After nine weeks in the hotel, our new compound finally opened up to us and four of us made the move over the weekend (in Saudi Arabia, that would be Friday and Saturday). Riyadh Village is one of the oldest western compounds in the area, but after years of abandonment followed by years of refurbishment, it now serves the western expat community here in Riyadh. The remainder of our company's western personnel will make the move here over the next couple of weeks.
I haven't seen so many Brits living in one place since Afghanistan and the UK before that. The bulk of the occupants here are British and that includes a few from my company. Very friendly and welcoming to us "Yanks," even though none of the Americans here are Yankee -- we're mostly from California and the South.
The compound has a very nice restaurant/pub and a set of swimming pools, tennis courts, basketball courts, and sports a Saudi Army live fire range next door. Last night, I watched red tracers flying damn near everywhere. I don't think the Saudis have an appreciation for the concept of range fans and impact areas. A Brit at lunch today told me that he finds bullets all over the compound that were fired into the air over us. He didn't find it as amusing as I did.
The only disadvantage of living here, apart from getting hit by stray fire, is this place is out in the boondocks. It's another 17 kilometers away from where we work. And while I'm starting to get the hang of driving on the roads here and sharing them with the worst drivers from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, I witnessed my first instance of "Drifting" today. If you don't know what that means, here's a YouTube video:
I love watching these clips. Anyway, back to the compound. Here's a shot of my villa. While it's a little drafty during the night, and the feral cats tend to nest in it, it does have TV and a satellite connection with lots of channels. So, who's complaining?
As rough as the outside might look, and again, apart from a few unsightly bullet holes, the insides have been totally refurbished. I'm finding it quite comfortable. The only thing missing now is my wife's presence.