Monday, July 20, 2009

Prasheel in Oman: Let the Shows Begin

So, apparently Fahad (one of the dudes that's basically around to take care of us and make sure we're good) knows some girl that MCs, and she's supposed to announce our shows. On the first day, for our first show, she neglects to show up. Also, our show becomes very delayed as we have to wait around on a sound system to show up. The stuff arrives eventually, but they don't set it up correctly, so we just get one speaker going, and only playing one side of the it basically sounds like garbage. As well, half of us haven't done shows with each other, and all of this combined, makes for one terrible show.

After this, we head back to our change room for a little bit to cool off, as its still insanely hot out, despite the fact that it starts raining. We head back to the little internet booth in the fair, and try to lurk the internet from outside of it, but head in to the glass building to protect ourselves from the heavy misting. It's good to finally check emails and facebook and catch up with what's going on back home, as this place truly feels like a different world.

The misting continues, and our second show gets rained out. The brand new ramps (two quarter pipes and a jump box) are getting soaked, but we eventually tarp up the jump box. We wander around the festival a little bit, try to get in to the market place tent (which is insanely huge), but get turned away, as Thursday is a 'family day'...even though Devin and I lied and claimed we were brothers, oh well. What does suck a bit though is that throughout the week, there are four 'family days', one 'womens days', and only two 'general public days'. What this means, is that even though we were brought over to perform for them, we're only allowed in to the market place 8 times over the course of the next month.

We get home, eat, celebrate (drink), and watch The Hangover, and eventually get some rest.

The next day, Pat and Andrew, two of our managers, head to the airport to start their long journey home. Mohamad shows up unexpectedly at 4 o clock, even though we only have to be at the show site at 5pm. We try to go to the bank to exchange money, but because Fridays are their religious days, the bank is not open. Instead, we head to Lulu shopping center again, which is a mall that sells a variety of pretty much every thing. Devin buys himself a notebook similar to mine, and Matt contemplates the same, but forgot to bring the money for it. I take another look at some glasses I'm thinking about getting, but since I don't know my perscription (my mom emailed it to me, but I forgot to write it down and have a lack of internet to check again), I can't get them yet, sigh.

We head to the show site, I manage to sneak in to the market tent from the back, and quickly take a look around, noticing lots of blingin' watches for not very many I'll probably acquire one of these soon. I head out of the tent and to the change room, then we all head out to warm up.

The rain plus our warm up really do a number to our ramps, as the bottom portions are all getting torn up after being soggy, we get both shows done regardless, and they're much better than the day before, even with us still missing our announcer. Like usual, we leached internet in between as well.

We start heading back to the house and grab some snacks and drinks (I bought a Snickers Cruncher, and a non-alcoholic pineapple flavoured Barbican premium malt beverage), and Haithym (another one of the organizers that looks after us) shows up with pizza for us. Despite us apparently getting a per diem for food, they still deliver food to us twice a day, but its usually the same thing over on a regular basis.

The next day (day 3), Ben and Will headed to the show site early to do some repairs on the ramp, while the rest of us over slept and missed our driver Mohammed showing up to take us out for some shopping. He ended up returning a couple hours later, rather unexpectedly, and took us out. Along the way, he told us, in way too much detail, his escapades the previous night, which revolved around him picking up a prostitute and getting a hotel room. I managed to get some of it on video, so hopefully I can get that in to an edit and put it up. As well, despite liquor usually being hard to obtain, he claimied he could get us 2L of whiskey for 7 riyals, so we agreed, just to see what he would bring us.

Went to the show site, got to do some shopping, as the market was finally open for everyone that day. Over there, people haggle like its a sport. I ended up haggling for a watch pretty early, and even though I still wanted to look around at the other booths (lots of which were selling watches), I got a really hilarious watch for half the asking price, so took it. Also found a really funny 'New Era' fitted cap, also for really cheap. Together, I think I spent under $25.

Shows went well, went to the market plaza afterwards, Mohammed got our whiskey, ditched us for a while, then eventually returned with bags of shawarma for us. Got home, ate, and ended up going through the whiskey rather quickly. Ben and Will retired pretty early, but Matt, Julian, Devin, and I stayed up drinking most of the night. The usual hijinx I suppose; we drank, converesed about a ton of topics, destroyed Matt's new RC car, cut Julian's hair, etc. Of the four of us, I called it quits the earliest, at 6am, when they were heading out to the convenience store to find something to eat.

The next day, most of us slept through pretty much the whole day. Went to the show site, despite it misting out. Sundays, at the fair, are women only days, and we are confined to just our show site and our change room (which is located next to the worst smelling bathroom in Oman I'm pretty sure). Basically, Sundays suck, as it feels like we're prisoners, with the worst part being that we can't even go leach internet. The misting continues to get worse, and after waiting in our room for an hour and a half, we our told to come out and ride. Ben tries to explain how we cannot ride in the rain, and how its even in our contract, but they try hard nonetheless. They untarp the ramps, squeegee the ramps, and wipe down the tops. They even try to get me to do a show on a covered carpeted stage near by, which does not occur.

We head back to our change room for another hour or more, and they come in and ask us again to perform. The misting stopped, and the ramps and ground are steadily drying up slowly. Our inliner has no traction on the ground, and the guys don't do any big jumps, but we get a show done anyways, just to please the few women that are around to watch. Head home, wait for food, then I ended up passing out early. But, I atleast wake up to find an envelope on the ground with my name written (and lots of penises drawn on it), with my per diem for the week, finally, which is a good start to day 5 of shows.

Another interesting fact is that the sky is always grey here. My white comrades have found out they can still get a sun burn, but its just depressing to never see a clear sky. Plus, most evenings, it is misting out, as it is the monsoon season here, which does not do well with us performing outdoors.

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