So what’s next?

Wondering what the next adventure would be, I put myself into the care of dear dear friends (whose value to me is far greater than the riches that created the land they now call home) and waited to see where that led.

Citadels, landscapes, buildings, roads, birds, people beyond expectation and that was only day one 🙂

Early today we breakfasted, loaded our picnic, passports, bathers (swimming costumes). smiles, sense of adventure and headed to Oman – Sohar to be exact.

An hour’s easy drive from Al Ain.   A very defined custom’s border post; no photography, stand in line, and the excitement of a stamp in my passport, Oman 🙂   (No EU freedom of movement here.)   And finally now Sultans rule, not Sheikhs (I learn something new every hour here) and immediately the landscape has changed.

Mountains, now.   More rugged, more austere, more “rubbish”as my father and his mountaineer friends used to refer to this kind of rock ; not the sort of stone that draws climbers into its orbit, but rather hastens them in the opposite direction.

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Rugged
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and remote
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slightly wild
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old and modern
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Ominous
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they formed such barriers

Life here must have been unbearably tough, and in many areas, I am sure still.   Reading, as I am, Rags to Riches, the story of Dubai/Abi Dubai one can only marvel at the speed with which this change has occurred.

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to villages along the way
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look outs
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mosques (different shapes from Al Ain
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colours, shadows
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guarding everything
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these mountains are beautiful in an austere way

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A special stop at Sohar for a picnic tea and biscuits, lovingly offered by Mick,; saw a middle aged man beautifully clad in white quietly ‘join’ us.

He sat on a bench right behind us, close enough in an empty vastness to be ‘part of our space’ and since there was a vast area with seating to chose from, I am guessing his solitude was beginning to weary him.

And he sat,

silently,

hands on knees,

looking ahead and studiously avoiding any visual contact with us.

It was a Saturday, a holy day and the streets were still deserted.

We spoke no arabic.

He spoke no English

He declined our offer of tea.

He declined our offer of biscuits.

As we packed up to leave,

we offered him some fruit,

he took an apple and banana

We left as he sat,

alone in the picnic ground,

beautifully clad in white on a holy day.

 

 

My cup runneth over

and so, still marveling at the amazing sardines we had seen, we wandered further, alone, no one in sight, but a dot in the ocean.   Our eyes adapted, finding it hard to comprehend what they saw.

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A bull in the ocean, bobbing up and down, accompanied by a young man who bobbed with him.   Surely not.

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But so it was.   And the bull (turned out to be an ox :))  swam with his master deep in the ocean for at least ten minutes as we sat and watched, mesmerized.

They then came closer, into shallow water and with tender care they scrubbed the beasts flanks, chest, belly.   Again we were witness to a ritual that surely goes back to biblical times.

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The bond between boy and beast was, even from our distant position, almost palpable.   The one relied on the other, – for what?   transport, food, strength, support.

Only they will know, if they even think about it.

But there they were, together in a ritual of cleaning, healing and I am sure bonding.

As we learnt later, a weekly ritual, which we by chance, and gratefully were privileged to witness, while standing apart.

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Such Adventures

Driving along the deserted beach road, our eyes were drawn by a massive flock of birds on the skyline.   We followed them and found a scene which, were it not for the truck, could have been taking place 2000 years ago.

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Such excitement, such joy, such energy,

We were caught up in this primeval act of abundance.   A sardine run, nets, men, old, young, in between, working together to collect this bounty.

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Salt, sea and sun protection
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and the net was full

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And He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. John 21:6

Their net was full; so full they could not lift it but had to lift the fish out in buckets.

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And all the while we watched, enthralled, amazed, humbled why what we saw.

And all the while, the men would stop for a minute, clap and sing and offer praises to their Allah for the bounty.

My cup runneth over

Surely a day not to be forgotten in a hurry.
Remarkable, ancient, and offered to us becaus
e we wandered off with open minds and no agenda.

Annie, Mick, – thank you.

Where in the world….

am I?

this crazy planet is amazing.


A swim in the the Gulf of Oman had me looking ahead to Afghanistan, right to India and down to the Maldives as I swam in luke warm tender waters.

Alone, but not alone

Fisherman down the way celebrating their bounty.

And a stop to buy fresh bread, back in Al Ain as we watched the sun set on a remarkable two days.

fresh fresh
made the same way for centuries
cooked along the sides
and so the day ends


A must visit again part of our world.