Friday, February 25, 2011

evenings with the shebab.

I have very recently returned to running on the regular. This is extremely exciting to me, as it allows me to do things that I have not previously been able to do (i.e. walk up stairs while having a conversation, tie my shoes without getting out of breath...). The only issue with this is that I don't have a lot of places to go running so I am limited to running on the Corniche (beach front road). You're probably saying, "Tyler, what's the problem? You get to run on the beach everyday...stop complaining." This would be great, but along with the view of the Gulf and the Bahrain causeway, there are the shebab, or young men.

There's not a lot to do in Saudi Arabia. Especially if you're a young man. No cinemas...they're not even allowed in malls without their families. There's also the issue of Bahrain being...well...out of order. The sheesha places here have also been closed because they were viewed as a "bad element" in the neighborhood. So what can they do? Apparently just sit on the Corniche sidewalk or in their cars and text, smoke cigarettes, and barbecue. They also really enjoy hanging out of moving car windows, driving really fast, and of course honking at everything. They get so loud sometimes that it freaks us out...but hey, they're shebab.

Because the only place to run is the Corniche, I end up spending a lot of time with the shebab. This means I get honked at a lot. I also end up having to get off the sidewalk sometimes because they've literally camped out right there. It's been pretty interesting. Most of the time they're so involved in their BBMing they don't say or do anything. However, sometimes I get the Arabic equivalent of "Run Forrest Run" (which by the way is "yalla, yalla!").

Ultimately, it's not bad enough to make me want to stop running there, but it is funny and a little sad that they don't have anything better to do. I think after awhile of running on the Corniche, it won't be a novelty...but then again I'm literally the only person I've seen doing anything remotely exercise related out there. But until either jogging becomes a socially acceptable activity or they find something better to do...I'll be spending my evenings with the shebab on the Corniche.

Vicariously yours,

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