Divemaster Job in Aqaba, Jordan 23rd November - 29th November 2015

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Middle East » Jordan » South » Aqaba
December 7th 2015
Published: December 9th 2015
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A very slow week...

Monday – I have become the child snatcher

First of all let me tell you guys that this blog was... A struggle. I ended up writing all of it on the 7th December and so I forgot the vast majority of what happened this week, which is why I need to write my blogs, otherwise I would forget everything! Yes I have a mind like a civ. But the blog after this one made up for it as it is my longest blog so far because it included my 5 hour border control palaver in Israel.

For those of you who didn’t read my first blog I basically met the child snatcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Here is the segment from my first blog:

*At this point I had just arrived at Aqaba Airport and passed through passport control*
‘’After I whizzed through security my bag was there waiting for me on the conveyor belt. I grabbed it and proceeded near the exit to call Muhammed (the son of the guy who owns the Dive Centre) to come and collect me. I thought I would wait outside as the warm humidity was a welcome change when getting off the plane compared to the British weather. But I was immediately approached by two men, one of them asking me if I wanted a taxi in a creepy voice that I can only describe as the Child Snatchers voice in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I immediately about turned and headed back towards air conditioning.’’

So when I saw two women wandering around outside our centre looking at the dive centre sign I wanted to bring them in to end our diving drought. I walked out of the centre to try and convince them to dive and for reasons unknown to me I said ‘You want to dive?’ in quite a creepy voice.

The reason for the creepy voice is because sometimes when I speak English I talk it in a strange way that makes it more understandable to some Jordanians. Basically some Jordanians don’t speak English fluently so I will ask a question or say a phrase to them in broken English in an Arabic accent. I will use the coffee guy as an example, he speaks hardly any English and I don’t speak much Arabic. Therefore if for example I ask him how much are the chocolate biscuits that he sells instead of saying ‘how much are the chocolate biscuits?’ I will say to him ‘How much, biscuits?’ and then rub the tip of my thumb to the tip of my finger to signify the universal ‘money’ signal. It is much simpler for Jordanians with limited English to understand.

After saying to the two women ‘You want dive?’ they surprisingly agreed. I need to work on my sales pitch a bit more. But when they were in the dive centre I was chatting and laughing with them and they were game for a dive. They were only here for 5 hours because they work on the cruise ship that has just come in to Port. It’s a damn shame they weren’t here for longer because they were really funny.

On the way back from the dive I was talking to one of the girls and she is planning a trip through Central America. I immediately starting babbling about when I lived in Nicaragua for 3 months with Raleigh International. I was telling her about the projects I did whilst I was in country and she was lapping it up. She wants to do something similar and I wanted to help her out. Although she couldn’t do the same project that I did she can still work with some organisations that I met whilst I was there. I gave her my email address and she will email me when she has the time. I loved Nicaragua and it was my first big adventure, I can’t believe it was 2 years ago! It was also the place where I handwritten a diary every day whilst I was there. I have painstakingly typed it up and it’s over 70,000 words and I will never forget when my host family let me kill their pig… Taken out of context that sounds really fucking bad. But basically every 3 weeks a pig would be killed to eat in the community of El Cacao where I lived. Usually there is one guy who comes in to kill the pig and then skin it… But I wanted a go because I eat meat (and I fucking love bacon) so if I can’t kill my own food then I shouldn’t be eating the stuff… I spoke with my Nicaraguan family who I lived with whilst I was there they allowed me to kill a pig and the guy who usually skins it taught me how to kill it quick and cleanly and how to skin it.

We have a new guy in the shop called Abdallah! He will basically do what Belal is currently doing which is train to become a Divemaster in the coming months and help around the dive centre. He is also driving the van because if you read my previous blogs when I drove the van I wasn’t very good with it…

Me and Belal have a cunning plan underway. Belal has contacts in Egypt that can basically set us up with 100 t shirts with diving phrases on them. The plan is to bring them to our shop and sell them which brings in more money for the dive centre but also for us too.

I left the dive centre a bit early today and I decided to check out the other shops around my house. I found a really good falafel place that sells them for really cheap! I worked out it’s about £0.40! 40 pence for a falafel sandwich! You get a lot too! Whilst eating my new found falafel place I watched The Walking Dead and for those of you that watch the programme I’m sure you know by now that Glenn is not dead! HURRAH!!

