Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Christmas in the UK

Festive Lunacy in KSAFestive Lunacy in KSA
One of the first things I had done when I started the job was to book two or three week’s holiday at Christmas. Bongo was non-committal on this for months and months. Eventually he told me that the company policy was for employees to work eleven months and then take their one-month vacation in one chunk. I explained that he was a git of the highest order and that if I couldn’t have a break at Christmas then I would resign immediately.

Finally Bongo agreed to my request and I booked my flight.

I arrived at Heathrow about 11am one drizzly grey day about a week before Christmas. I was met by my brother-in-law who lived nearby, Offspring and BetterArf who had brought me a nice warm coat to wear (not an abaya). First port of call, naturally, was a pub. I had planned to drink a few million pints, but I think I was under the table after about one and a half.

Needless to say I had a wonderful time, but the Riyadh-induced paranoia did not have enough time to wear off. I felt guilty about drinking alcohol, eating pork and seeing people holding hands and possibly snogging in public. I was also inclined to barter about the price of non-negotiable items like newspapers and stamps.I have no idea how I managed to tear myself away at the end of the holiday. I have never felt less like stepping onto an aeroplane in my life. As I got to the airport I saw guys in thobes and women in abayas and I just wanted to cry. In fact I probably did.



Blogger Desert Mermaid said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:51 am  
Blogger Desert Mermaid said...

Oh yeah, I've had that feeling too. In fact the last time I flew back from Gatwick to Ab u Dhabi we almost missed the flight. Each time I make the return journed it gets harder to do.. I guess the gloss is wearing off for us here after 3 years.

7:53 am  
Blogger Desert Mermaid said...

I keep screwing up my posts. S'cuse the typos, its early in the morning!

7:55 am  
Blogger redstar said...

I had a similar issue with holidays in my last company.

I'd taken Thursday and Sunday off to have a long weekend. When I got back I was told that 4 days would be deducted from my holiday allowance. I told them that was nonsense as I'd only taken two actuall work days off. We had some 'discussions' about the nature of holiday allowances, my stand being that I didn't care if everyone else took a 30 day chunk off in one go or not, I wanted to be able to take time off here and there when possible.

I was happy to accept 21 days of holiday, but it had to be deducted properly.

Eventually it went the other way - I got 30 days to take off whenever I wanted whilst all the Pakistani guys got 30 days to take off in one go, which seemed completely unfair.

1:12 pm  
Blogger Keefieboy said...

@ M AlZubeir - Mohammed has been doing a bit of Keefieboy flattery, which always works. Thanks for the remarks on your blog (the comment thingie on your blog seems to be broken by the way).

11:49 pm  

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