Saudi Arabia trip prep

It’s time for another trip. This time I’m going to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and I leave in less than 20 hours. They are starting four new science centers in the country and are looking for training in informal and non-formal education techniques. I’ll be over there for about a week and plan to post photos and stories while I’m there. Here’s a quick update on the progress so far.

This trip was first discussed about a year ago, but the plans fell through. Talk began again in May or June with the plan to go over in August. Since I’d been down this road once before, I was happy to meet and discuss the training, but wasn’t convinced it was going to happen. As expected, the August training got pushed back to September, then early October, before settling on November 1 – 5.

When I went to Abu Dhabi five years ago, I thought it strange that my ticket wasn’t purchased until 36 hours before I was schedule to fly out. That seemed like cutting things a little close. Turns out, that might be standard operations for business travel to the Middle East. Although my ticket was purchase almost six days before I fly out, I still don’t have my passport back from the embassy with my visa. I’ve been told not to worry. It’s being overnighted from California and will arrive within the hour… We’ll see.

I’ve tried to learn a few Arabic phrases and I suspect one will be more useful than all the other combined on this trip. I have no idea how it’s actually spelled, but it’s pronounced “mafi mush-kalla”. It means “no problem”. While on the Night Train in Kenya, a bunch of us from different countries discussed this concept. No worries; don’t sweat it; hakuna matata; she be right; it’s all good. Now I’ve got one more to add to the list. Considering many of the materials they are supposed to have for the training have not yet arrived (or the wrong parts were ordered), I suspect this phrase will get a lot of use.

Well, time to pack. Then go see if my passport has arrived back in Boise yet. I’m looking forward to an exciting trip.

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