Change of plans

So the plan was to fly to Cochi and attend my friend Ranjit’s wedding, but on Thursday I found out that Air India had cancelled my flight without giving a reason. They had emailed me the day before but it had escaped my attention, buried under a flurry of end of term correspondence. Without time to find and book alternative flights I decided to stay in Saudi for a week instead. Time for a road trip. 

First stop was the new BMW garage for a new tire. Not as simple as I thought. No stock available in store, but they kindly offered to ship one over from Riyadh on Saturday and fit it Sunday. Not quite the legendary BMW service I hoped for. I moaned a bit. Then they came up with another suggestion; bring the bike in on Saturday and we’ll swop one of the tires off the showroom bike. Not perfect but definitely an improvement. 

So yesterday I took a short ride (well, a couple of hundred miles) and then ate at my favourite cafe in al Khobar (photos above). I love Le Cafe; the Saudi owner is really nice and looks after his employees well, so service is friendly and the food excellent. The behavior of some of the customers leaves something to be desired, but as the food is good and you can sit outside this can be overlooked. Good manners cost nothing, so why are they rare here in the Middle East? And why do people feel it’s OK to watch YouTube clips with the volume turned right up?

Monin, my half Siamese cat, knew something was afoot when he saw me packing my panniers yesterday evening. He wasn’t pleased and I suspect he was trying to trap me under the duvet this morning as I struggled out to go for a run. Refusing to move, kicking and biting me through the quilt, he made it clear that a snooze was more appropriate. He was even less pleased when he watched me put on my motorcycle gear a little later on; he sat outside with his back to me, but not before covering the seat with dusty footprints. 

Apparently it takes three hours or more to change a BMW tire. Hm. I wasn’t thrilled. To appease me they lent me an R1200R to play with for a couple of hours. That put a big grin on my face. Foreigners can only own one motorcycle in Saudi Arabia. 

My early start didn’t happen, but I should be on my way to Hafr Al Batin just before noon. Excited to be going on a long trip again, and to be heading to the North East of Saudi. 


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