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Blog 34 Al Muthallth to Ash Shamly

18th October

The wind blew me like I was a bird. It smoothed out my pedalling and my head rocked less from side to side. Ocassionally I had a burst of extra energy and raced up the long slopes and my allotted distance of 85 miles was covered with great ease. Maybe I was getting used to the heat, to the pedalling but always was my fear of failing. There is in my head that striking discord which pounds inside me how the mind plays a game and there has to be in the plan something that keeps these thoughts from brimming into demons.

Across the landscape I saw hummocks and dunes, rock outcrops falling down to scree and bits off plastic bottles that may have been there degrading for years. Still, I imagined human beings have stepped on less places around these parts than on the moon. Has every inch on earth been colonised by the feet of people. Not here.

Up the road I suddenly had the urge for a cup of tea and just as that thought connected with my parched mouth a lorry pulled across the road with a driver honking his horn inviting me over. He climbed out, beckoned me over to his port side, lowered down his side locker where all drivers keep their provisions and asked me if I'd like a cup of tea. Yes, really ....

I've long since failed to be surprised by such coincidences because if I do have a maker it's one of my own imagination rendered by a post human civilisation rewarding me for being an entertaining rendered creation. Just for fun look at Nick Bostrom's paper on how it could be possible to have advanced human capabilities. It's the prologue to "Are We Living in a Computer Simulation" - that we cannot know but philosopher Bostrom, who along Elon Musk and others in Silicon Valley believe it could be based on a probability exceeding 50% - just a thought!

I am an Egyptian

And having had mu cup of tea I carried on to the gas station near the small village of Al Shamly and happily booked myself into another accommodation commonly used by travelling salesmen, people with scuffed shoes and in my case if you were to rumble through my luggage, someone who hasn't got any shoes at all.

This is a fairly standard gas station along the highways of Saudi Arabia, they are built to a model, some are better than others. It's commonly thought that Saudi Arabia is a wealthy country and I cannot de-mythify that fact as the economy of Saudi Arabia is the largest in the Middle East and the eighteenth largest in the world. A permanent and founding member of OPEC, Saudi Arabia is also a member of the G20 forum as one of the world's largest economies something between . $1.069 trillion and $2.246 trillion (2023 est). But on the highways I've cycled along, other than the obvious cost of paying asphalt across a desert, not much else appears to have been spent there.

Map of the Day

Postcard from Home

Now I've been away for a month I'm introducing little bits of my life back home, adds a dimension to this odd chap on his bicycle racing around the Middle Eastern deserts always in a rush and a buzz, hope you enjoy the fun. Pictured friends - including Mr Jonny Pickles in the cap, Anne-Marie to his left and the irrepressible Impresario Mr Geoff Roustabout looking like an aging prog rock muso all from my home town Machynlleth, the ancient capitol of Wales.

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Wonder if Hamdi has heard of The Bangles? He certainly walks like an Egyptian!😂


Steve Turner
Steve Turner
Oct 21, 2023

Not a single junction!! And I bet there's no potholes over there.....just baby bum smooth tarmac.....

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