Saturday 7 November 2009

Oman: Mr. Syrup to the rescue

During breakfast, it was revealed that CP had to perform number twos in the open desert last night while waiting for me to return to the stranded crew. Stirling effort.

Neil overcame his fear of large four-legged creatures with a camel ride to celebrate his 50th birthday. All went well except for a slightly early dismount on the return. By 10.30am, he had been on a camel ride, shopped with Bedouin ladies and undertaken a dune drive. I guarded the phone during their drive to deal with the continuing shenanigans with Hertz (who were trying to find the camp) and now Toyota (who were trying to find the car). Giving directions to the abandoned car over the phone was laughable.

Around 12.30pm, a pickup truck from Toyota arrived to collect the key for the dead car and proceeded to get stuck in the soft sand adjacent to the new road construction. We chuckled. A few more phone calls and a couple of hours later (remember the promised time?), our replacement car arrived driven by a young Omani (who confessed he’d never driven in the sand), and his boss, an Indian gentleman we shall call ‘Mr. Syrup’* due to the piece of black carpet that was perched on the front of his head.

We had to accompany Mr. Syrup to the tarmac road during which time he attempted to disengage the central differential lock by waggling the lever in a manner that suggested he had not done it before. We reached a vehicle driven by another chap in a car dealer’s kipper tie who provided fresh paperwork as an afterthought and we blasted back to the camp. After Neil’s first foray into soft sand, we re-loaded both cars and, at last, headed for Sur.

We plonked our cases in the huts at the Turtle Beach Resort and ran to the sea for a dip in the remnants of daylight. Even the lacerations some of us received from sharp coral did not spoil our enjoyment of this moment.

Over dinner, Neil reflected on an eventful birthday. He topped the day off with a trip to the turtles, even managing a night cap in the resort bar which was still open when they returned just before midnight. Not a bad way to spend your 50th.

*Syrup = syrup of fig(s) = wig

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