Abu Dhabi Weather

Monday, December 7, 2009

Oman (part two)

So we went camping in Oman, right? Well, the day after I was playing Uno with an Omani family while eating chicken in their tent that was lit by a generator (see part one), we packed up and went searching for a beach that was more hospitable. After searching out a few places, we ended up at a nice sandy beach with some great waves for the kids to play in. Everyone went splashing in the waves while my wife started the grill and cooked some hot dogs for lunch.

We had just finished eating when some Omani guys drove up and gave us a box full of fish that they had caught on ice. There was no turning it down so we decided to have fish for lunch as well. I got a kick out of their generosity with the fish while at the same time watching them throw all their garbage out the window of their truck as they pulled away. My wife grabbed a knife and started prepping two of the fresh fish for grilling. We brought the rest over to another family that was picnicing and they gladly accepted them. As we were finishing eating for the second time, another guy walked over and tried giving us more fish. This time we were able to point to the evidence of the fish remains and turn them down on the basis that we had just eaten.

The leader of our expedition started looking for this great place that she had stayed before and started pulling over to ask for directions. In the process of asking a taxi driver how to get there, a guy pulled up and said he'd take us there. After following at breakneck speeds for about a half an hour, the guy pulled over and insisted on inviting us to his place for tea, coffee, and fruit. He was so insistent that we couldn't refuse. When we got there, we were really glad to be able to see his house. The tea and dates were really good.

While there, I took the opportunity to use a proper toilet for the first time in two-and-a-half days. When I got out, my son was running around the house. I went to a room to go get him and an older woman who spoke no English was gesturing to me. She was using the gesture that in Japan and Greece means "come here" but in the U.S. means "go away." I now know that it means "go away" in Oman, too, because I walked to a room where two teen-aged girls were smiling and waving to me. The older woman shouted something in Arabic and the girls immediately covered their faces with their scarves. I later told my wife that she should be prepared for company because I might have to get married again.

After relaxing for a while, we got directions to the next campsite and said our goodbyes. We arrived there just before sunset. It was a campsite with huts, showers and proper toilets. After a few days of roughing it, we all enjoyed being able to get cleaned up and sleep in actual beds. It was on the top of a sand dune which meant that we had to stick our trucks in first gear and gun it up the dune. It took me five tries but I refused to let the guy who worked there do it out of principal. I'm sure that they're used to that sort of thing because they seemed content to let me try it as many times as I wanted.

Once there, we got showered and had a buffet style meal with delicious lamb, chicken, and hummus. I was even able to get a Heiniken to drink with it. After dinner we we listened to the six person band playing and smoked sheesha. The next morning they even provided breakfast. While we were relaxing, we noticed that my daughter had wandered down the dune where some locals were giving camel rides. It was a little touristy, but the two of us took a camel ride.

On our way out we had to let some air out of our tires and have the workers at the campsite drive our trucks out. I'm guessing that's pretty standard because they said it pretty matter of factly the night before that they would be doing that for us.

We finished the trip by visiting some caves, then driving part the way up a mountain only to realize that we'd better turn back before we got stuck up there in the dark. We headed for a town called Nizwa and had some great shwarma at a small restaurant. After that we sped back to Abu Dhabi loaded up on caffeine.

Overall, the trip was great. Now that I've been on a multi-day camping trip we know some things to bring with us for next time like an air compressor to pump up the tires and GPS navigation to be less lost. Most of all, we were glad to have Saturday to relax at home.

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