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Blog 49 Al Dannah City to Al Mirfa

5th November

Nothing happened during the day other than I transited another small section of the United Arab Emirates. It's not that the country hadn't got its geographical highlights, but what it offered as I cycled evermore slowly east- refineries on the horizon and desert - didn't fit in any way the parametres of what I needed to make this journey interesting. When Mahatma Ghandi said how when he sleeps he dies and on awaking he is reborn, I feel my strength renewed when I wake and when I close my eyes don't have to see paraffinic hydrocarbons pumped into an otherwise pristine atmosphere which if it hadn't been for truck fumes you could taste in the air. It is late in the afternoon and dark falls quickly in these parts. I was fading, just a little. I needed somewhere nice to stay and there was only a very few places for a hundred miles.

Somewhere to Sleep for the Night

Yet presently riding a little short of 160kms each day I am surprised how well my body is coping with the physical strain. The heat is less intense as we now sit on the shoulder of summer. The wind crosses the left side of my back to exit across the right side of my face. It buffets me along not always smoothly and sudden sand storms spring with a spinning wind to push me off the hard shoulder and into the gravel until I fight back with grit in my teeth. But it is late afternoon and that is when I tire and my mind knows all my secrets that I yearn to stop. When Lawrence wrote his "all men dream but not equally ..." it was how I feel as night falls as finally I sit to eat and there is nothing left in me. I am shaken free of my dreams, and paddling in a deep pool quite often cannot touch the floor.

I always thought that if I wanted to be true and travel in the most honest way, something so authentic that I wanted to do it absolutely at one with myself it seemed the only way was to do it alone.

Hunter S. Thompson put it better in his book 'The Proud Highway, Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman' “We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and—in spite of True Romance magazines—we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely—at least, not all the time—but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don't see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.”

Map of the Day

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09 nov 2023

Dig deep, keep pushing. You’ve got this Nick 🚴🐪☕️🥐💪

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Steve Turner
Steve Turner
09 nov 2023

Congratulations 🎉 Nick for getting across that huge desert!! Must be a nice feeling then to sniff that salty sea air instead of a face full of sand although you mention the stench of refineries.. yuck! (I write now from our shared narrowboat somewhere on the Trent and Mersey..saw the flash of orange and blue of Kingfishers yesterday, fantastic!)

Anyway, look forward to the next sections beyond Arabia and I bet you are too. Go well Nick...☕..flat white and 🥐 for you.

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