In here, behind the twenty-foot walls, the razor-wire and the cheerful-looking chap with the 50-cal machine gun, there is a square of Britain. There is a restaurant, which is functionally British. (Today’s lunch was chicken, chips and broad beans.) The villas have 240V plugs. There’s a bar, and a bowling alley, a pool table, and a library stuffed full of Andy McNab and Mills & Boon books, all threatening to separate from their spines.
And yet, there are a few reminders of where you are. There are two pools, one for bachelors and one for families. Toilets have hoses as well as toilet roll holders. And there are servants’ quarters, separate from the main site. Needless to say, none of the servants are Saudi.
Today is Friday, the Muslim day of rest, so I woke up at midday, spent most of the afternoon in the pool, and am now on the internet. I am happily tanned and unhappily mosquito-bitten.
Oh yes, the final sign of being outside the Western world? I am using Tor.