Appropriate for Father's day, I got this email from from my dad today. I have posted it here with his permission...
Also, I will be posting again myself soon:
"Well we knew this would happen, I finally got to see the inside of a Saudi Police Station. It’s ok, I’m out now. Some little misunderstanding involving me, a tanker truck with no brakes, an excitable truck driver from Sudan, 6 squad cars, and a mystery arab.
There I was, driving the site, having warm thoughts of success as I observed a road crew with hard hats, retro-reflective vests, shoes, safety cones, (the works). Just then, a fully loaded tanker truck blew through at about 100 kph leaning on his horn. I was somewhat incensed so I took off after him to slow him down and give him the old impromptu safety lecture. I pulled in front of him an began to slow down. He moved left, I moved left. He moved right, I moved right. Still at a high rate of speed with horns blowing and arms waiving. I finally got him slowed down after another mile or so… I stopped my car in the middle of the road to get out and enlighten him when, BAM!!! He hit me!!. If I wasn’t excited before, I sure was now. I met him as he was climbing down the steps of his semi truck. The conversation was made easier because he only spoke Sudanese and I only spoke arm-waving, sputtering English. After a bit of this, he reached into his truck and showed me that he had very little in the way of working brakes on the truck. Great, I just threw myself in front of a speeding tanker truck with no brakes. I’m lucky the guy didn’t drive over me. By now, having looked at my somewhat shorter car, I’m beginning to rethink things.
He reached in his pocket and drew out his cell phone and I drew mine… he was quicker though. He got his manager at Saudi Ready Mix Concrete Company, I got a wrong number. But then, I called the Xxxxx’s Director of Safety and Traffic Management so I trumped him by a mile.
Two seconds later, about 6 squad cars showed up and easily a dozen police jumped out and surrounded the poor Sudanese guy. One of the cops walked over to me and said, “don’t worry, he’s guilty”. By now I figured I would be home for cocktail hour. No such luck.
A little custom over here is that everybody gets to go to the police station to settle things and pick up a police report (no police report, no repair shop will fix your car).
So off we go, me, the cop, and the truck driver to the nearest police station on the other side of about 30 miles of sand dunes. 45 minutes later, we roll up to a rundown beige brick building with a bunch of barefoot guys in uniform sitting on a rug smoking and drinking tea. They looked at me and went on with their work. After a bit, a guy who had 3 stripes got up and told me to sit down. He had to remove a pair of black socks from the chair and kick some sandals out of the way, I thanked him for his hospitality. He asked me what my nationality was.. believe me, I ran a few possible answers through my head before I answered USA. Then he asked if I worked for Xxxxx… yes I do. Saying you work for Xxxxx around here is like “open seseme”. The skies opened up, the sun shone, bluebirds began singing, etc. All the cops disappeared and I was there alone. Got a little creepy after 30 minutes. Then a rather highborn Saudi guy in white thobe and checkered guthra walked in, said “How do you do.” (not a question really). He disappeared. After another long wait, he reappeared. He asked me if I would allow him to pay for all damages and repair my car. Uh, sure? “Thank you, good bye.” He grabbed the Sudanese guy and they both disappeared down the street. A lot of disappearing going on. Now I’m standing in the cop station all alone again, the sun is going down, call to prayer starts and not another person in site. I walked out of the station and my car was there with all the papers and the keys. I did the obvious and jumped in and went home.
I learned today that I don’t have the authority to stop trucks and yell at the drivers. That’s ok because I don’t feel much like doing that again anyway.
That’s more or less what happened.
I am looking forward to coming home in 7 days… I will be on my best behavior until then."