I asked the driver where we were heading and how long it would take us to get there. “Whoa” was the only thing I could say when he replied it would take about an hour to get to the hospital in Jubail. I thought they would be bringing me to my accommodation first to at least have a few hours of sleep after all that traveling; at this time, I had been a walking zombie for 32 hours. For weird reasons, I did not feel as heavy-eyed as I should be having been awake that long, maybe because I was so anxious to crash head on with what was in store for me on the way to my new work place. I took this, though, as an opportunity to sightsee what Dammam-Jubail had to offer, and sightsee these easternmost cities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia I did.
I already exchanged numbers with Harold when we were about to leave the Philippines. Being on my own at a foreign airport, I tried reaching him to ask where in the world they could be and why they left me behind. The least they could have done was wait for me and relay the next steps that I needed to undertake. I was clueless about what to do next that I went outside the airport to see if they happened to be there waiting for me. I was approached by an Arab and asked what I was doing there. I was fraught and sleepless that I did something stupid: get out of the airport premises. I replied that I was just waiting for somebody and decided it was better to wait inside, which the Arab agreed was the best thing to do, expressed in broken English and hand gestures. Harold’s message came some minutes later. It said that somebody came by to pick them up and that my name was not on the list of new hires the driver was to bring to the hospital in Dammam. I was dumbfounded; this was not something I signed up for. There was no heads-up that this was supposed to happen. I was left hanging, in the Middle East of all places.
I cannot believe that I am in the Middle East now. It was a long but exciting 10-hour trip from Manila to Qatar because I was taking everything in; it was my first time to live and work abroad. I also got to sample Qatar Airways five-star service, watched about three films on board and listened to their eclectic music collection on the way to Doha. The e-ticket stated that we would be arriving in Qatar around 9:00 PM. We left the Philippines at 4:00 in the afternoon, so at first, I thought it would just take five hours to get to our destination. I totally forgot that we crossed about five time zones to get to Qatar. My biological clock was going ballistic that I was awake for 24 hours thanks to this incident, which I will elaborate later. From Doha, we then waited for our flight bound for Dammam, Saudi Arabia. It will be in Dammam where my two-year stay and adventure in the Middle East begins.