I live in a compound. This scares many Americans because it conjures up memories of Saudi oil ambushes and other infrequent occurrences. In reality, a compound is another word for subdivision except with tall concrete walls and guards. Very nice guards I should clarify because I seriously wouldn’t trust these guys to protect me. They mainly argue with housemaids and taxi drivers because they need to feel some sort of authority. This is directly due to the Arab kids bossing them around all the time and then the British kids start bossing them around too and then the Australian kids join in. Next thing you know we have a bunch of whipped security guards afraid of being deported due to a bunch of bossy kids. A new guy showed up the other day and gave me a little lip about entering without a pass so I sicked Mini on him.
The tall walls, on the other hand, are desperately needed because I live next door to the community crack heads. No, they are not really crack heads because we live in the Middle East where even Advil is closely monitored but these people otherwise fit the profile. Their place is a mess. Deflated bouncy toys every where, the swimming pool doesn’t have any water, their windows are cracked and broken, they have five different curtains on their windows, and a never-ending menagerie of animals that quack, bleat, hiss and moo all day and night. They are crack heads without crack.
On the other side of my villa, resides a very nice Egyptian/Swedish family. They are both very attractive people who recently went on an exercise frenzy that lasted approximately 2 1/2 weeks. They ran, squatted, and did sit-ups in the neighborhood garden every morning. I didn’t have the heart to tell them their mat was located directly on top of my dogs favorite dumping grounds. It was a long 2 1/2 weeks for me because my dog doesn’t like to dump just anywhere so I had to wait for them to give up on the fitness frenzy and move their mats. The exercise couple has one housemaid, one nanny, and three children. One wakes up very early in the morning and rings the door bell which is not a polite door bell, but something like I imagine the electric chair sounding. This scares the beans out of both me and the dogs who bust into a full chorus of all hell-is-breaking-loose at 7:00am.
On the other side of the exercise couple would’ve been my good friend, AAA Elize from South Africa, and her well-connected American husband, Carl, but the landlord wouldn’t fix their pool so they moved to the other side of the street outside the compound (boo-hoo). If they were still here life would definitely be different because Carl is a story-teller and he would share his endless stories of Sheik I-Have-More-Money-Than-God and all the fascinating things that happen in Saudi, Jordon, Qatar and Kuwait and Elize and I would be sharing expensive champagne. AAA Elize has a love/hate relationship with food. All food is shitty unless she loves it, and then, she really, really loves it. She will then say in her South African accent which is totally different from the British South African accent, “Gina, you must try this.” So of course I must try it because AAA Elize suggested it and she and Carl are the kind of people who walk on the red carpet, stand in front in front of the overly used sponsor backdrop, and then end up in magazines.
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