Sunday, July 30, 2006

Riyadh's American Embassy

The other day my family had to stop by the American embassy in Riyadh for some passport stuff. Being there gave me the weirdest sensation because i felt that here was the meeting of the two ends of the spectrum: America and Saudi Arabia. The two countries that love to hate and can't live with or without each other. I was, physically and metaphorically, smack dab in the middle of that spectrum, with each pole trying to pull me over to its end.

I ended up writing in my journal while waiting for my mom in the car. I thought it might make an interesting read, so here goes nothing:

We’re entering the American Embassy in Riyadh.
For a moment, as we neared the armored cars and checkpoints and soldiers with machine guns, I felt my pulse quicken. It was like a scene in those movies where the happy family is casually talking about the day’s plans and suddenly getting blown to
smithereens. It was a weird feeling, because I consider myself a rational person, and I don’t get randomly scared. But I held my breath as the guard let us through, and the moment passed.
We had to park far from the embassy and Mama had to walk there. On top of that, the road to the embassy wasn’t marked. We had to ask around once we got inside the complex it was located in.
Baba said the American embassy in Jeddah closed down after the attack two years ago.
And so we sit here in the car and wait.

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