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You Wouldn’t Believe Me If I Told You

January 29, 2014

We all have that story, don’t we? The one that you bring out when you want to see just how far the person you’re talking to will believe you; because the story sounds too good to be true, or too outlandish.

I was once lost in a rainstorm on the Arabian peninsula.

This is one that I often use when playing Two Truths and a Lie. It has all the elements of a good lie. . .or true story. There’s the exotic location. The Arabian Peninsula sounds like something out of an Indian Jones movie, or 1001 Arabian Nights. There’s the danger aspect. Being lost in the desert sounds serious. Then, there’s the unexpected part. The curious bit. A rainstorm? In the desert? And finally, there’s the sheer believability or unbelievability. Why would Rodney be on the Arabian Peninsula and in a position to be lost?

Well, the story is 100% true. About 10 years ago I was working for Microsoft as a corporate trainer. Occasionally I got to travel around the world to deliver the training I created. One of those trips took me to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Because I was traveling from the USA, and because their workweek started on Sunday instead of Monday, I ended up with an extra day to get used to the time zone. My hotel suggested an authentic desert feast. At $80 it was a little pricey, but I realized I might never make it back to Dubai. And so far I haven’t.

The trip through the desert was going to be in a Toyota Land Cruiser. It showed up around 8:00am. Most of the other people on the tour were couples on vacation. Since I was a solo, I got to sit in the front seat. This decision would directly affect us getting lost. But, at the time I didn’t think anything of it.

We headed out of the city toward the desert. We met up with several other Toyota Land Cruisers full of tourists. I think there were eight cars in all. Then we headed out into the desert. There were no roads. We simply drove up and down sand dunes. The sides were often quite steep, so one minute we were facing up and then quickly headed down a steep sandy slope.

This was early April. And a rain storm was rolling in off the Persian Gulf. The rain was intense but intermittent. And all the while we are going up one side of the dunes and down the other. Eight silver land yachts riding the sandy waves. There was a cry of distress from the back of the Land Cruiser. The driver quickly pulled over and a very sick German woman added some decoration to the desert. She explained that the constant motion of the car had made her ill. Fortunately she didn’t get sick inside the car.

Since i knew that the front would probably be less upsetting to her, I offered to switch seats which she gladly accepted. Once I got in the back I understood why she’d gotten sick. I don’t get motion sickness and it was a little uncomfortable for me. Visibility was definitely better in the front.

Meanwhile another rain squall had rolled through and while we were waiting for the woman to get herself back together, the rest of the group had left. Our driver didn’t know where they were headed. He always relied on following the herd. There are no cell towers in the desert. At least there weren’t at that time.

So, we drove around in circles. . .in the rain. . .as night started to fall. Finally the driver spotted a landmark he recognized. Then he found a road that led to the site of the banquet.

The food was all cooked in a traditional manner and it was excellent. We also got to ride camels. But, the most memorable part of the trip was getting lost in a rainstorm on the Arabian Peninsula.

(Edit: A earlier version described them as Toyota Land Rovers. My friend David M. who is a better “car guy” than I am pointed out that Toyota doesn’t make the Land Rover. I’ve fixed it.)

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and thirteen children.

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  1. Um, clearly not all that story is true as Toyota don’t and have never made Land Rovers….. I think you’ll find they are either Toyota Land Cruisers OR Land Rovers (Defender, Range Rover or Discovery) 🙂

    Good story nonetheless though.

    • Another friend pointed out that same thing. I’ve updated it to Toyota Land Cruiser. I’m pretty sure they were Toyotas. Although they could have been Range Rovers. It’s been quite a few years. But, as you (and other readers have pointed out) they certainly were not Toyota Land Rovers. LOL

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