Everything here bewilders: the Rubik’s cube offices, heavy scent of oud, constant Arabic chatter around me; and now, trying to keep up with the antics of the incredible cast of my new friends.
The immigration officer is immensely tall and thin, so his limbs and hands appear to drip from him as he glides around the offices, like an eel. The ID card girls, all giggles and sweets. Their office resembles a Cadbury’s factory, and each time I go there I am forced to eat sweets, from a three-foot high and wide teacup.
I share an office with a pallid New Zealander, who looks like an angel fallen to earth, and who is utterly paranoid about being deported, getting sunburnt, and touching any surface. It’s germ warfare every few minutes.
There are various rather flirty local men, all a bit alcohol raddled.
The Australian primary care project manager is a massive, Burmese cat-like creature, who is so larger than life, knows everyone and flits around stirring up parties and fun everywhere. He wails like James Brown, or a half strangulated cat, every few minutes.
And then, there is Mad Mozah from Yemen. She works in HR and is at total war with all the expats in her department, and all the local girls, in fact everyone. I have never encountered such squabbling. She’s been assigned to me to help me settle. This has entailed being kidnapped for an entire day and night and taken to her home, stuffed with food, and barraged with so much petty office politics and gossip that by the end my ears were bleeding. Working in HR, she knows everything about everyone. She always seems to be at the centre of any trouble, insanely emotional and takes offence at the slightest thing. Stilettos fly about the place daily.