Image via WikipediaRegular cabbie Mr. G unable to take the booking, I was reduced to pot luck on the roadside. Unusually fragrant, today's surly gentleman wanted to know if I 'mallum' our destination. I've been here before and so asked him how long he had been a resident of this fair land.
"This my first day."
Oh joy, deep and frabjous. Off we went on our merry way and I discovered, by that strange form of linguistic osmosis that allows us to communicate, that our man is called Iqbal and he hails from Peshawar. He is highly amused that I am called Al Iskandar and that no, I don't speak Peshwari. I don't go around toting an AK47 and growing opium either, but I thought it best not to let him know that in case he thought I was soft.
We proceeded unusually slowly, it has to be said. My experience of gentlemen from Peshawar in the past has been a series of breakneck rides at intolerable speeds. I have always wondered if this is from experience dodging the bullets and IEDs of the mountainous Afghani border-lands. But Iqbal was a man who believed in not only driving within the 20kmh 'grace zone' but actually below the speed limit.
After a while I could stand it no more. It was like someone reading their powerpoint, a terrible slow-motion replay of obviousness stretched out to an unbearably tedious timeline. We were on the Etihad road from Sharjah to Dubai when I cracked.
"Mr Iqbal, you can go up to 120km on this road."
"Really? What is problem?"
Mr Iqbal had obviously been a victim of 'give the crap car to Nobby Newbloke' and I felt for him. But my sympathy was nowhere near as intense as my relief when we finally freewheeled up to our destination.