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Marg on a Plane by Julie
Good morning all. Marg is somewhere over Europe right now, sweet Kevs took her to the airport last night, I'm sure going to miss her. They went to the jail yesterday and dropped off a huge pile of stuff--socks, tshirts, mags, newspapers, and 4 kinds of cookies that we baked over the weekend. Didn't know if the jail would accept goodies, but they said OK! Such a relief, Ramadan starts tonight maybe.

The Donahues have a friend that they invite for dinner once a week, he's a man from Scotland and his wife is out of the country, ill. Both Mr. and Mrs. Donahue prepare the dinner one or two nights before--they are hilarious! Open up cans and throw things in a big pot. A package of hamburger went into the microwave with a quart of water and cooked forever!! Unusual techniques but pretty good! Still nobody sits at the table (one in the kitchen and another in the dining room), we fill our plates and head for the TV to watch British soaps! Ack! Mrs. Donahue talks just like the women on the shows--shouts, name calling, dramatic! She is so funny! And Mr. Donahue can dish it right back. Their visitor adds to the chaos--I can't understand a word he says with the TV blaring and his heavy accent!

Went to work yesterday for my 4 hours of duty. I love answering the phone when I get a chance, the girls will hang up on people if there is a problem, language difficulties, etc. but I stay on the line until the party hangs up on ME! A phone call can be 10 minutes by the time I get a name figured out, a number to call back, and who the message is for. Really helps pass the time and it's great entertainment. Last week I helped enter charges into the computer--client calls, visits, etc. Maj is the highest paid attorney--3300 qr per hour! About $1000! Phone calls are a minimum 10 minutes and some of his lunch dates are 2 hours of charges.

Each morning at the office my desk is piled with food, usually sweets, sometimes bread and cheese--of course that will change with Ramadan. Since Mr. Majdalany is a Christian, we can still eat and drink in the office but are supposed to be discreet and not tempt those fasting.I'm getting so fat I will welcome a little relief. I haven't even had a fast walk since I've been here, the 10 steps across the patio from my door to the kitchen in the morning are in slow motion because of the heat. Step outside and your glasses fog up and your skin becomes moist with condensation, not sweat. Unbelievable!

Maj arrived at work around 10 am yesterday, told me to get ready to go to the jail. I called the jail, asked for an appt for us, got passed around to someone who spoke a little English and they said to be there at noon to see John. Maj's man (Glen) drove all over the country looking for the place but we made it before 12. The guards wouldn't let us in to see him. I was so disappointed and angry. Maj acted like it was just routine and made arrangements to return on Wednesday or Thursday so we will see what happens.

Last night one of the secretaries called me and told me to dress up the next day because we were all going to lunch. She had heard that I hadn't been able to see John Wesley and was upset and they were very concerned. This morning, Pasha, my driver had heard everything as well--they are all concerned! Maj came in as usual, called me back to his office while he phoned his friend, the minister of foreign affairs or someone--the man is out of the country but will be back in a day or 2. Maj is going to ask him how to present the idea of transferring John to a US prison to the American Ambassador in Qatar.

I am very excited, each day a tiny little piece of action takes place, not just words. If I can keep it in their faces, talk about John Wesley and his children, I think it becomes more and more of a problem they would like to solve. Glen even apologized this morning for the prison not making an exception for us yesterday. They all think that John Wesley should be in a US prison to be near his family. (Maybe they are just sick of me hanging around looking pitiful!)

By the way, lunch today was at the La Cigale Hotel--200qr per person for the buffet--all of the secretaries were invited, about a dozen. The Arab women weren't going to go because 2 male accountants were going but something changed their minds. Each time someone started to take a photo, they would get up from the table and stand out of sight. They are very interesting! The other day someone asked one to show me her hair and she cried no, I can't! then she reached up into her cover and pulled out a long tendril of bleached blond hair--too funny! She is thinking of doing foils like mine! Who would notice??

Oh, lunch. I never saw such a spread--I went around 3 times and ate so much I could hardly move. I wanted to try everything!! Octopus, seafood, eggplant dishes, lamb's tongue (exquisite!) (looks like my vegi status is on hold for the time being!) We were there 3 hours!!

More later! Love, Julie


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