Tigermans Books

 “Follow in the Tigerman’s Footsteps”

 


Memoir cover photo

My memoir is available at   http://www.amazon.com/-/dp/1482854430  Reads more like an adventure book. It covers a wide range of experiences, some crazy, adventurous and a few life- threatening ones, mixed with a blend of humor. These I encountered during nineteen years of working as an expat in fifteen countries spread through the Middle, Far East, and North Africa. Readers will find there is much more to life than a boring 9-5 job. As a result of becoming an expat Colin Guest lived an incredible life, one that most only get to dream about.

 

Below is how I became an expat, and a sample of the life I led.

             

A Spoonful of Danger in Saudi Arabia

“Well Mr. Guest, tell me how you came to be here?”
It all started with my lying helpless on my back on a mattress in the lounge when there was a knock on the front door. My wife, who like me had been anxiously waiting for this, went and opened the door. The next minute she returned leading a man who we hoped would prove a solution to my dilemma. Since putting my back out a few months ago and losing my job, putting it mildly, it had left my family and me in a serious financial situation.
On entering the room, the man looked down smiling as he greeted me. After explaining how while at work I hurt my back, I had gone to see my doctor. I told him about my lying on the couch, and was about to tell him what the doctor did when he stopped me.
“Now I will tell you what he did.”
To my amazement, he then described exactly what the doctor had done. I felt immense relief when he went on to say that he thought he could cure me. Although neither my wife nor I knew anything about Chiropractic treatment, I was more than ready to try anything to get me back on my feet. We owed his visit to our local postmistress, who advised my wife about using a Chiropractor. As a result of his visit, to the annoyance of both my doctor and the surgeon who came to the house to examine me, within a month, I was cured.
Shortly before being signed off from being sick, I said to my wife, “I am going to try and obtain a job abroad, as I can earn far more money there than in England.
Although we both knew it would mean my being away from home and the girls for long periods of time, we agreed it was our best chance to get ourselves out of debt and back on our feet.
After sending my CV to a company that carried out overseas contracts, two weeks later I received a letter informing me I had an appointment to see the Overseas Managing Director. This was great news, with my excited to see the company required someone re a position in Saudi Arabia.
A few days later, my wife received a phone call from a man asking to speak to me. On explaining I would not be home until later, the man enquired. “Is that Jen?”
“Yes! it is.”
“Hi, Jen! It’s Arnie.”
My wife who knew Arnie from years ago when he and I worked for the same company asked.
“Oh, hi Arnie, how and where are you?”
“I am in Saudi Arabia.”
“No, tell me the truth Arnie, where are you?”
“Honestly Jen, I am in Saudi Arabia.”
“That’s a coincidence; Colin just received a letter re an interview about a job in Saudi.”
“Yes, I know, that’s why I’m calling. The person Colin will be seeing is my boss and I want to tell him what salary he should ask for when they meet.”
Later, I was amazed when he told me the figure. Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined I would be able to earn the kind of money he mentioned.
During an interview in London the following week, I met Ian, my future boss, who explained everything about the position, including salary, which was as Arnie had suggested. After a good discussion and a general chat, I accepted a one-year renewable contract as a Projects Supervisor based in Riyadh.

When Ian told me I would be working on a palace for the Royal Family, I felt delighted. I had never worked on one, so it was with much apprehension I later boarded a plane to Riyadh.
By going there, I would earn far more money than I had ever earned, enabling us to get back on a secure financial footing. However, on the downside, I would not see my family for six months, being when I would be due two weeks leave. Although not happy about this part of my contract, I had to grin and put up with it. In life you can never have all you want; sometimes there are sacrifices to be made along the way.

