The weekend of madness - Akif Abdulamir - 17 March 2012

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I was looking forward for a relaxing weekend but it turned to be a nightmare. Hours of pushing and jostling are not really everyone’s cup of tea.
The shopping malls were packed and the movie houses full. I also had trolleys rammed painfully in my back in one of the largest supermarkets in Muscat. I was squeezed out by rude motorists on more than one occasion during the weekend as mad drivers rushed to nowhere in particular. Nobody seemed to care about anything except that there was a long weekend and it had to be enjoyed forcibly before it ended. 
Some people were too busy enjoying themselves to an extent that they failed to notice their children playing dangerously near the highways. Of course, there is always the minority who were not brave enough to venture outside. They preferred to stay indoors to watch television or just read a book. I think they knew that there was a jungle out there where only the fittest survive. For a moment, I thought I belonged to that minority group. My comfortable living room was perhaps the safest place in Muscat during that terrible weekend. However, the idea of staying indoors and doing very little did not appeal to me.  On the other hand, why should I let the weekend rush get to me?
It was then I decided to run away from the Muscat madness. It appeared to be a gross mistake. Driving to Dubai that time was not a good idea at all. The nightmare started at the border. The long queue of cars started to frustrate me. I switched on the music and for a while, the saxophone and  Luis Armstrong’s crooning got me going. But only for a while. I began to get restless as I watched the long stream of cars making little progress. I found my mobile phone a good distraction. I began calling every relative and friend who could answer the telephone. I know it was an expensive affair but it saw me through the difficult time. Finally, as I thought I was going to suffer a massive depression from sheer boredom, it was my turn to hand over my ID to the immigration clerk.
Once I cleared the check post, I thought it was going to be a smooth ride all the way to Dubai. Of course, I was wrong once again. Speed trap warnings and drivers on a suicide mission threatening head on collisions slowed me down. To add to my misery, a metal pile up made me stop. Two saloon cars that decided to ram themselves on either side of a 50-ton truck blocked the highway. It was a miracle that nobody was hurt.
I was greatly relieved to see the city’s skyscrapers appearing on the horizon. I looked at the dashboard clock which informed me that the drive from Muscat had taken me nearly six hours. I wasted a precious two hours! Anyway, everything was not lost and I was determined to make the most out of my holiday. This time, I was well prepared for it and I refused to let the usual Dubai traffic spoil it for me. I entertained myself with a good meal and then wandered around in shopping malls keeping away from aggressive people. I even allowed myself the luxury of extending my weekend. Working days are usually peaceful and I deserved some peace and quiet. When I returned to Muscat, I was pretty relaxed and Dubai was not a mistake after all.
Akif Abdulamir is an Oman based writer

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