Border Crossing, Part 2
Trip Start Jan 10, 2007
72Trip End Jul 03, 2007
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I left shortly after classes ended yesterday, hoping to catch a bus before rush hour, and then make it out to Hatta after the heat of the day had died down a bit. So I waited for the bus, and waited, and waited in the blazing heat. A bus finally pulled up, but these three Filipino girls preempted me by saying something about how there were no more ladies' seats, which confused me for long enough that they stepped in front of me and took over the last three seats on the bus, one of which actually belonged to me. Today's lesson: be very aggressive, and ignore everybody.
I waited for another hour till a bus came, and then I got stuck in rush hour traffic. I was starting to worry about that, because I had to get to the border and back before ten, because otherwise I'd be stuck in Hatta overnight. And actually, I did get stuck there over night, but I'll come to that later.
Right when we pulled into the bus station, the bus to Hatta pulled away, and I had to wait another hour for the next one. Here I would like to make a small suggestion to RTA, the people who run the bus system: some of us depend on the buses to actually get places. I would like to get on a bus that comes once every 20 minutes (as posted), rather than once every hour and a half by which time the vehicle is so full the driver won't let me on. Likewise, I could really have done with another bus to Hatta an hour later (as posted), instead of TWO hours later. Don't tell me about "traffic". I know about Dubai traffic, and so does everyone else: PLAN FOR IT.
Sorry for that little rant. But after waiting two hours for a Hatta bus I was kind of a little bit aggrivated! I knew that no sooner would I get there, then I would have to turn around and come back without making it to Oman. Or else, spend the night in Hatta. I decided to chance it.
On the way, I got a call from a friend (AND YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE) who told me he could pick me up from Hatta if so needed. Well, that conviniently solved all my worries. I made it to the border without incident, and called back, saying I would be over and back in about one hour. But it just wasn't my day. My friend said: "I'm sorry...I have guests now, and can't get free till 1:30..." I said, That's OK, you should be with your guests. It wasn't till I hung up, I realized I had been stood up (for about the 1200th time by various people and places since I came to Dubai). Up-stander! Are you still reading this blog?
I figured I would be trapped in Hatta overnight, so it didn't bother me that I would be hiking approximately 10-15 kilometers to Oman, and then the same distance back. Well, I certainly had avoided the hottest part of the day. Then I thought of myself sleeping in gravel somewhere with no food, and only a single bottle of warm water and I got all misty-eyed feeling sorry for myself. Then I remembered that folks used to live like that here for the past 5000 or so years, and told myself to stop being such a baby.
Now, I was lucky the last time this happened to me, and I was lucky this time. Really lucky. As expected, another random stranger stopped and offered a ride...this time, it turns out the guy was an off-duty border guard who knew the procedures and helped me get it all done in half an hour. He asked me where I was going to stay, and I was just like, "I don't know really. I'll just walk around, I guess, till a bus comes in the morning." I left out the part about sleeping on the ground.
So you know what happened next? He put me up in a really nice hotel for the night. Complete with two TVs, king-sized bed, and a pool containing cool water. I wish I could have stayed there a while, but he came back and woke me up in the morning, and took me straight back to the University. Door to door service and everything!
Now this random stranger, who I will probably never see again, took an hour out of his time to run me across the border and back, set me up in a hotel that cost at least $150, and then gave me a lift all the way to Dubai city, fifty miles away. I'm not sure whether this strengthens my faith in the goodness of mankind...or whether it further embitters me with the thought that some people have too much time and money.
Let's err in favor of the first concept.
I will never forget this random act of kindness. Thank you, random border guard!!