Believe me, I mostly rested the next day after Oran flew back to 'Udhailiyah. On Sunday morning I went to a Newcomers' Welcome Tea at the Women's Club Portable then walked to the Post Office with Marge Williams and Harriet Fretwell. Marge went on to my apartment with me, and we visited about the dance and future activities.
Monday, March 1st, I rode the bus to Dhahran, then on to Al-Khobar, where I met Pat Smyth. We shopped until the stores closed at Prayer Time, then caught a taxi to the Kamik Glass Restaurant on Pepsi Road. That was where Vicky and Keith had been taken by Mohommad, but I was disappointed in it, with both the food and atmosphere. I much preferred the Yildizar and the Floating Restaurants. There was no phone there either, and we had to flag down another local, "Kamakazi", taxi to take us back to Dhahran. Otherwise it was an uneventful, but tiring day.
Oran was due home again Wednesday evening, so I made a pie and put on a roast. The Kings came over after Oran got home to say goodbye before leaving that night on vacation. The Kauls and Adams came by also, and wanted us to go to the dance at the Golf Clubhouse with them. At first we said no, but then we went and had a good time. We all ate breakfast afterward in the Clubhouse Snack Bar. So much for good intentions, but we didn't want to miss anything. We both felt tired and drained the next morning, however, so we just took it easy all that day. I warmed the roast, potatoes, and carrots for our supper before we went to Estela and Bill Syphers for another party. It was very nice as well, but we were too tired from the dance the night before to really get with it.
Surprisingly, we didn't feel too bad on Friday, but we rested a lot. We visited and played a little bridge with the DeSantises, checked the Kings house, then went to Steindorfs for coffee and cake for Sandy and Jack Adams, who were leaving on vacation in two days. It rained all that night and continued through Saturday. People were wondering about all the rain there had been that year, very unusual. It had already set a record, and the desert was really green with plants and flowers. It had kept the temperature in the 70's. We got a leak in our bedroom ceiling, though. Most of the old houses started leaking, and there was so much new construction of new houses and other facilities, they couldn't get around to re-roofing for quite awhile. All they did was put a big sheet of plastic on the roof with sand bags (naturally) to hold it in place, temporarily.
On Monday, I caught the 7:30 a.m. bus to Al-Khobar with Shelia and Harriet, taking along my movie camera. On the way, our bus stopped to pick up many Arabs, whose bus had broken down. One of the women on our bus wasn't too happy about that and threatened to report it to Transportation. We took movies in front of the Dhahran Dining Hall before catching the bus on to Al-Khobar. After shopping until everything closed at Prayer Time, around 12 o'clock, Sheila and I stayed awhile longer to take movies of the streets of Al-Khobar and a sidewalk vendor. He was very friendly and cooperative and seemed to be enjoying the attention. He straightened his thobe and ghutra, or head scarf, sat on a folding stool in front of his merchandise, spread out on the ground around him, and gave us a big smile. When we finished, we took one of the local taxis back to Dhahran, but stopped on the way to take movies of the University of Petroleum and Minerals when we passed that. Some Arabs in that area weren't too happy about that, even tried to take our film, but we talked them out of that and went on to Dhahran – fast. We talked about our successful camera day while eating lunch at the Dining Hall before catching the 1:30 bus back to Abqaiq.
After playing bridge all the next day, I ran into Sheila and Kathi while checking the mail on the way home. We decided to check the King’s house, then went on to Sheila's, where we had wine before going to eat in the Dining Hall. It was sprinkling as we walked back to Sheila's. More visiting there put us into a very good mood. Then, for some reason, Kathi made a sudden move toward me after I told a funny joke, and before any of us could do a thing, Sheila's dog, Sammy, jumped up and bit Kathi on her bottom, and wouldn't let go, so was just hanging there. We were all shocked, but it was funny too. Sheila made Sammy turn loose, scolded him, and apologized to Kathi. Boy, was Kathi upset and mad. I don't blame her, but it was so sudden and unforeseen. Sheila called a taxi to take Kathi to the Clinic. The bite wasn't that bad, but the doctor treated it and gave her a tetanus shot. She was so embarrassed to have the doctor treating her on the bottom. We called our husbands to tell them what had happened. I disturbed a poker game Oran was playing in, but I bet all the guys got a good laugh out of his "shaggy dog" story.
