Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Umrah update: Day 9: Humans of Madinah:

63 year old Abdullah (right) studied English at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne (Newcastle University) from 1980 to 1983. He drove around in a Nissan 280c and lived at 10 Park Avenue.

Abdullah loves Bangladeshi food: "I mostly ate Bangladeshi food as a student. It was the only Halal food available in Newcastle and I loved the taste and texture. I always ate mild curry though and couldn't match the Bangladeshis in their ability to consume hot spicy food."

Abdullah enjoyed supporting the Toon Army and watched Newcastle play once at St James Park against Chelsea where he and 27,000 saw Chris Waddle score the winner.

He's also a big boxing fan and went to watch his friend Paul Tucker in an amateur bout. After a convincing win Abdullah was declared a lucky mascot. He attended a second successful fight in Newcastle. He missed the third which was lost: "You could say I was a lucky charm for the team," laughed Abdullah. The Madinah resident is also a big fan of Nadeem Hamed and even did a little impersonation of the famous ring entry routine which is synonymous with the Sheffield born boxing legend. He did add that he was surprised at how much weight he'd put on since retirement.

After departing Newcastle Abdullah settled in Riyadh for two years to complete his teacher training. He has been teaching all his life and is proud of the fact that education in Saudi Arabia from nursery to university is free. He also mentioned that all students receive a government support allowance and glowed with pride as he described the University of Madinah and its international standing with 220 nationalities represented amongst the student roll.

Recently he also taught English language in Madinah and has now retired. He still remains active and with his best mate of 45 years, 50 year old Qasim (centre) runs a building contracting service as well as a real estate firm.

He took my number: "I would like to call you sometimes and speak to you about your life," he said. "It will also help me revise my English."

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