Friday, November 19, 2010
Musandam (Part One)
After a night's rest, we decided to go camping again. We left most of the equipment in the truck while we stayed at home on Monday. Tuesday morning, we headed out. Because we were a bit tired from the previous couple of days we got up a little late and as a result left a little later than I had originally planned.
In the past we had bad experiences with looking for a campsite in the dark and I wanted to avoid a repeat of that. To top things off, I didn't have a solid plan of where we were going apart from what our off-road map said and what I had heard from people who have been there. Ah well, things work out in the end, don't they? We got a few miles away from the border within three hours, with plenty of time to fill up the car and stop for lunch before we crossed over.
Even though Musandam is a chunk of Oman not connected to the rest of the country sticking out in the Straight of Hormuz (see the above map with Abu Dhabi and Musandam circled in red), we need our passports. We also need to go through immigration. I've heard that it usually takes about three hours to get through, but since it was a holiday, expected it to be a little longer. Without getting into too much detail, it took over three hours to get through. With a combination of bad luck choosing which line to stand in, an extra slow immigration officer, and not realizing that people were handing stacks of passports to their friends inside until too late we didn't get back in our car and on the road until after 5:00.
Fortunately, we had plenty of time to get to know the family in line in front of us who had been to the area a number of times and agreed to let us follow them to a campsite they knew. Unfortunately, the spot they were planning on was up in the mountains and with darkness quickly approaching, we didn't have time to drive up the treacherous roads. (I later realized why he didn't want to drive up in the dark.) We were able to find a nice beach that wasn't too crowded and had a hill blocking it from the road. And as another positive, it didn't have any broken glass on it.