Friday 6 November 2009

Oman: rental woes

The day did not start awfully well. We were woken by three goats munching on a cardboard box outside our door. Then Mrs M. discovered that there was no water in the in the hut, sending her into a bit of hair tizzy. We later learned that this was due to a pump problem in the new rooms. After finding a dribble of water in another hut, the resulting flapping caused a heavy fall on some steps. This was to be the first of many team injuries. On the bright side, CP had managed to strain the greens.

Plans for an early lunch after a leisurely stroll along the Gallery Walk (W6) were initially abandoned due to the proximity of breakfast. However, the look of sadness on CP’s face forced us to rethink this decision and we joined her in a good basic Omani lunch at the Jabal Shams resort.

During the long drive to the Wahiba, we pulled into one of the many comforts stops (bushes) northeast of Al Mudaybi. Driving away, Neil noticed an orange ‘take car to Toyota’ symbol on the dashboard. The cooling system was in trouble. Being in the middle of nowhere, we decided to limp the 15km to the nearest civilisation. Five minutes later, the car had other ideas and ground to a halt. It was dead.

A telephone number was eventually found and after a spell of phone ping-pong, the best that Hertz could offer was a replacement vehicle by 9.30am (remember this) tomorrow morning. Leaving the team in the desert on a mat with supplies of water, food and the drinks cabinet, I drove the 70km to the Al Areesh camp, off loaded all of the equipment and returned to the marked GPS location at not very legal speeds (on empty roads). We decanted all of the remaining equipment and pushed the heap of junk off the road as instructed. With no road numbers, decent maps, nearby towns or landmarks, it will not be easy to find. Still, that’s their problem.

In pitch darkness we pulled into the Al Areesh camp around 7pm. Team leader immediately administered beer and we were soon tucking into dinner while reliving and embellishing our desert adventure. We were saddened by the fact that, after months of intensive training, we had missed our desert cricket fixture against an Oman & India Invitation XI. The pitched looked a bit rough anyway.

With half the chaps asleep around the table, we retired to our huts. A small pyjama party was held on no. 19’s barbecue rack while CP used most of the camp’s water having missed a shower in the morning in Jabal Shams.

The day’s events prove the old adage that ‘stuff happens’.

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