Monday, December 26, 2016

1976 Joe's Saudi Arabia Letter -Dec.28

December 28, 1976
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Dear Uncle Harold, Aunt Jean and Mary Virginia,

Your letter was dated Oct. 18 and I'm just getting it!  The mail system doesn't function well here.  Just recently the one and only Post Office had a fire in the international mail room which destroyed a lot of letters.  I know for a fact that many of my letters written have never reached their destination.

I have been living in an apt. downtown for 2 and a half months but just last week I was moved to Rayville whisch is an American community built by Raytheon about 10 kilometers from Jeddah.  It is in the desert.  I must depend on a bus service everyday to get about.  Near my apartment building there are about 50 camels that graze on the trash in the dump - yard in the afternoon.  At one horizon you can see the bare mountains that work towards Mecca.  I live in a Pre-Fab house – very modern with 2 rooms + kitchen and bath.  I have hung a few of my paintings and masks from Senegal.  I finally got my air freight shipment which was sent by sea.  Sometimes boats must wait 5 months before they can unload their cargo.  I was very lucky to get my stuff after 3 months.

You are always welcome in Saudi Arabia.  If we get together it will not be as easy this time – I do not have another vacation until the 1st of September and I hope then to take a vacation in the U.S.A.  I work 8 hours a day!  I wake up at 5a.m. to take a bus and get home around 3:30 in the afternoon.  Hotel rooms are expensive here over 100 dollars a night for 1 person.  Raytheon was paying $1,500 a month for the apt. I was living in downtown!  If you come you will be able to stay at my place but it will be like camping in the desert!  Perhaps on a weekend I could fly with you to Riyadh or Ta'if for 2 days.  They say it's not very expensive to fly in country – you would need to rent a car and while I taught school you could get about easily.  There is really nothing to see in Jeddah.  Can you believe that?  It's like a mining town during the Calif. gold rush!  Construction sites all over the place!  I wish I were back in Senegal!  Well I wish you a very Happy New Year and hope to see you in Jeddah.

My trips to Greece, Italy, Tunisia and Egypt was exciting – Now it's all WORK and no play!

Love, Joe

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