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I almost died today. Twice.

This morning has simply been awful. Words can’t even describe. I haven’t posted on here for a while, mostly because I’m lazy but also because I’ve been ridiculously busy. But this just needed to be shared, so I’ll upload past posts later on. SO! Let’s talk about taxi’s. It’s generally advised that having a regular driver is the best way to get around in Riyadh, as of course women can’t drive. Whilst that is usually the case, my driver couldn’t come to me today so I had to hail a taxi outside to get to work. Whilst this would pose no issues or complications in London, it’s an entirely different ball game here. Here is what happened:

I ask the concierge to flag down a taxi for me. I didn’t quite fancy standing in the scorching heat trying to get the attention of a taxi when every single car that drives past almost has an accident because their eyes are not on the road but rather, my face. OMFG A WOMAN. Ugh, gtfo.

So I make sure that the driver knows where I want to go, and I double check that he is familiar with Princess Noura University and will not need me to direct him. He’s all good so I get in (after reasoning with him for a decent price – I’ve become quite the professional), only to be asked ten minutes later which way he should turn. WDF. To make matters even more ghastly, he doesn’t speak a word of English and speaks to me in rapid Urdu and bits of Arabic. So I told him that I don’t know and that he said he knows how to get there, to which he starts muttering. Now I don’t have a clue which way he needs to turn as the university is pretty far and it’s mainly highways. I also can’t communicate with him, which was just beaut.

Anyway, so eventually we arrive, and one of the security men starts shouting at the driver saying that he isn’t allowed to enter so I told him that I’m a teacher and that I need to get in, to which he responds with a look of such disbelief and disgust that almost burned my face. It was a “did you, a WOMAN, just speak to me?!” Anyway, he and the driver shouted at eachother for a bit until the driver just leaves. So here I am, in the back seat of this taxi thinking that he is going to another entrance. Does he? No. No he does not. Does he drive into the desert and tell me to get out of the car? Yes. Yes he does.

I’m actually serious. He drove further away from the university and towards the desert highway kind of bit and literally started yelling at me and told me to get out. I didn’t even know why. Let me just say that if I were to get out of the car, I would have either stood there in the DESERT until I died, or I would have been dragged by my hair (to make matters worse, my hair wasn’t covered which is basically the national signal for “I am a whore”) to an unknown location where I would probably get arrested. OR, some man would find me and kill me. Either way, I was not about to get out of that car. The driver actually turned the engine off and just kept telling me to get out, so then I got angry and asked him what kind of man he was and how could he just tell me to get out of his car in the middle of the fucking desert in a country where women are not ever seen walking alone. In arabic because I am a BOWS. I shouldn’t have said any of that though because it seemed to have tickled a bit of a nerve and he looked at me like he was going to kill me, curses me in Arabic and started driving off super fast, presumably to murder me and dispose of my body in the desert. Convinced that one way or another, I would be killed today, I told the driver to go back to the university whilst he was shouting no and other kinds of rude shit. To cut the story short, I had to engage in a shouting match with him for at least 15 minuted until he eventually agreed to just drop me back home.

Half way through the journey, he asks me for direction. LOL ARE YOU JOKING MATE. I was so annoyed I asked him how he is a taxi driver when he doesn’t know where anything is. In case you haven’t quite grasped the general vibe of this man, he wasn’t too pleased to hear this comment lol and starts shouting some more, all the while not having his eyes on the road and yes, OF COURSE a massive jeep flies out from some random corner at full speed and causes the taxi driver to do the most drastic attempt of a U-Turn I’ve ever seen. About five other cars were affected and were swerving in all kinds of directions, and the taxi I was in actually spun around like three times. Again, I was so prepared to die. Then he shouts at me because look what I made him do.

Eventually I arrived home, and although I didn’t want to pay him, I genuinely believed that he would either run me over or take note of where I live and come back in the middle of the night to kill me where I sleep. So I gave him 50 riyals and left. He actually had the audacity to roll down the window and say that I need to pay him for the journey there and back at 75 riyals so I shot him a look of such evil loathing and walked off, feeling as though the backdrop should explode into flames or something whilst I walk away into the desert sunset.

Sigh. I then come home and whilst explaining the tragedy of my morning to my friend, we find a mouse. A MOUSE. So technically, I almost died three times because I’m sure that was what the mouse was planning to do.

So naturally, I am now filled with anxiety and post-traumatic stress and I’m not entirely sure what to do with myself now other than despair at the mornings events and silently pray to all the gods to deliver me from evil.

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