Am I getting kidnapped? I worried, as Abdullah drove my rented car in silence. He’d flagged me down at the side of the road. I offered him a lift. He asked where I was going. I said I was going on an adventure. He told me he knew the most beautiful place in Oman. Let’s go there then, I replied.
“But I drive,” he said.
“I’d prefer to drive, I gave my passport to the man at the rental place and-“
“I drive,” he said again.
We switched places. His English was only just better than my Arabic, and I don’t speak Arabic. So we sat in silence, driving through increasingly barren desert, slowing only to swerve around camels.
Sometimes we had to stop completely. I’m not sure whether camels are arrogant or simply don’t care if they live or die. I do know, however, that they don’t move out of the road, however much you beep at them. Their boss just laughed when we asked him to make his unruly gang hurry up.
“How much longer?” I asked.
“We there in half o clock.”
“That’s not a recognised unit of time, Abdullah.”
He shrugged and continued driving. Thirty minutes later, we arrived. I’d been kidnapped and taken to a blue and green paradise. I thanked Abdullah and for the first time, I saw him smile. I’m not sure what the moral of this story is. It would be irresponsible to advise you to start picking up hitchhikers. So let’s say just trust people more, because nice things might happen.