I woke up at 8:00 a.m. and went back to bed. I woke up at 10:30 a.m. and Tash was still asleep and I didn’t have the heart to wake her up, so I went back to bed. I work up at noon and gently nudged her.
“Wake up,” she begged for more sleep and her clock is so funky, I took pity on her. She slept until 2 p.m. while I napped, wrote notes and read my book.
We threw on our swimsuits, because Tash wanted to board, but we got there and just lay on the bench. Ken a Brit we had met the day before asked if he could join us. He was the rarity in Bahrain a really nice, fun guy. I was starving because I hadn’t eaten since 11:00 p.m. the night before so I immediately ordered food. We lay there on the beach taking in the rays and hanging out. Just as the sun started to go down I roused myself to get in the water, after all I couldn’t be in Bahrain and not test out the water.
I got out and dried off and then Tash convinced me that I should go in with her, so as the sunset on Bahrain I went into the water one last time. We got out and jumped in the pool to rinse ourselves off, we were already being consistently mistaken for sides of beef I didn’t want someone to mistake me for a salt lick.
I showed Tash some of the games that Mark, my brother, and I used to play in our pool and Tash told me that she used to be a swimmer. She admitted that she wasn’t very good at it and she and this other girl always had to race because they were close to each other’s level – and she still lost. She laughed as she told the story, her true talent is dancing, she was a ballerina.
We had brought clothes to change into, but in the dressing room, only a trickle of water came out of the shower. It was funny watching Tash jump around underneath it trying to get wet. After showering under the drip, we headed back to the Sheeshaw bar for a melon Sheeshaw. I ate Schwarma and we talked for three hours. She told me her family’s story, talked about living in NY, being a ballerina, losing her Mom. I told her about my crash how I wanted so badly to work internationally and how I wished I’d been able to go when I was her age and I talked about my family. It’s just her and her Dad. And for me it’s Mark, Mom, and me but then I have a huge extended family.
We didn’t make it out to JJ’s an English pub until 11:50 p.m. I told Tash that I would be on my best behavior, she laughed and said it was nice for once not to have be the one who takes care of things.
As we entered the bar the group of English jerks that we had encountered the previous night were there on the left. I didn’t even acknowledge that I had seen them. We ended up sitting in a corner with a group of Bahrainis, after meeting them I could count 5 that I had met.
As fun dance music pounded through the bar, Tash and I got up and danced with anyone and everyone. There was an older woman who asked me where I was from, I told her Portland, Oregon, but that I live in Kuwait. She told me her name was Tonya and she lived in Kuwait also and gave me her contact information. She also shared that she was out with her girlfriends because their husband’s were being sticks in the mud. So, Jesus, a tall, attractive well-built black man took them all out. He was a ton of fun to dance with. He told me he was born in LA and grew up in Germany.
Standing at the bar the young attractive blond Englishman that had started with me last night came up behind me. I turned around and was startled to run into him. I smiled and asked, “Has your French improved?” He looked confused; he obviously wasn’t the brightest bulb in the batch.
Tash was easily the prettiest girl in the bar and as we were out dancing I could see the Englishmen who had been such jerks eyeing her. The young blond, who started it and I had encountered at the bar tried to talk to her. I gave her the eyeball that said, that’s them and she cut off the conversation. He looked very disappointed; maybe he’ll learn some manners.
Ken had come into JJs around 1:00 p.m. to tell us they were in the Phillipino bar next door. At 2:00 p.m. the last song played, “It’s closing time,” and I danced with Jesus. He was swing dancing with me and usually I’m pretty good, but I guess I dance best with Kari.
After JJs closed we headed to the Phillipino bar to meet Ken. Ken and his friends Richard and Aaron were sharing a table with a man who was either fast asleep or passed out. That bar closed a half an hour later and we headed back to Richard’s for wine and conversation. We all crammed in a cab and the driver said he couldn’t take us because there were too many of us. Aaron started getting annoyed and kept saying, “Just take us.” Finally, we crammed into different cab.
