In one rev of the engine you are gliding on top of a desert dune seeing nothing but blue skies, in the next, you are sliding sideways with the hot golden sands mere inches form your SUV’s side window. Death by sand affixation is a certainty, but you have Abdul, you’re protector, and He will keep you safe.
Abdul, with his long dark flowing hair and darkly tinted Rayban sunglasses, had the graceful calm and patience of a seasoned sand veteran – you know the person, the one who has seen every rough moment and has lived to tell the tale. He looked at the younger drivers with easygoing humor as they gunned their transmissions spewing plumes of sand behind them. He remembered those days, full of guts and games of glory but with little understanding of what the game was all about. And when the young-ins got stuck, he looked at their turning wheels in comical serenity waiting for their inevitable freedom. We were lucky to have Abdul.
Not an hour into our stay with Arabian Nights Village and we had loaded back into yet another vehicle and headed out in a caravan of Toyota ForeRunners. Once out of the small village compound we took a stark right
and dove directly into the desert folds. You wouldn’t imagine sand to reach such heights, but they do. They ebb and flow just as the sea, but rather more slowly, which was for our benefit, because we had enough of a time riding these stationary mountains. I cannot imagine being able to tackle such demons, at least in a Toyota, if they were to move like sea-ish squalls. But if we were at sea, I was glad we had Abdul as our captain.
Despite the name of dune bashing, Abdul made it seem more like a caress of the sand with four rubber hands
than a physical assault. We flew up one side of a dune and somehow managed to slide down the other with barely a change in direction. It was as if the sandy waves moved with his steering wheel. I held the handle of that side door desperately still, as me and my four fellow bashers – Abdul and my three friends – wove through the intricate weave of the dunes circulating our Arabian Village.
As we rose and fell with each hill the shadows played with our senses as the sun set in the distance. It was as if, the day had reached a simultaneous dawn and dusk that was in complete dependence on Abdul’s will. We were thrown around the back seat viciously, we were both parallel and perpendicular to golden earth, and on several occasions we were literally suspended in midair as we leapt over the peaks of the dunes, but despite the tumultuous trek, never once did I feel abandoned or insecure in that little metal box that could. Abdul knew these dunes, he knew his vehicle,and it seemed, more and more as the sands fell, that he knew us.
The adventure of flying about through that desert landscape was made fully enjoyable, exciting, and in a way, peaceful, all due to Abdul’s 20+ years of experience in traversing those desert paths. We all need a man like Abdul. We need men who’ve gone their before, who know the landscape, and who know us. A man like Abdul allows us to venture forth into a world we know little and experience such joy and excitement because before we even step foot in the car, we know and understand it is their main goal to keep us safe. It is through the safety of their Toyota’s roll bars and their knowledge of our surroundings that allows us to hold on and see the ground flying up at us signifying impending doom but still have faith things will right themselves in the end.
While trailblazing a new land is most definitely an awe inspiring feeling, Abdul demonstrates a greater need we innately posess for someone who knows our world and whose undying mission is to protect us. Whether it is through his experience, his wisdom, or his protective nature, we all need Abdul.