There once was a girl name Miss Amy. And one day miss Amy's car broke down. Now, in normal circumstances, this might seem like an ordinary everyday type of problem. But, Miss Amy lived in Bahrain, a Middle Eastern country near Saudi Arabia. And her car broke down, during the scorching month of August. It gets so hot during the summer that one literally gets drenched in sweat the moment they step out the door. Eating ice cream cones outside, impossible. Morning stroll around the block, torturous. And don't even think about wearing makeup because it will melt off your face before you can say butter and biscuits.
Bahrain is a predominately Muslim country and the month of August not only marks the hottest month on the calendar but it also marks the celebration of Ramadan. During this time the country comes to a standstill and most of the stores are closed until sunset. Miss Amy found it difficult to do much during that time and she spent an awful amount of time indoors. Most of the restaurants are closed until sundown. You can't eat out. The bars are locked up. You can't drink water in public. And forget about chewing gum in public or you will get deathly stares from the locals.
So, one blissful day in August, Miss Amy ventured out into the sweltering heat during her lunch break at work. Her mission? To apply for an Indian visa at the Indian Embassy. Forgetting that complications could possibly arise due to the holiday, she set out makeup-less in search of the Embassy. She parked her car. Check. She locked the car door. Check. And she proceeded to the Embassy doors, excitement rising as she thought about her upcoming trip to India. As she got closer to the entryway, she noticed that the gates were locked. Disappointed, she squinted to read the notice on the embassy doors that stated the office was closed due to the holiday. Strike one for Ramadan.
As she walked back to her car, she sadly concluded that her trip would have to be postponed to allow time for the visa approval. While deep in thought, she went through the motions of unlocking the car door, throwing her bag in the bag seat out of habit, and pushing the keys into the ignition. The only thing that awoke her from her thoughts was the fact that the car wasn't starting, She held her breath, shrugged her shoulders, and told herself that it must be her imagination. After several unsuccessful attempts to start the car, her fears became a reality. It was time for Miss Amy to face the cold hard facts; her car had died.
Not quite sure what to do, as she felt panic rising in her heart, she called the taxi company she had previously entered into her phone for emergencies. The voice on the phone sounded sleepy as he informed her that there were no working taxis due to the holiday. "Okay." She thought in her mind, strike two for Ramadan. So, she did the only thing a girl could do in that moment…start walking. Mind you, she was wearing her work clothes and high heels. Sweat drenched down her face as she started walking back to work which was a few miles away. While walking, she was propositioned by an Arab man. "As if?" She thought to herself. Walking outside in the Middle East has its own complications. Men seem to think they can buy anything, including a professional looking woman, sweating to death, and walking outside in the 130 degree weather. Strike three for Ramadan.
Eventually, she found herself out of breath, desperate, and at the doorstep of a shabby hotel. In she walked, relieved to be in the presence of air-conditioning. She rushed to the desk clerk and proceeded to sputter, "PLEASE HELP ME."
To be continued…
Car Batteries and Body Bags- Part 2
Car Batteries and Body Bags-Part 3