Friday 12 January 2007

Oman: told you it wouldn't rain

As the sun nudged gingerly over the cloudy horizon, I wandered along the beach with spade and TP looking for an appropriate spot, trying to analyse my thought processes in selecting the ideal location. The job done, I strolled back past black crabs running for cover in the rocks and brought last night's fire back to life using a few puffs over the red embers. With a little more wood from a substantial tree in the beach debris, we had sufficient to keep us smelling like barbeque flavoured crisps.

After a lard-laden breakfast (one of the few occasions when it is allowed – another being weekend rowing training) we swam (although not all - you know who I mean), fished and sunbathed during an interval in the cloud which was showing signs of clearing overhead but regrouping over the mountains. A few hours later, the dying embers from our twenty-four hour fire signalled it was time to pack up and everything went back into nylon sacks and cardboard boxes.

During the drive back we stopped to take a closer look at the road which collapsed a few kilometres from the campsite (photographed on a previous trip). The engineering is quite staggering – compacted sand spanning a wadi with retaining walls of thin concrete and a layer of pastry-thin tarmac. I suddenly remembered the diagrams I used to draw (oops, I mean they used to draw) for the children's homework when they were doing Roman road construction at junior school. We Europeans have a lot to thanks the Romans for.

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