Sunday 22 October 2006

Oman: on the road to Khaluf

If the GPS could be linked directly to the Prado's cruise control it would provide more time to eat tasty sandwiches and samosas hands-free. Something for Toyota to thinks about. We saw virtually no life on the entire journey to Khaluf, located on the west side of Hashish Bay near Masirah Island. The occasional camel munched scrubby grass, looking up as if it had just remembered something. Donkeys stood motionless. I hope mayonnaise comes off the seat fabric.

After four hours with little need to steer, we reached the village of Khaluf which seemed abandoned in the hours before Eid, with the exception of one lonely dromedary in a pen. We headed along the 15km beach past panicking crabs and a motionless turtle. On closer inspection the lack of movement was due to the demise of the poor creature.

We found a suitable spot above the crab line and struck camp while the little yellow chaps scurried about expressing great concern at the proximity of our tent to their particular hole. Regardless, and with base camp established, we sipped drinks wondering where the rest of the world was. It was at Tiwi and Sifah we learned later. I disappeared in search of wood and found a few bits.

As the sun set, the barbeque burst into life due to an overdose of environmentally-friendly fire starting jelly which glooped out of the bottle due to a blockage. An hour later, pieces of animal were sizzling nicely accompanied by the crackle of a rousing fire.

Around 8pm three 4WDs crept along the darkened beach shattering our isolation. The group of Brits enquired about suitable locations and drift wood availability. Having already hoovered much of the beach, I pleaded ignorance and took a protective stance near my stash. We admired their bravery as we watched their red tail lights come to a halt a few kilometres away.

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