When the Moslem call to prayer echoes over the U.S. air base, lights in the gymnasium dim and basketball players stop underneath the hoops.
American troops are adapting to the Saudi ways."It's unusual to stop a game in the middle. But we're in this country and we've got to respect their beliefs," said Sgt. Edward Barlow, 24, of Richmond, Va.
Saudis and Americans are trying to figure out where conservative Moslems and freewheeling soliders can find common ground.
At the vanguard of the effort are Capt. Glen Costales and Staff Sgt. Todd Makamson of the 1st Tactical Fighter Wing. They're in charge of programs for the base that fall under the category of Morale, Welfare and Recreation - MWR in military jargon.
For the 3,000 troops stationed here, Costales and Makamson are known as Fun 1 and Fun 2, their radio monikers.
Saudi Arabia has no public movie theaters, bans alcohol and sharply limits the mixing of the sexes in public. Under the strict practice of Wahhabi Islam prevalent here, even music and dancing are frowned upon.
"MWR is just as important as air conditioning over here," said Senior Airman Daniel Henry, 25, of Los Angeles. Without it, "I'd be stressing out," he said.
There has been friction between the two cultures since the beginning of the U.S. military buildup.
Among the Saudi objections: soldiers carrying weapons in public, women driving on supply runs off the bases, and a private variety show that featured women dancing. The show was canceled.
Costales of Porterville, Calif., and Makamson of Avon, Miss., said they have avoided problems on the air base by accepting Saudi ground rules, then quietly negotiating changes.