Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I am not a terrorist! My earth hour experience in Jeddah

Oh no don't be alarmed about the title of my entry. Well let me explain and tell it to you about this.Don't you worry I'm fine and still breathing, I'm free and amazingly alive and kicking and enjoying the freedom of life here in Jeddah,Saudi Arabia. Maybe you have noticed about the gap of time from the last entry that i made here. It took me for almost six months for not to have an updates about my life here as a pinoy expat in Saudi. There is a compelling reason about why it took me so long to update my blog because of one experience that i had encountered here and that was so traumatic on my part that i blamed myself because of this hobby and that is blogging.Alas!Now I do have the courage and I'm inspired to blog again and forget the past and not to dwell on that bad experience and so life must go on because once a blogger always a blogger.

I was so excited that time to experience for the very first time about the Earth hour in Saudi Arabia. From the videos and photos posted on the net from the previous Earth hour done from different parts of the world it gave me an idea to participate and so curious about it on what will happen especially here in Saudi Arabia. It so happened that time was my day-off so no work for me.One blogger based in Jeddah emailed me if i am interested to participate, all i have to do is to take photos of the restaurants and other business establishment or my activity that I'm going to do about Earth hour and share the photos and will be posted on his blog.

A brilliant idea i had that time is to take photos of the Jeddah fountain because for me it is one of the famous landmark of Saudi Arabia and lots of restaurant scattered around the place and hotels as well and very accessible from my accommodation.One of my friend also invited me for a dinner and to try one of the restaurant in a hotel near the fountain and to meet him after his work.I said yes to my friend for a plan to have a dinner on that restaurant.I went to Al hamra ,Corniche Jeddah early an hour before the earth hour.I have an opportunity to take some photos of the area for a comparison a before and after activities of an hour of dark night .

So disappointed because the fountain during earth hour is still well lighted and working. So it mean to say not a participant for the earth hour and so with other establishment around the area and business as usual.But the good news about the fountain during the day it is not working so maybe that is the earth hour for this magnificent fountain.

Upon walking and searching for a participant of earth hour im so lucky that time because i found one, i accidentally passed on this hotel.

Lights were turned off .Armed with my mini camera i took some photos.

So excited i took photos,clicking my camera here and there.

While taking photos my friend Bob from Riyadh is calling on my phone and i answered his call and we do have a conversation about the earth hour according to him that earth hour is not a big deal on the capital city. But here comes the BIG problem.I haven't noticed because it was dark in the area but i heard someone is yelling and the voice is approaching towards me.

I saw a man,a black and strong and almost six feet tall masculined man.So snappy with his uniform armed with a long gun attached across his back as if he is a man in a battlefield,not an ordinary gun and not an ordinary or regular security guard for me, a few meters away his armored car is waiting for him and waiting for me as one of his passenger.He is a soldier.He start to speak to me in little english and arabic and he is trying hes best to talk in english.While talking to me in a loud authoritative scary voice he grabbed my mobile phone forcefully.While talking he is dragging me going to his armored car as if i am a rugged or voodoo doll ready to use on his ritual.I am very hesitant to follow.I asked him what i have done wrong in my little arabic "esh fi mushkila sadiq?'.I am struggling to go out of that situation but what can i do he is pushing me going to the armored car.So much scared that all i can hear is the deafening sound of my heartbeat,my legs were shaking,a butterfly on my stomach.I am so puzzled on what is my violation.He said no need for talking this time all i have to do is to follow his order for interrogation.Interrogation?I said it loud almost shouting with my teary eyes.You are a suspect for terrorism!!!!Terrorism?He is asking on what group i belong,who is my boss while checking my mobile phone.He saw me talking on my mobile phone before and asked if that is my boss.He said i am secret agent doing a surveillance of the hotel.What?a secret agent of a terrorist group.He asked me on what i am doing in the dark and why i am taking photos. Feel dizzy that time OMG!!!Im going to jail and experience earth hour for the rest of my life.I am now a suspect and i am guilty unless i can prove to him that i am innocent.Im sweating but i feel so cold.All i have to do that time is to pray,calling all the angels and saints that i knew but impossible because they are not welcome in Saudi because it is a muslim country.Kidding aside he kept on talking to his walkie talkie i dont understand that much because it is in pure arabic.He ask me to help him to operate my camera so that he can see the photos but after how many minutes the camera turned off because the battery is empty that time.I composed myself and try to talk to him on a diplomatic way on the best way i could.I gain confidence again and show to him that i am a good man, a peace loving man and explain to him about the earth hour.Not yet convinced he asked my iqama my resident permit.I explain my work to him.While talking and standing in front of him near his armored car I saw his reaction on his face as if he saw an angel with a spread wings and a halo that appeared on me. He looks so amazed.He touched my shirt and examined it as if i am a model doing a full turn just to scrutinize what i am wearing.I saw smile on his face.My saviour just arrived.He is now good to me and as if he is now my servant.He obeys and follow my request to give back my mobile phone,my camera and my iqama.My t-shirt is my saviour because what im wearing is a picture of King Abdullah the King of Saudi Arabia.The soldier read what is written on my shirt which is in arabic "kulo na abnaok" in english it says Brother to all.Im loving now this shirt that i bought in a souvenir shoppe in serafi mega mall.The soldier now was so convinced that i am a peace loving person.He asked me now in a friendly manner.As a sign of friendship and peace i offer him a firm handshake.He let me go as if nothing happened.I waved my hand and say good bye to him and walk slowly but i feel so tired that time of that emotional torture experience i had.I feel so agitated that all i have to do is to walk,thinking what happened,walk and walk until i noticed i reached my home.I walked that far.Yes very far and i laughed at myself i fell so crazy that time.At home my friend is calling at my mobile phone for a dinner.I made an excuse that im not feeling well that all i have to do is to sleep.That experience i keep as a secret to my friends. That's all folks my unforgettable experience in KSA...