On my arrival at Riyadh airport, I found Arnie waiting to meet me. Although he looked the same as when I saw him some four years ago, instead of wearing trousers and an open-necked shirt, he wore a suit and tie. He gave me a firm handshake and a warm embrace. His brown eyes twinkled with delight when he said, “Hi Col, you’re looking good. It’s great to see you after all these years.”
“You to,” I exclaimed. “You’re looking extremely smart.”
Arnie laughed. “Yes, in my job I have to be.”
As we walked out to where he had parked his car, the heat hit me, and sweat immediately broke out on my back. I mentioned this to Arnie,
As he laughed saying, “You will soon get used to it,” he explained he had been in Saudi since leaving our old company four years ago.
“Had I known earlier you were here and I could have been earning a salary like I’m on now, I would have been out here like a shot.”
“Sorry Col, but after you left Benbows I never knew where you lived, so couldn’t contact you.”
Arnie’s car was a new-looking Toyota. As I climbed in I laughed. “Well, this is certainly better than the old Morris you used to drive in England.”
He laughed. “You will find everything here is better than in England.”
As he drove out from the car park, he explained I would be sharing an apartment with him and another couple of our guys.
On the ride into town, I noticed the roads were wide, well surfaced and lit up by modern buildings lining the streets. From first impressions, I thought Riyadh looked a prosperous city. For sure it was a big improvement on either Iran or Qatar. Thirty minutes later, Arnie turned off the road and parked in a large underground car park. We rode an elevator up to the company apartment, where Arnie knocked as he unlocked the door. Inside he introduced me to Mike and Mac, two colleagues I would be sharing the apartment with. Due to feeling tired from all my traveling, after a brief chat, I turned in for the night.
The next morning, a driver came to take me to the head office of our Saudi partner. Here I was introduced to everyone and made to feel welcome. However, I felt disappointed when Ian, my new boss, told me there had been a change of plans. The Palace had informed him that as they did not know me, they wanted Arnie (who they knew from previous projects) to be the Project Manager.
Instead, Ian said, I would be in-charge of re-fitting out works at the Hyatt Hotel in Riyadh. A short time later, Ian and Arnie took me to the hotel, where Ian introduced me to Sa-ard, our Thai supervisor in charge of our Thai and Filipino workers. I felt relieved, when Sa-ard speaking broken English, shook my hand and welcomed me to the site.
Ian then gave me a tour, explaining what works had to be carried in the various sections. One area, the main lobby had a high ceiling.
“Here,” Ian said, “Due to the hotel remaining open during our works, we need to install scaffolding so we can work overhead while the hotel guests walk safely underneath. I will arrange for a specialist scaffolding company to visit the site and discuss our requirements.”
A few days after doing so, they delivered and erected the scaffolding. They also provided enough scaffolding boards for our men to install, which I instructed Sa-ard to have taken up to deck out the scaffolding. However, when later checking, to my annoyance, I found only a few boards had been placed on top of the scaffolding. Even more astonishing, some of our Thais were walking around on them.
“What’s going on Sa-ard?” I said, pointing up at the scaffolding. “Why have you not done as I asked?”
His big round face lit up with a smile. “It’s OK, Mr. Colin. We are used to working on scaffolding like this.”
“You might be,” I replied with a grim smile. “However, I have to go up there as well, so get it fully decked out, as I won’t be going up there until it is.”
After laughing at my obvious discomfort, he gave orders for all the boards to be taken up and laid out.
As I had never worked with foreign workers before, I felt dubious as to their capabilities. However, to my surprise, I soon found they were capable of turning out high-quality work.

“An Expat’s Experiences of Living in Turkey”

Cover page d for web

This was my first book and published by Amazon kindle  http://amazon.com/author/colinguest  It covers events during 20+ years of living in Turkey and how I decided to live there instead of England, my home country.

We were enjoying a drink in our favorite café when, with a quizzical expression, Jen said, “I’ve been thinking, when you finish your contract, why don’t we buy a piece of land and build a house on it?”
“What! I thought we were going to live in Spain?”
“No,” she said, with a smile, “Turkey is far better than Spain.”
“Well, you won’t get any argument from me. I guess we had better see what we can find to build on.”

Little did we know our decision would lead to a complete change in our lives. Nor did we know of the far-reaching consequences it would bring.


All this came about after I had accepted a married status contract in Turkey. This being my first such type of contract, as all my previous contracts had been single status. For Jen, this would be her first time living in another country. Apart from going to Spain on holiday a few times, she had not been outside of England.
I had been offered this contract while working as an interior finishes supervisor on a palace contract in Jordan, which due to problems with my company I had decided to leave. My new position as Interior Advisor was a long way up from my starting work as an apprentice joiner/shopfitter in 1955, with Turkey being the ninth country where I had worked since first going to Iran in 1978.  These adventures are in my memoir, “Follow in the Tigerman’s Footsteps.”  http://www.amazon.com/-/dp/1482854430

We were living in a house we had bought in Plymouth, Devon, about six months earlier, but as my contract was for ten months, we decided to rent it out as the money would enable us to modernise. After researching various companies, we chose what seemed like the best, although time proved they would cause unbelievable problems.

I arrived in Istanbul a few weeks later and met my new boss. The next day I was driven to the construction site, which was down on the Mediterranean Coast. It was late afternoon by the time we arrived at the project. This I found was by a long sandy beach backed by a hillside covered in pine trees. The beach was devoid of other buildings, with only a few people sunbathing, this I thought was a fabulous location. On the other side of the headland was a small village named Kemer, where a colleague later took me to my accommodation (pension). Kemer at that time had few modern buildings, and to my shock and disgust, when I first went to use a toilet, found it was the squat type, something I had never seen or used before. However, I did find one hotel that had an English style toilet, which saved me a lot of discomfort.
In Kemer, both the scenery and the friendly Turkish people immediately impressed me. The only problem was there were only two English speakers. Due to the majority of tourists being Germans, many shopkeepers spoke both Turkish and German but not English. However, despite their lack of English, by using sign language, and speaking slow and clear, I managed OK.

 When Jen arrived she was delighted to find we would be living in a hotel. I said, “You’re lucky, as until you arrived, my company had not arranged anywhere for you to stay. It is thanks to Haluk, one of the owners of Ucgen, the company I am working with, that we were put into the hotel. I have been living in a pension.”
We had beautiful mountain views from our hotel room, but to our bitter disappointment, they gradually disappeared when a block of apartments with shops underneath replaced the street of tin-roofed shacks. This was the start of major construction work that changed Kemer beyond all recognition. Some said this was modern progress, but all I saw were rows of concrete buildings, which destroyed the character of a once charming seaside village.

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