Sunday, July 15, 2007

A fairy Tale: Hamoud and Talib go for a drive. Part One.

The following story is mostly true, and based on real events, that actually happened to me. Names have been invented, but identifying details have not. I am, in some places exaggerating a little... My husband says it was only 1.5 meters of water in ten minutes. enjoy.

Once upon a time, in a land not too far from here, there lived a number of people who had the bad judgement to purchase homes that were rather close to a wadi. Sometimes the wadi would flood a little, and everybody was happy because that meant they could take the day off, or at least be late to work.

The little neighbourhood was one of many surrounding a small city, where people were either managers or workers, but rarely both. Peace and prosperity reigned in the little neighbourhood, until the day that a cyclone hit. The winds lashed and the rain fell in the hills, while the residents drank gin and tonics or prayed for the safety of their loved ones. The gin and the prayers appeared to be working, and by early afternoon all the neighbours agreed that the cyclone was rather a disappointment overall.

God, being omnipresent and all knowing overheard them saying that, and almost pissed himself laughing. Because only half an hour later, buoyed by the heavy rains, the little wadi roared mightily and flooded with entire neighbourhood with three metres of water in ten minutes. All the people's cars floated around in their yards, and furniture floated around in their houses. The residents then felt very stupid for not moving their cars to higher ground before the cyclone hit.

The next day dawned hot and humid, and all the neighbours set themselves to checking on one another and shoveling feet and feet of muddy water out of their houses. The stupider / more optimistic ones tried to repair the cars, which had sunk to the bottom of their gardens overnight. It was slow, depressing, and hot work.

Off in another part of town lived two spoiled and not very bright young wastafarians named Hamoud and Talib. Hamoud and Talib were bored, and tired of watching the flooding footage and suffering of those less fortunate on Oman TV. They had seen the devastation that the worst disaster to hit their country in their lives had wreaked on their fellow citizens. Something had to be done.

"Hey Talib, let's take my 4wd out for a spin in all this mud and see the flooding for ourselves, I bet we can pull some wicked doughnuts in parking lots" said Hamoud. "Ok, I'll grab my camera!" Said Talib. Off they set in Hamoud's shiny black jeep with the number plate that let everyone know they were very rich, or very important, and possibly both.

Having heard things were bad in Athaiba and Ghubra, they went that way and didn't have to look long to find the devastation. Up and down the flooded streets they drove, snapping pictures of wrecked houses and cars, and pointing at the people attempting to start their waterlogged cars. As they drove through the flooded streets the wake from their cars sent little tidal waves of mud and sewage rolling back into the yards and houses that the residents were trying to clean.

One street, where things were not so bad, but not so good, really appealed to Hamoud and Talib. It had deep water, shallow water, and a great parch of mud at the top of the street, which was absolutely perfect for pulling doughnuts and splattering mud on everything in a fifty meter radius.

This street was also full of very interesting things to look at. From the Pakistani workmen hauling what few possessions they had left, to the children playing in the stagnant mud, to the stupid woman in a tank top attempting to remove the spark plugs from her giant truck, there were lots of interesting things to look at.

Hamoud and Talib took such a liking to this street that they drove up and down it over and over again. So absorbed in their sight seeing that they didn't notice the hand gestures being shown or obscene words the residents were saying about them.

But Talib was beginning to feel uncomfortable. A feeling completely unfamiliar to him washed over him and.....

tune in tomorrow for the conclusion of the fairy tale. I promise a happy (though sadly, entirely fictitious) ending.

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