Return to Saudi Arabia

The Saudis were so impressed by our Apaches, that they bought some. And again, our group was again asked for volunteers to support these Saudi Apaches.

I accepted, for funds to pay my neighbor for a land deal; and, more importantly, because I was promised my own car to explore Arabia during my time off.

We qualified for every certification Lockheed Martin had, and then went to Florida for briefings, passports, immunizations, signing required documents, and packing clothing with other things we wanted to bring.

We then flew from Orlando to an airport where Saudia had a terminal. (Our contract required us to fly on the Saudi Arabian National Airlines.)

After clearing customs and collecting our luggage at the Riyadh airport, we boarded a motor-home type “bus” and went about 300 miles to King Khalid Military City near the Iraq/Kuwait border, only stoping for the driver to get off and pray.

They confiscated our US passports and gave Us internal booklets in Arabic for identification.

When it came time to get Saudi driver licenses, all we had was a list in Arabic with the needed passport information. I was chosen to translate that list into English, to take to the hospital to get our licenses. It kind of made sense for the hospital to produce Saudi driver’s licenses. Those licenses included blood type; so, all they had to do, was draw our blood and put the correct blood type on the license.

A Filipina nurse drew my blood; and, when I started speaking in Tagalog, some other muslim nurses from Mindanao showed up. We also conversed in English and Arabic. They made it plain, that their boss treated them much worse than they expected; but, until he returned their passports with permission to leave Saudi Arabia, there was nothing they could do.

The promised car for everyone was not funded by the Saudis. This in a way was good, because there was no right-of-way, and the winner in a collision had the best local connections and could afford a lawyer to “prove” that you could have avoided the accident at the last second. Also, aside from ending up with a free-roaming, road-ignoring camel in your face, there was no speed limit, and drivers usually exceeded 100 mph (or 162 kph on the speedometer).

At first, we went everywhere in those motor-home “buses”.

We worked Saturday to Wednesday; and, on Thursday there was a “bus” to Hafar Al Batin for shopping.