Tuesday - Ted talk Tuesday

I spent the vast majority of today watching and downloading TED Talks. For those of you who don’t know what a TED Talk is, I’ll allow the TED website to define what a TED Talk is:

TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages.

Literally any topic you can think of, TED will have a talk on it. I think the most famous talk and one of my all-time favourites because it’s just so damn interesting is Ken Robinson’s talk titled ‘Do Schools Kill Creativity?’ and it was one of the first TED Talks to be posted online. For anyone who hasn’t seen a TED Talk before I highly recommend you watch some. You can stream or download for free and you can watch pretty much all of them with any subtitles language you like. So there isn’t a reason not to!

Abdallah brought me some food for us both to share and we went around the corner of the centre (cheeky) where the T.V. is to nom on it. It was some chicken and rice with a whole bunch of other traditional Arabic stuff which I don’t know the name of. It was a bit awkward as it was really quiet because Mo, Belal and Ahmed were all out diving with Arabic customers. I decided to set the mood and play some tunes. Red Hot Chili Peppers were the choice as he can’t judge me for having bad taste in music as all their songs are manly sounding, whereas a band like The Beatles which are my all-time favourite (of course, you have to coming from Liverpool) have songs like ‘I am the Walrus’ and ‘Yellow Submarine’ which although I really enjoy they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. I will introduce Abdallah to those types of songs eventually but until then it’s more mainstream songs to be played.

I spent another part of this day organising t shirt logos and design ideas with Belal. We came up with the common but possibly highly profitable ‘Keep Calm and Dive on’ amongst others. I will keep ya’ll updated with further developments regarding this matter.

On a completely unrelated note I have been collecting cereal boxes. Not because I have some weird fetish for cereal (which I do especially for Coco Pops mixed with Crunchy Nut ER MA GERD) but because as you can see on the Coco Pops cereal box every Kellogg's cereal box you buy wins you a free personalised spoon! This is great for a number of reasons and the first one is that I now no longer fear running out of spoons (a genuine concern of mine as I only have one). Secondly I can even take some home with me to remember my time here in Aqaba. Thirdly and probably most importantly I can give them out to people here as a Christmas gift, I'm not a cheapskate but it's just an added bonus to what else I will get them. Maybe I should suggest secret Santa in the dive centre! Although there will be only 3 of us so... I don't think it will be secret for very long.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday - may as well have been one big long boring day

I didn’t do any diving on Wednesday but I did go to the Chinese market to look for a cheap guitar. I really want to pick up a guitar again and just practice. I do miss it. Although the ones in the market are cheap they’re too cheap and I think they are training guitars for kids because they’re not a proper size. I will find one before this year is out, Inshallah.

Thursday was a bit busier than yesterday however I was not diving. We had two Arab intro divers therefore tha boss Mo, Belal and Ahmed shot off to the dive spot.

On Friday I was borderline ripping my hair out… Besides the dive on Monday the last dive I went on was with the big surprise group we had on Saturday! Which feels like it was years ago! I just spent today watching more TED Talks, besides my general jobs around the dive centre which include giving it a god scrub every now and again as Aqaba is very dusty.

At night I cooked in my home and made a burger with tomato’s and halloumi. It is difficult to cook in my house because my kitchen light doesn’t work which is from when my fridge blew up last month. I’ve been meaning to get it fixed but I adapt to things very quickly and I have learnt to live without a light in my kitchen, I just used the bright white walls in my hall to reflect light into my kitchen from my bathroom (I guess saying ‘I adapt to things quickly’ is a fancy way of saying I am lazy).

Saturday – Some divers this way come!

We had a couple of divers from France expected to come in today but this guy’s wife wasn’t with him as she was sick, it was from they ate last night. I felt inclined to ask where about in France they were from but then I held my tongue as if he said Paris it would’ve been a bit… awkward, with what happened with the terror attack in Paris very recently. So I asked him that question when we were at the dive site after talking to him a bit more. He said to me ‘do you know Paris?’ I gulped and nodded and he then said south of Paris in the middle of France. I forget where exactly he was from as I have never heard of the place before, so that’s why I can’t remember. But I was just satisfied that he wasn’t from Paris because obviously the big elephant in the room would have been what happened there with the terror attack and what could I have said after that? ‘It’s terrible what happened’ or ‘I’m sorry’? The two divers were hunky dory to both Cedar Pride and Japanese Garden.

