6 FOCUS - APRIL 2018 The country’s culture also directs appropriate interac- tions between the sexes, even the most benign. “I could not approach a woman for no reason, say to ask directions. She would run, and other men would intervene. Single men are viewed as predators. In public places like stores and restaurants, families and singles oc- cupy separate sections.” “There are a lot of ‘just-be-quiets’ for a newcomer.” Despite the strictness, John found the Saudi people welcoming and warm. “They’re very social, even with strangers. It’s part of their [Muslim] religion, to accept others as good and kind.” John and his fellow westerners are housed in a com- pound with armed guards and high walls topped with barbed wire. Logic might suggest this tight security rep- resents protection from terrorism, but again, truth differs from assumption. “It’s to keep the Saudis safe from us, not us from them. They don’t want the western influence infiltrating their society.” The facility offers many comforts of home. “There’s a weight room, tennis courts, and a pool. Lots to do, and for me, I play music, and that keeps me sane.” John’s contract runs through the 2018 calendar year. …and from there? “They’re planning a new, international city bordering Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia called ‘Neom.’ Energy reduction will be a hot topic, and I have experience…so who knows!” His willingness to globetrot has certainly provided John with some fascinating experiences. So perhaps, as he hints, there’s more – and perhaps even better – to come. Because somewhere in the world, they’ll always need a well-seasoned professional to keep the lights on. By Scott Mercer, Focus on Scugog John shown with his friend and engineer Hamand Al Afairid on a street in the city of Buraydah. John tells everyone Hamand’s name is “official finder of things”. Chef John teaching Western cuisine to Chef Aruna and Master Sous Chef Mohamad, at LaChamant Restaurant. John Kirk camping with a family just outside of Buraydah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (SA). John didn’t really want to sit on the ground, so the family gave him a chair! John Kirk (continued from page 5) 216 Queen Street, Port Perry 905-985-2171 1-800-377-9139 www.waggfuneralhome.com … Port Perry’s only locally owned and operated Funeral Home since 1846… Myles O’Riordan FUNERAL DIRECTOR/OWNER Mark Fletcher FUNERAL DIRECTOR PRE-ARRANgEMENT COUNSELOR Pre-planning and pre-paying your funeral is one of the most thoughtful gifts you can give to your family. It’s easy. Anyone can do it.