The second time I went to see the tree, I missed the turn, and went toodling on south, past the herds of camels, to the air base that covers the southern tip of the island. Just before you get to the air base, where you have to turn around, you can see the waters of the Gulf off to the left. On this day, they were a brilliant dark blue and very enticing, but they were decidedly inaccessible.
Except . . .
Shortly after turning around and heading north, I found this nifty little road off to the right, heading towards the water. Now calling it a road is probably stretching the point. It was level and flat – more so than the surrounding desert – so you could actually drive on it. But it was strewn with rocks, and would be easy to miss. Looked good to me! After I had gone down it a ways, it seemed to come to an end at what looked like a giant fort, but which was probably a storage depot of some kind. While it looked like the "road" ended, there were clearly tracks heading off to the right around this construction.
Fortunately, the land was hard and flat. The tracks of the vehicles that preceded me provided some guidance that I could pretend was a road. I chugged along for quite a distance – although the water didn’t seem to be getting any closer. Finally, I gave up and got out and walked. The water proved to be about 200 yards further down, and indeed was quite beautiful.
At this point, however, my attention was drawn to the khaki colored vehicle heading my way. It looked sort of like a tank, without a turret — propelled on tracks. It pulled up to me and two young soldiers got out. We greeted each other with smiles and friendliness, but they showed some concern as they tried to explain to me that there was a "problem" with my being there. I was curious as to just what exactly the problem was, but they didn’t speak English very well, and I didn’t want to embarrass them. So I decided not to press the issue. We bid each other good day and I headed back. I had thought of asking them for a ride in their vehicle, but wasn’t sure it would be polite.
Now, the way I figure it, any excursion where I get kicked out by the army has to be called a success.