When Oran arrived home Wednesday evening for the weekend, he said he had a depressing work week, but had won at poker, plus enjoyed the dog story, so that helped a bit. We just went to an art show in the East Lounge Saturday and a play in the movie theater that evening. It was rather slow, and we were getting restless, so we left after the first act. Not even the very loud music at the play party across the alley from our apartment disturbed our sleep that night.
Chris DeSantis came over Friday morning for coffee and ended up staying for breakfast. Marge came over later and we played some bridge. That evening, I made a salad and some garlic bread before we went to Sheila and Keith Kauls for a lovely dinner with the Steindorfs and Harvey Pederson. Besides the things I brought we had steak and baked potatoes. It was a very enjoyable evening. Sammy had been locked in the bedroom and all was forgiven.
Saturday, March 13th, 1976, after Oran flew back to 'Udhailiyah, Ruby Adams and I went to the Recreation Building, met other women, then caught a taxi to Ras Tanura to play in a Novice Duplicate Bridge Tournament. We arrived about 10:30 and went to Billie Yanikasis' house for Hors d'oeuvres with the players from Dhahran and Ras Tanura. We all went to the Recreation Building about 11:30, had lunch, and played bridge until 4 o'clock, when everybody returned to their various camps, except me. I would spend the night in Ras Tanura with the Smyths, so Pat and I went to her house. When Guy came home from work, we had a sandwich before going to the Bowling Alley, where they both bowled in a league that evening.
I caught the 7:30 bus to Dhahran the next morning. It had rained during the night and was still cloudy, so I didn't get to take movies in Sufwa that day, as the bus passed by it. Pat's sister, Phyllis Boyd, met my bus in Dhahran and then we caught the bus to Al-Khobar to shop and have lunch in the Yildizar Restaurant. On the way back to Abqaiq, sand was blowing across the road, so I took movies of that, as well as going into Abqaiq Camp.
At the Post Office, I ran into Kathi Steindorf who went to the Snack Bar with me. After our tea, I went back to the Post Office, where I ran into Sheila Kaul, so I went with her to take movies around camp before she left on vacation that night. On the way to her house, we ran into Marge Williams and Harriet Fretwell, who wanted me to go eat with them in the Dining Hall, but by that time I was too tired, so I just went home.
On Monday afternoon LuJean Yates, one of our neighbors, came over to finalize plans for our 7-unit apartment complex cookout planned for Saturday. Then I got my film ready to mail and took it to the Post Office. That was a productive trip, as I received a package from Mary and Leonard Dhaene, some friends of ours from Richardson, Texas. It was a picture of a camel painted on a piece of leather, which had been painted by Leonard (Dee). I also received a letter from Sharon and Jim Morris from their new home in Newport Beach, California. They would be staying there for 6 to 8 months, and their best news was that their shipment had been located in Beirut, Lebanon, on the dock. They still didn't know what shape it was in, but were thrilled to know it still existed.
Since I had been taking so many movies and sending them off to the States to be developed, I was thrilled to receive my first roll back. We had found out that we could borrow a projector from the Recreation Department to show it, but I wanted to wait until Oran got home Wednesday evening. I was really having fun with my new "toy" and was anxious to see what we had been able to capture on film of this fascinating country we were living in. But when he got home, we decided to go to the St. Patrick's Dance at the Golf Clubhouse. No one from our group was there, so we didn't stay too long. We wanted to get ready for the rest of the weekend activities, anyway. That would be another trip to Ras Tanura with a bit of a different twist.
