s been in the navy for 22 years. His wife retired as a senior chief and this is his sixth tour out here – he translates Arabic.
We talked about his kids and their childhood dog and about how much this island has changed in 20 years until his ride came. He doesn’t have a car yet, only been here a few days, and is waiting on his golf clubs to arrive and possibly his wife who has been over here four times before. Maybe I should’ve asked for a name or a command, but maybe I’ll see him around and if his wife ever shows I can invite her to the wife club.
At breakfast, either school is out or there is a traveling team. I’m eating in a room full of adolescent boys and luckily only one of them forgot to put a shirt on this morning – ok around the pool, not what I want hanging over my bread and fruit. They’re out of sausage so I grab an egg each for the dogs. I check my email and it tells me I should’ve called Linda, the current resident of our future place, to schedule a move-in date. I shouldn’t have to do that, but I figure I will go by there and see what’s up.
I left the house at 8:22 and almost changed my mind halfway there thinking I could just wait on an email or a proper phone number to call, but started to enjoy the walk with the breeze. I turned down the street and passed by a house when a lady came out from behind her car and complimented me on how cute I look (in my blue/green/white dress with little white shirt over it) and from there the conversation carried for twenty minutes. Kim invited me to her water aerobics class and looks forward to seeing me around. She’s lived here for six years and loves it. I think we will get along fine.
I ring the bell at Linda’s and hear her poodles inside. She opens the door and invites me in. Their shoes were taken off outside but I remove mine promptly inside the door. I’m greeted by three shades of brown fuzz. We sit on the couch for a bit, then move outside so I can see the porch that they built and talk about the neighbors (one used to have a lion cub), then move back inside and meet the boys when they wake up around 11am. They just finished school and are enjoying the break. It’s sad that she’s leaving. We get along so well. They spent three years in Japan and two years here and know there will be a culture shock when they return to the States next week.
We lost track of the time talking about dogs, food, family, culture, and kindness. I drink .75 litres of water and am offered a ride home in the heat at noon, but enjoy the walk back. I might meet someone else. I have to hold my hat on in the wind and can feel the sun on my unsunscreened arms. I have time to eat some lunch (saving the leftovers for dinner tonight), walk and feed dogs, and hang up laundry from two days ago before I head to base to go by housing and then pick up Caleb.
At housing they tell me that I need the other form back first and that I can come in on the 30th for the other one. Caleb hasn’t texted me yet and the lady set me up for a 3:30 appt. to meet Muhammad at the Dragon to get the paper back. I was in the turn lane by the Grand Mosque and stopped when I wasn’t sure if I would be out of the intersection before the light turned red. I got hit by a Range Rover. I jumped out, took a picture of the license plate, and then talked with the lady. She was nicely dressed and the damage didn’t look too bad, but I told her I had to report it since it was a rental.
She told me to turn right across lanes of traffic (that were stopped) and then I followed her erratic driving to the police station near the Exhibition Center. She explained everything, signed the paper, then we went and looked at the damage, came back in, paid BD6 and I was free to go. She said she tried to stop but her high heel slipped off the brake. The officer, seeing my record, told me that I could get a replacement rental, continue to drive this one, or take a taxi next time.
She hit me at 2:30 and I had already texted Muhammad to let him know I was going to be late. I was able to find my way to base after a few wrong turns – giving me a small tour of a new part of the island. Lucky for me that this place is so easy to recognize. At an intersection I looked to my left and the older sister pulled the younger one from the window and they thought this was hilarious. We kept this up until the light changed – three girls and their dad and me – and then the two lanes turn into one on the turn without warning, but it was all good and they waved to me as I took an exit.
By this time Caleb had gotten my messages and shared the news with the guys. I got to base and made copies of the police report at the Inn & Suites that I would find out I don’t need since Caleb’s chain of command can’t read them. I waited in the shade outside base for him and then we went to the rental place. Shakeel recognised us and the green sheet of paper I was holding. He saw the damage and was glad to hear me say that we would continue driving it as he didn’t have the other car back from the shop yet. Shakeel let us know that he owes us BD12 and then we left.
We stop by Alosra for q-tips and milk and leave with chocolate bars and bags of nuts too. I bought the doggies some chew bones and dinner for us was the leftovers I saved. We walk the dogs and a guy from the front desk gives us our pre-contract. I thank Muhammad later for still coming through even though I couldn’t make it. Now I can return it on the 30th when I fill out the new one.
We had cherries for dessert and watched part of one of the Saw series before Caleb went to bed. I will stay up reading articles and watching YouTube videos before fighting sleep myself. Today was an adventure, just as the last two weeks have been. Caleb has duty tomorrow so it will be my first night alone here. Ramadan should start Saturday, then he gets underway for three or four days – which in safe news will have me off the roads.