(Written in bed on 18th December 2010) It took me: less than a minute to know about it, ‘it’ being the idea, which is someone else’s by the way, for him and his family. Who cares, a break is everyone’s right; 10 minutes to consider it. I’m at the end of my tether and wrongly thought I can last till February. I can’t, I need something now to get me over the once-again-depressive Christmas week; 1 (ONE) minute to decide, that’s where the title comes from, especially for someone who mulls over things for days and weeks before making up my mind; 5 to 6 minutes to book it online while fighting literarily with 2 friends who did everything they could physically, within the boundaries of friendship, to stop me from getting there; seconds for letting my boss know about it and hmm sign for it while walking/rushing. All set. And now the obvious question comes to mind: SO … How ABOUT Muscat? Is it nice?This was the background story which put me behind the wheel, on the road between the United Arab Emirates and Oman. (which reminds me I need to take that sticker off) (ask me in 6 months from now if I did).
Sitting here and typing this, I can’t help but thinking this was a LONG drive. The longest I’ve driven previously was from Florence to Venice and back in one day. It was different though, each way was around 4 hours so basically I had a long break sightseeing in between. That day, the car was full of people, laughter, fights, sarcasm, food, drinks, nonsense, you name it. And someone else had to read the map and road signs. Today, it was me, my mind in the passenger seat and my thoughts tucked all in the back, squeezing against each other. Having them joining me on a ride is rarely a good thing by the way, and so I had to put up with them until we got interrupted by Hi FM 95.9, thankfully! They have someone called Erin with either a sleepy voice or an ‘Euuh I’m not having a good day, not planning to make any effort to fake that I am and currently do not give a shit to what y‘all think’ kind of a voice. Not sure which one it is but the mere possibility that it could be the latter makes me like her.
It looks like Bryan Adams is in town for a concert tonight. I was still far from Muscat at 7 pm. It sure didn’t help oversleeping this morning or getting stuck in a long queue at the borders of Al Ain to find out once at the departure gate that I, being not Omani, not Emirati, not a GCC national in general, do not get to exit the UAE through Al Madheef border port, but have to line up at the Hili one. Following Omani yellow plated cars was not my smartest idea of the day after all. The frustrating highlight was the fact that for some (… ) (feel free to fill in the blanks) reason, my passport wasn’t stamped on my exit of the UAE, even though I remember he took it, entered some numbers on his pc before I lost focus on him and what he was doing. Being my natural self, I don’t check and find out about it naturally at the visa counter of the Omani border point. So I had planned to do what anyone on an emotional rescue mission and with no other choice than keep heading to Muscat would have done: driving back 35 to 40 kms to get an exit stamp. Surprising the distance between the two countries’ check points, you can fit a third one in between! And rule if you act fast! Tentative good news came out of the somehow reluctant Omani visa officer’s mouth about a closer exit border point, called Al Shakla, 15 minutes away (30 minutes both ways), though there was no guarantee a different exit point would grant me a stamp supposed to be given by another, but they did. And this is all I needed to head back on my journey.