We caught the 7:30 bus to Dhahran the next day, Thursday, and were met there by Phyllis and her husband, Roy Boyd. They drove us to their house, where we had breakfast, before driving together to Pat and Guy's in Ras Tanura. Pat had made arrangements for us to stay with other friends of theirs, Dottie and Noel King, so we were taken there. That evening we all got dressed up to the hilt and had drinks in the King's super-neat, atmospheric bar room with the Smyths, Boyds, Art and Darlene Moehlenbruck, and Vic Reese. Then we drove outside Ras Tanura Camp to Rahima, the home camp of all, other than Aramco Senior Staff employees, and some Construction Companies Compounds. This St. Patrick's Day Dinner-Dance would be in the Fluor Construction Company Compound and was always looked forward to by the women, as there would be tons of bachelors available to dance with. Sure enough, we had a wonderful evening, including the husbands. The upbeat, fun attitude of the women under circumstances like that always seemed to rub off on the husbands, too.
After the dance, we drove back into Ras Tanura Camp in a festive mood, so we continued our dancing in the King's bar room 'til the wee hours. We managed to drag ourselves out of bed the next morning about 10:00 a.m., have some V-8 juice, then walked to the Surf House (Recreation Building), the beach, and among the beach row houses, taking pictures.
About 11:45, we went to the Moehlenbruck’s and joined the others for a delicious brunch. Darlene was such a good cook. Phyllis and Roy were driving back to Dhahran after that, so we went back to Smyth's house to see them off before going to collect our bags from the Kings. We said our thank yous and goodbyes, and returned to the Smyth’s for a short, much needed nap. We had decided to catch a ride back to Abqaiq on the bus with the Junior Tennis Group, who had been in Ras Tanura that weekend for a tournament. It was going to be later, so we had chili in the Surf House Snack Bar, then caught the bus at 6:30. That turned out to be a big mistake, especially after the weekend we had, as it was a very nerve wracking trip home. The kids in the back of the bus were playing extremely loud rock and roll type music, while the Arab bus driver was playing very loud Arabic music from the front. It was a very long two hour drive, so we welcomed the relief when we drove into the Abqaiq Camp main gate at 8:30.
Fortunately for Oran, the next day, Saturday, March 20th, was a holiday as well, so we were able to sleep late. This was the day of our 7-unit apartment complex picnic, though, so after having a big breakfast, I got the hamburger patties and beans ready, while Oran helped set up the card tables and chairs on the porch and the grills in the yard. At 2:00 o'clock, the neighbors gathered outside, introduced themselves to each other if they hadn't already met, then visited. The men cooked the burgers while the women, who had brought various foods, set up everything on the tables. Everything was progressing nicely and beginning to turn into a very successful affair, but then it started sprinkling. The tables were under the roof on the porch, but we decided it would be better to eat, and it was a good thing we did, as we had barely finished that when it started raining really hard, and got cold as well, so everyone went back to their own apartments.
Bob and Cissy Mitchell had asked us to bring our film to watch on their projector, and since we had been too busy on the weekend to see it, we were glad to have that opportunity. We were very pleased with the results of our camera.
It continued to rain hard all that night. Oran caught the plane to 'Udhailiyah the next morning, even though it was still raining, but the pilot couldn't find the airstrip there because of the bad weather, so flew back to Abqaiq. All the men had breakfast in the Dining Hall, then rode to 'Udhailiyah on a bus, arriving about 1 o'clock. Oran hated it when that happened. I had gotten up that morning rather late, then gone to the King's house to check for any leaks. I had to wade through water to get to the front door, but there was no damage inside.
After lunch, I went to Marge Williams to visit, then to see Estela Syphers to tell her about our weekend in Ras Tanura. Although I didn't know her from the early days when we lived in Arabia, she and Bill had lived in Ras Tanura as well, before he was transferred to Abqaiq and 'Udhailiyah to work on the Water Injection Project, and we knew a lot of the same people there.