Back at the dive centre the guy who gave me a free KFC the other day came with 5 of his friends for an intro dive. They’re all friends of Belal too so he went along with Ahmed to get his dives up whilst I was with Abdullah in the dive centre.

Abdullah brought some pizza from pizza hut which is the first pizza hut I have had here and the third or fourth pizza I have ever had in Jordan! Needless to say it was delicious and I just had enough time to get a photo before it disappeared in my belly. He also brought a lasagne looking dish, which I ate super quick and so I didn’t have time to get a photo for it. Yes I was hungry.

As I came home Ahmed Qatawneh and his other son (Mo’s brother) were sitting outside. We were chatting some more about all manner of things and he said that 80 people applied for the position here in Aqaba. I was amazed and surprised at how many people applied and he rejected them all. Why me? He said that first of all it was my nationality but also that I didn’t send stupid questions to him. For example someone emailed him many times about frivolous things, first one was ‘Is there a kitchen in apartment’. Does it have a fridge. Does it have spoons when Ahmed already told him that the apartment was fully furnished… When I emailed Ahmed back in Liverpool I

We had to assess different types of people and think of ways to attract them to dive in Aqaba
was with my mum and she said not to ask any questions for this exact reason! I did ask one or two questions first but then I wanted to send more but didn’t so thanks mum! The job came available on the 19th August and I got the job on the 21st August and then on the 1st September I flew out here! After the chat I made another burger and watched TED Talks.

Sunday - USAID

2 dives with the French guy from yesterday and his wife! She’s feeling better now! We went to Cedar Pride as although he already went there yesterday it’s something you must see. For second dive instead of Japanese Garden we went to Cable Canyon to make things different as Pierre already went to Japanese Garden.

Came back to the shop Mohamed was nowhere to be found! Nobody in dive centre and no water in the bath to wash the gear! Wot?! Mohamed walked in the shop a little bit later with his new camera! He has been searching for this model of camera since before I arrived in Aqaba and so far they only
Beautiful sunset over the Gulf of Aqaba to finish off the weekBeautiful sunset over the Gulf of Aqaba to finish off the weekBeautiful sunset over the Gulf of Aqaba to finish off the week

You can't see the reflection of the water but it was red, hence the name the Red Sea
sell it in U.S.A. but a friend of his in Saudi Arabia told him that it was being sold in Saudi. Mo was like a 90’s kid waiting for a Nintendo 64 at Christmas for the past few days and now he has it. Mohamed is an award winning photographer but without a camera because it was broken. But now he is a complete man and can take some more epic photos to decorate Aqaba! (As many of his photos are used to promote Aqaba as a diving destination).

At 5 pm went to an event organised by USAID and LESA (Local Enterprise and Support Project). It was really good and informative, talking about a whole manner of things like how to target and bring in more customers from Jordan as that is essentially the biggest untapped market we can get here quickly. I even went up to talk about an example customer and how to bring them, I had to convince an avid outdoorsman called Ibrahim who loved to hike but had never dived before. He was based on a real person but obviously not with the same name. I said that a way to bring him down to dive in Aqaba would to be using promotions in winter because you can’t hike during this time but you can dive at any time of the year in Aqaba. The two presenters from USAID were called Edmund and Maya who were both really good at what they do, they even told us about some money up for grabs to be given to some dive centres. Basically the money can go to things we need in the dive centre like 7mm full wetsuits for people who feel the cold a bit more than others or even a great underwater camera to help promote our dive centre and bring in more customers. So all I have to do is apply for it! I think a DPV (diver propulsion vehicle) may be a bit much to ask for... But I will try!

At the intermission there was cakes, teas and coffees and I met two Dutch people! (Really nice of course) I think they’re a couple but I didn’t ask. Both really friendly to talk to which is nice and I’m sure we will meet up as I got their numbers. They’re training to become DM’s and they’re currently advanced open water course and doing some of their Rescue course now. They arrived here two months ago and plan on staying here until March next year which will be when I will be here until! NICE! I can make friends! Hasta luego caimans


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