Saudi CID have found me again, waiting at 6am outside my hotel in a pick up following me and really trying to be helpful. In fact I don't need helpful police people. I have a sneaking feeling there are three scenarios:
a) they have mistaken the numbers of followers I have on Instagram from 10,000 to 10 million and think me more important than I am
b) they don't think that
c) they follow every nut job that even considers cycling across the massive Middle East at the bare end of summer...
Anyway, I boss them about and get them to buy me coffees and into the wind I pace behind their cars - what fun!
I've just changed into new Schwalbe tyres but my repairs must be faulty because they keep going flat. It's not a tyre problem, it's a Nick problem. Getting tired (no pun intended), rather, getting exhausted. Today I cracked.
Yesterday a guy stopped me on the highway and said he knew a cyclist south of Buraydah and suggested I go and see him. The weather was dramatically hot with a forceful head wind. It hurt. On a highway parapet I looked over and saw camels nibbling Acacia which I knew and Balanites, Salsola and Tamarix, which I found out along with dry grasses, thorny plants and saltbushes. It was a picture. The juxtaposition of a modern highway and shepherds below tending their herd was complete.
I set off again, hopeful the wind will change but the flags suggested otherwise. And this city is huge. Too big to know. I punture again, change the tube and make for my new cycling friend.
Muazz welcomed me and let me rest in his side room and left me to cool down. I could almost not speak. There are hard days and there are wicked ones. I cannot write, I have to sleep.
Then I felt rested and my new Arabian friend took me to a 'farm' in the town which had been turned into a cafe centre...and WOW, what a delightfully tranquil place of which I have never seen before. Whatever you may think about Saudi Arabia, whatever your misconceptions, absolutely real and otherwise, whatever your misgivings ... consider this:
Buraydah Coffee Farm
Map of the Day