Thai version

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Guard

It was September, 1977 in Khamis Mushayt. I needed to change some Saudi Riyals into US dollars. At that time Khamis Mushayt did not have a lot of places that you could do this. The Riyadh Bank was one of the places most of us went to do that. I was waiting in front of the bank. The doors was open to the bank like they was ready for business however ever time I went to the door the military guard that had a automatic Belgium rifle would stop me. They never post hours because the prayer times change every day and the places close at prayer time. However when they do close for prayer they usually close and lock their doors. I try a couple more times with the same results. The military guard keeps stopping me from entering the bank.

I had tried to talk to the military guard. However it seemed that he only spoke Arabia. I finally tried with my best sign language pointing to my watch to find out what time they would open. The guard looked into the bank with a very strange look then back to me then back into the bank.

Finally he handed me his rifle and motioned for me to stay their and he went into the bank. He came back with a note and handed it to me as I handed back the rifle to the military guard. I read the note. It said the bank would open in 10 minutes. I waited and went into the bank and got the Saudi Riyals changed to US dollars.

I guess that the guard was told to never take his rifle into the bank. Then when I wanted to know when the bank would open he did not really know what to do. So he just handed me his rifle and went into the bank to find out what time it would open. I wonder what he would of done if that I had been a bank robber. Latter in Saudi Arabia people started robbing banks. The robbers were usually from Somalia, Sudan, or some other poor African country. Also they would rob the large gold shops. They had a large amount of gold in their shops. Guess that this was just too much of a temptation for a lot of the really poor people. Seeing all of the gold and wanting to take it home with them. For stealing a hand was chopped on o a Friday. However if they killed somebody they had their head chopped off, I had to witness a couple of these.

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