The Nicest Taxi Drivers in the World (Part 3): Never Assume a Taxi Driver’s Animated Directions Aren’t Correct at the Omani Border

Two friends and I, in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, decided to go on a weekend camping trip to Oman. The idea was to drive down to a nice beach close to Muscat, camp out for the night and just chill out. We organized everything and early on the Friday morning we were off. I had borrowed a GPS from a friend so that we wouldn’t get lost and waste time backtracking.

To get to Oman we had to drive to the border town of Al Ain. The GPS directed us to a border post, however when we got the there the official said that this border post was for Emirati nationals only and he gave us directions to the border post we had to use. Unfortunately following directions is not my strong point and after a while, we were lost. So stopped to ask for directions. The first car we spotted was an Omani taxi. We went to the driver to ask directions.

“Salaam! Speak English?!”.

“No, Mafish English!” (No, no English!)

“Tammam. Ummm… We want to go to Oman, Wen?” (Ok. Umm… we want to go to Oman, where [is it]?)

Entrance to Mordo... I mean Oman! (He even described this formation to us!)

With some more hand gestures, he seemed to understand we needed to get to the border post. So the first thing he did was take out money. We assumed he misunderstood and wanted to show us how much we needed to pay him to get to Oman. When we tried to indicate that we didn’t want get into his taxi, he just made the “hold on” hand gesture. He took out sixty Dirhams and pointed to us and said “Visa, you pay”. Right so we had to pay sixty Dirhams for the visa.

He then says (or rather indicates with his hands) that will drive to the Emirati border post. He shows that we will stop the car, get out, go into a building, fill in a form, pay the money, go back to the car, drive to the booth where the border official will flick through your passport, stamp it and then you drive on to the Omani Border post. Now this doesn’t sound that funny, however, all these instructions were given in the following manner:

“You drive.  Bruummm bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuumm.” (accompanied with steering wheel mime and car noises)

“Emirat. Stop. Go house.” (accompanied by stopping the car and getting out mime)

“Paper, money” (Accompanied by mime of filling in forms and handing over money)

“Go. Stop. Passport. Emirat” (accompanied by mime of driving and Emirati border official flicking through the passport and then stamping it)

He then explains what happens at the Omani border post, which was almost the same the mime above with one difference: They had computers at this border post.

“You drive.  Bruummm bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuumm.” (accompanied with steering wheel mime and car noises)

“Oman. Stop. Go house.” (accompanied by stopping the car and getting out mime)

“Paper” (Accompanied by mime of filling in forms)

“Go. Stop. Passport.Ti ti ti ti ti ti. go” (accompanied by mime of driving and Omani border official flicking through the passport, mime typing  and accompanying computer noises and then stamping it”

He also offered to take us close out to where we would take the correct road. So we got back into the car and followed him laughing about the way he gave directions in particular the fact that the Omani post has computers and the Emirati post doesn’t, thinking he was just exaggerating a tad.

We got to the road which would lead us to the Emirati border, here he got out and handed me a piece of paper with where he had drawn the directions (while driving!!!). I insisted on paying for taking us out to this point.

So off we went to the borders. And guess what. His directions and mimes were spot on! Even the mimes about the Omani post having a computer and the Emirati not.

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This entry was posted in Gulf, Oman, Travels and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Nicest Taxi Drivers in the World (Part 3): Never Assume a Taxi Driver’s Animated Directions Aren’t Correct at the Omani Border

  1. Maira says:

    come back again and lets re-do the trip! this time i promise i wont sleep the whole way! i promisssseee! and hey i remember this whole crazy directions story happening so i was def up at the important parts!

    • Tonito says:

      Maira I specifically remember you being asleep while me and Umer got out of the car to ask for directions! 🙂 But I will redo the trip even with your sloth-like behaviour 🙂

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