Day 547: Nothing To See Here, Move Along


I arrived in Riyadh around 12 noon and thought about heading out to the town as I had a few hours until the bus to Dubai departed. Well I went outside the bus station and changed my mind. Town is 15km away from the bus station, it’s hot as hell (midsummer in the middle of the Arabian desert, what do you expect!) and I’ve got all my bags with me… nah. Not going to happen.

So I retreated, much in the manner of a hermit crab, back into the bus station and waited it out. When I eventually got on board the bus, I was first on (again) and again (for the third time) some chancer tried to weasel me out of my seats. Again, the bus wasn’t even nearly full so it’s not like he was going to have to sleep on the floor. This time I was having none of it. I cut off access to the back seats by sitting on the middle one with my feet firmly wedged against the backs of the seats in front, opened my laptop on my knee and stuff my iPod headphones into my ears and turned them up to max.

Damnit, if you want to lie down on the back seats you gotta be first in the queue, and I was.

He tried every which way to persuade me to move so he could take back seats, (and he was a BIG guy) but I stood (or rather sat) my ground. And I WON! He took one of the several empty seats ahead of me. But then later in the journey after I had to get off because we were crossing the border into the UAE, and when I got back on the bus I found him sitting on my seats.

This would not do.

I’m sorry mate, but you’re going to have to move. Bear in mind this guy was much bigger than me and had loads of his little Arab mates on board. But seriously, NOTHING comes between me and my kip, DAGNAMIT. He smiled.

Mate, seriously…

Defying logic and breaking every rule of the playground, the guy gave up and went back to his seat. It kinda made me want to stand on the back seats and do a Tarzan wail, you know – confirm my position as the Alpha Male amongst my fellow commuters, but I doubt they would have got the joke.

I stretched out on my well-defended turf and fell asleep, happy in the knowledge that the border guy hadn’t really looked through my passport and therefore didn’t pull the old you have to wait 30 days before you can return to the UAE rule on me. It was a worry, but I’d made it through. Happy days!

Graham Hughes

Graham Hughes is a British adventurer, presenter, filmmaker and author. He is the only person to have travelled to every country in the world without flying. From 2014 to 2017 he lived off-grid on a private island that he won in a game show, before returning to the UK to campaign for a better future for the generations to come.

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