Getting up is the easy part, it is going down that gets a bit tricky,’ warned Sayeed, the hotel concierge, as he handed me the keys to the tank-sized monster I was about to pilot into some of Arabia’s most dramatic scenery.
I am what could politely be classed as ‘a remedial driver’, with a single battered Volkswagen Polo, and a string of insurance pay-outs to show for a decade behind the wheel. Therefore the prospect of steering the foreboding Toyota 4x through the Muscat traffic, and up and down the near perpendicular slate-covered tracks that wind their way through the Western Hajar mountain range, wasn’t doing my nerves a lot of good. The fact that I was about to attempt the trip unguided didn’t help either.
Surprisingly it didn’t take all that long for my faith in my own manhood to be reaffirmed – it’s amazing what
a raised cockpit and a means of transport with vehicular giganticism can do for a person’s confidence – and soon I was weaving blithely through the capital’s traffic and along the spectacular westbound highway towards Nizwa.