Flying in the Land of Sand and Sun

Flying in the Land of Sand and Sun

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A pilot retires after 38 years from the worlda€™s largest oil company. He accepts a job in another country halfway around the world. His experience flying the cream of business jets is just what his new employer is looking for. He finds it necessary to adapt to his new environment and new associates. The new employer is General Arab Medical Service who supplies workers for the Saudi Arabian Military service. The job entails flying not only high ranking military, medical evacuation, but also members of the Royal Family. The missions are with a mixed crew of copilots, nurses/hostess, doctors, and engineers. Their nationalities are from all over the world. You need to know that in aviation, the world language is English. The mixup due to language difficulties are mostly humorous, but in at least one case almost deadly. A young man from Texas can be surprised from what he finds the people and customs are in New York on his first visit. A young man from New York can find the people and customs in Texas as surprising. A friend and I were standing on a sidewalk looking in a show window in Wichita Falls, Texas when a lady got out of her car and approached us. a€œYoung man can I ask you a question?a€ a€œWhy yes Mam, what is it.a€ She pointed at my feet, a€œDona€™t those things hurt youa€™re feet?a€ She was asking about the boots I was wearing. a€œWhy no Mam they dona€™ta€ She turned with look of not understanding and went back to her car which I noticed was wearing Ohio license plates. That was in 1942 and I still remember what my friend and I talked about later. a€œYou reckon that lady never saw cowboy boots before?a€ a€œI dona€™t know. Maybe she never saw a horse before.a€ So many years later the same fellow sees people and customs that are completely strange. They speak English, and eat with a knife and fork (most do) and they want to imitate the western world very much. Of course Ia€™m speaking of those that I came in personal contact with. As a reader you must remember their country was only born in 1932. It had no means of entering seriously into world commerce until oil was discovered. Then suddenly they as a country became very rich almost over night. The King made decisions without the help of a Legislature. So, he decided where the money went. The Royal Family got an early cut and infrastructure was on the early list as well. If there was a need for a road, he just told some contractor to build the road, a€œAnd make it out of concrete. That asphalt stuff just melts and runs away over here in the desert.a€ Well, if you have roads then you need cars, so the King calls Japan and says, a€œSend me over a boat load of those little pickups you make.a€ a€œWell, ok your Highness. What color do you want.a€ a€œI dona€™t know, just mix them up, Ok?a€ The Japanese boat arrived and the King tried to give them to the Bedouins from the desert. The nomads only accepted the white ones, all other colors were sent back to Japan. Everyone know that dark colors are no good in the heat. Do you find that humorous? Well, I do. But what do you expect? A tall apartment building in downtown Riyadh is standing empty on the day of my arrival and on the day of my departure. The King had it built for the Bedouins to use . . . for free. The occasion of celebrating the gift from the King, the Bedouins asked, a€œWhere do we put our camels and goats?a€ a€œWell, you wona€™t need them here.a€ The gift was rejected straight-away (as the Brits say). Do you find that interesting? Well, I do. How about this. I asked one of my Saudi copilots, a€œWhat is your goal?a€ a€œWhat do you mean?a€ a€œI mean what are you working for. What do you hope for in the future?a€ a€œOh, I see what you mean. Well, Ia€™m saving my money to buy a camel and move out on the desert.a€ a€œYou mean you would leave your job in aviation, living in a house with indoor plumbing, electricity, and air conditioning to move into a tent in the desert?a€ a€œSure, whata€™s wrong with that?a€ Well, the timeHer VW was hardly scratched. ... I could replace the whole bumper in Houston for twenty dollars at the wrecking yard. ... glad to fix her car; in fact, I told her that I would pay to have it repaired, or if she wanted to leave it, we would do it right then.

Title:Flying in the Land of Sand and Sun
Author:James D. Fox
Publisher:Xlibris Corporation - 2013-02-05


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