Saturday, 12 May 2012

Forgotten Images 2

Thought I'd share a little snapshot of my time in Arabia. During my spell there, I photographed one or two very powerful people which I'll talk about later. But it's strange to think that at the time these particular shots were taken, I was living in a brick factory, (second picture down on left) while enjoying afternoon drinks at a millionaires beach house and hob-nobbing with State Governors and Princes. (pictures below it). In the evenings I would often be found as the only male allowed in the female-only side of a Saudi wedding. (middle picture, top). 

There being no bars, clubs, theatres or cinemas, just about the only thing to do was go scuba-diving and get privately rat-arsed on illegal hooch which I, along with almost everyone else of course, brewed. The brick factory episode came about after being made homeless when my original sponsor decided to end his contract with my employer who then returned to the UK. Finding myself on my own, not really knowing anyone  but at the same time not really keen to return to depression era Britain (nothing much changes huh) and having virtually no money or transport, I naturally decided to stay.  

Amazingly, an English acquaintance who managed this brick factory came to my rescue and offered me a spare room in their accommodation over the workshop he and another English guy shared while they were there on contract. So for the next six months as I found my feet and a new Saudi sponsor, this was my home. Waking up at dawn to a gentle massage from the heavy machinery outside and enjoying cooked meals from the resident Somali cook in the evenings, the three of us squeezing into the small room next to his tiny kitchen. 

I was often away on assignment all over the country, flying and staying first class everywhere I went, but it was always a joy to return to that noisy and dusty factory. Not for the living standard, but for the camaraderie of a shared and difficult environment that far outweighed the harsh circumstances. I had an absolute ball; living rough and easy, yet also enjoying the high life. 

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