Richard had a very nice flat. We got there and I sat down on the couch between Tash and Aaron. Aaron moved as far away as possible, to the other couch as if I physically repulsed him.
I’m not sure how it started, but the upcoming American election came up and Ken and Richard started talking about how Hillary was going to win. And then Aaron starting going off on how Americans are the scourge of the earth and we are all horrible human beings. He was trying to pick a fight with me.
Tash looked at me and said “I can’t believe how calm you are, he’s pissing me off,” I laughed. And Tash said to Aaron, “Don’t be a hater.”
“I know Americans are dumb enough to judge an entire country by its government, but I didn’t think the English were that stupid,” I remarked. I asked him how he could hate me, he didn’t even know me and at one point and time he admitted that he had been raised to hate Americans. He kept on trying to get me to fight, but I just wasn’t in the mood and I kept telling how I understood why he might hate Americans and it was o.k. he could hate me. After about a half an hour of him trying to engage me, he attacked my work, my country, my beliefs, anything and everything and me refusing to be engaged, Tash, Richard, Ken and I moved the conversation to other topics. Richard kept on saying just ignore him he’s young – 23.
It was like talking to a narrow-minded American and I told him that at this point and time he was actually being more American than I was. He scoffed at the idea.
I don’t know when it happened, but Aaron came over and he took me by the hand and he led me to the dining room table and sat me down and started to talk to me. We talked about my family, the books I like to read, religion, he’s an atheist, and a couple of time to my answers he said, “You sound so fucking American!” with a smile on his face. My response, I am American. And I’m proud to be American. He asked to name one good thing that Americans had done, I was too tired to rack my brain and figured when I blogged about this my friends would come up with all the contributions America has made to global society. So let’s hear them guys.
He tipped his head toward Tash and I started talking about how incredible she is and he admitted, “I thought she was just another blond, stupid American.” “Well you’re wrong,” I said. “First of all she’s not even American,” he looked surprised. “She has three nationalities Canadian, German and South African.”
Our greatest failure as a global community is that we teach our children to hate based on religion, skin color, nationality, external characteristics that reveal nothing about the content of a person’s character.
He was 6’ 3 and thin with thick blond hair and blue eyes that peeked out from lazy lids. He had a bit of the dull English look, and a crooked smile, that for more than half the evening he tried not to reveal. He pulled me up from my chair and placing his right hand in the small of my back and taking my right hand in his left he started slow dancing with me.
“Send me the name of the organization you work for and I will make a $1,000 donation to it,” he said. I felt like he was trying to buy me off, but I went along with it and agreed to do it. I asked him to send me the names of books that he had talked about. We exchanged e-mail and he pulled me back into a dance, I don’t even remember if there was music. He had told me that all Americans were spoiled, rotten brats, and here he was working in Bahrain, had enough money that he could drop $1,000 on MC without blinking an eye and was getting ready to spend a month in Italy. I felt like he was guilty of being just like what he thought Americans were like. I’ve never lived a life like that where I could crop a $1,000 without blinking an eye and cruise off to Italy for a month. I think he comes from a privileged family.
At around 4:00 in the morning after much talk and a lot of dancing he placed my right hand on his chest and covered it with his own. He then leaned down and gently kissed me goodnight. And then my hater walked out the door.
Ken had invited us to breakfast, but Tash and I were both cashed. As we came back into our hotel, a man in a dishdashah tried to get on the elevator with us, but we dodged him. As we got to the door of our room, there were 3 or 4 men, I think they were Saudi Arabian in their pajamas in the hallway saying come here, come, come. They were about 20 feet away and Tash was having difficulty with the door and as they started moving toward us I said, “Hurry up, hurry up.”
She got the door open and we practically fell into our room, slammed and locked it behind us.
And fell into bed.