After the news of Bangkok Phil's father, I had to get away.
It was the weekend and I went out into the desert to think.
A couple of days of silence and solitude work wonders for the mind.
There are these little towns just outside the Rub al Khali, that border Northern Yemen.
The heat swelters and the dust swirls and the land and sky melt into this hysterical blindness.
When I returned it was night and even though my legs were pounding and throbbing, I put on my running clothes and went for a jog around the compound. Again, the little boys and girls that live inside came out and started running in circles around me.
Taunting and threatening me. They flipped me off. The ran directly in my path to make me stumble. They stood on the sides and threw bottles and cans at my feet as if I were part of a video game, not a real person just trying to clear his body and mind with some exercise. That particular night, there was a muslim woman dressed in full black abaya gown, sitting on her porch watching her seven children throwing bottles at me as I made turn after turn around the mosque. Finally, I stopped directly in front of her and raised my voice. I didn't scream, not a yell, but I spoke directly to her... saying, "I'm a father. I have children of my own. I am a teacher and a guest in this country. If my children acted the way yours do, I would be mortified. Shame on you. Shame on you for doing nothing."
She just stared at me. Just completely stared through her veil. I could see her eyes looking back full of dismay. Her children laughing at me, cursing in Arabic, continuing to throw bottles at my feet. I suppose she could have had me arrested for speaking to her, she could have had me in a lot of trouble for addressing a muslim woman in my little running shorts. Who knows what she was thinking... possibly, that her children were judgement enough.