About an hour into our journey to a desert oasis the road ended, and that’s when the bumps began. An hour later the bumps finally ceased… so did the bus.
We had loaded the bus at 3:00 on a Thursday afternoon knowing not where and when we’d be arriving at the Arabian Nights Village. Other than a brief phone conversation with a woman asking for my credit card information, I had established little to no communication with the company responsible for all transportation, housing, and activities… in the desert. Good idea? I think so. But when the smooth black pavement stopped I had my doubts.
I looked out over the tumultuous desert and my irish skin became a bit more pale. The driver had obviously done this route plenty of times before, but could it be that this time we had taken a turn into nothingness by accident. I mean, heh, the desert is pretty big, right? Pret-ty, pret-ty, pret-ty big. Prett-ty pret-ty big. Right?
Another 45 minutes later and 10 horizons crowned, and I knew it, we were lost. This sand dune looked like that one. That shrub, it seemed like the one we just passed 5 minutes ago. And I was pretty sure there couldn’t be two dead camels on this road, true? This bus driver was definitely taking this air-conditioned charter bus full of ex-pats and holiday goers on a trip to nowhere and he… was… loving it. And if that wasn’t enough, the road could not have been more jarring. Bump-Bump-Bump-Bump-Bump-Bump-Bump-I-Bump-Can’t-Bump-Even-Bump-THINKSTRAIGHT!
I mean, I had only brought about 20 miles worth of sunscreen and based on my calculations we were at least 30 miles from the nearest overhang or shady tree. I had seen Lawrence of Arabia – that guy was dark by the end of the movie. On top of the possible skin pinkening dilemma, I was quite sure that if I had made it to that camel farm I had seen 240 furlongs back just before the road ended, I don’t speak enough Arabic to get by and I didn’t bring much cash. They’d probably force me to work off the debt that the truck ride into town would accrue and I would most certainly have to shovel camel feces and milk their teats for camel milk, that I would then have to drink to give me any kind of sustenance, thus putting me farther in debt, until one day I broke free from their indentured slavery, and in Les Miserables fashion ran from their captivity and took sanctuary in a local mosque, while fleeing from my pursuer, the camel checker/farm owner, Inspector Al Javert, who was hell-bent on finding me and making me work off the debt of the camel milk that I only drank that one night because it was dark and I had thought it was the water that I had drawn up from the local well. And so, while crouching behind the discarded shoes in the corner of the mosque, I longingly and regretfully thought about how this was all because I got on a bus before fully researching where it was taking me.
Anyway, 10 minutes later we were pulled into Arabian Nights Village Desert Oasis and Spa. It was lovely! Could’ve been much worse though. Good thing the driver knew where he was going.