Thursday 10 May 2007

Oman: The Wahiba Sands

Immediately after work we threw fresh smalls into the back of the Prado together with all the desert gear for a trip to the Wahiba desert. The Al Areesh Camp is already closed for the summer, but the Al Raha Tourism Camp is still open until the end of May.

While deflating the tyres at the entrance to the desert, we were pounced upon by an Omani lady selling coloured string things. I politely declined the offer to visit her house and drove south into the orangey dunes as the sun headed for bed. At least we had the comfort of knowing where we were going this time. Fine white dust rolled along the desert floor as we approached the camp where we relaxed with Omani coffee, dates and fruit until the pitch darkness was relieved by the blinding glare of several 10-watt light bulbs.

We dined at a leisurely pace and chatted to an Omani guide who also came from Azaibah. He revealed that his best customers were the British (but not Londoners?). His current Swiss couple had spent most of their time being driven to distant locations to take photographs before returning to the sanctuary of their hotel (the Holiday Inn?!). Good grief.

The night went well until
Mrs M started to crash around the room at about one o’clock. The intense heat inside the room was too much so she took her mattress bed outside and camped under the front of the car. Duncan emerged from his room about half an hour later and decided to do likewise. Meanwhile I stretched out on the bed under the rotating fan which did little to stop the development of excessively moist body parts.

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