So my companion and I took a bus to Al Haffa Souk for browsing, a familiar spot from previous trips and just the right place for gifts. Here was quite the sales pitch for frankincense:
In fact, the aroma became so overpowering in the souk alleys in the stifling heat that soon we opted for cold drinks and coffee in the shaded streetside cafe. Waiting for the return bus, another buddy with respiratory trouble was suffering even more than I was.
What happened next was quite unreal. We ‒ and the entire market street ‒ were startled by a horrendous metallic crash. Immediately a crowd of men surged into chasing an SUV with a smashed fender that came to a sudden, erratic stop opposite me. An angry-looking young man slammed out of the vehicle to confront the shouts. Fender bender, we thought. Such a busy street. Let's not gawk.
After the chaos began to make sense, we learned that the speeding young man had just run over and killed two of our ship passengers, who'd been unloading from a bus. Third person seriously injured. Smashed the bus door almost off its hinges. And then he had not tried to stop. The outraged crowd that materialized so fast had somehow forced him to a halt.
Police, ambulances, witness interviews; counselling provided for fellow passengers. Terse newspaper reports that the arrested perpetrator ‒ not from the Dhofar region they emphasized ‒ had been speeding, with no driver's licence! Much later, the survivor who'd lost his wife gave his own account:
http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/articles/314545/passengers-on-cruise-ship-shore-excursion-killed-deliberately (I don't know how long that link will stay valid).
Imagine the pall over the remainder of the cruise. This beautiful, peaceful country that I love has its flaws.
© 2018 Brenda Dougall Merriman