“I can’t believe that you voted him into office. I hope he self-destructs. I think he will,” said James Harper, late this afternoon in the Old Port of Portland. Harper, his wife, Julia and a friend Phil Wood, all of the United Kingdom, were on vacation in the US when mhn.com met them. James was obviously referring to the election of The Donald as President of the US.
“We DO have the Brexit vote to take responsibility for,” pointed out a chagrined Phil Wood after the initial remarks of James.
Actually, for the last seven years, Julia and James Harper have been teachers in Bahrain – a small country off the coast of Saudia Arabia. Phil lives in Wales these days and the three friends decided to vacation here in the US.
Bahrain is an oil-rich country and was one of the first to build a refinery. But that is a thing of the past according to James. The country has looked for other sources of revenue. One of them has been an emphasis on financial services, although he did not have time to elaborate. Because he and Phil had to scurry off to join the Maine Brew Bus that was leaving shortly from its post on Commercial Street.
Racing such as Formula 1, is big in Bahrain now said Julia who took up where they left off in her remaining time at The Thirsty Pig. The couple chose to teach in the Arabic speaking Bahrain because it can be difficult to find international teaching posts in the same country for a married couple as they are. “Bahrain has a great life style for us,” she said. “Salaries are tax free,”
Julia has taken up horse back riding since arriving there and owns two horses – one is leased out. During the winter season – January and February the temperatures are around 65 degrees. During July, August and September the temperature is normally 113 degrees. The land is flat and the sea is a beautiful blue turquoise she said. The capital of the country is in the north where most of the population of less than two million lives. The Harpers live in that area as well.
It is a Muslim country with the majority of the population being Shia and the Sunna have all the power. The country participated in the Arab Spring back in 2011. Julia who teaches religious studies and philosophy is not permitted to teach any of the Arab population at St. Christopher School. The school has an enrollment of over 2,000 students. That’s where James teaches English to high school students as well and he is also a trained journalist.
“If I could have, I would have marched in the Women’s Marches,” said Julia as she left the Thirsty Pig to keep an appointment she’d made for a manicure nearby. In her hand, she held a “marchon” bumper sticker advertised on this blog and given to her by mhn.com.
P.S. Julia: I just tried to send you an email, but it did not go through. Will keep trying though. Can you pls. email me, though?