Saturday 11 April 2009

Oman: The three wise ladies

After a brief period of handbag amnesia we set off for the Wahiba desert via Bidbid. As soon as we arrived at the Al Areesh camp, the staff began to panic as they had forgotten to organise the extended camel ride. This did not look good for Mrs M Tours.

While waiting for the camels, we were entertained by a French family making four attempts to drive up the hill into the camp. A short while later the grumpy camels had been saddled up and the three wise ladies lumbered into the distance. They were taken to a Bedouin house (belonging to Abdullah's mother) and enjoyed delicious dates, watermelon and coffee. Inevitably there were plenty of coloured string products at special discount prices.

There was not enough time to return to the camp by camel so a car collected them just before sunset for the dune drive. The driver's finale was an attempt to drive up the steep dune behind the camp which he did not achieve. He coolly reversed to the bottom and dropped April and Gail at the gate as if that had been the plan.

While queuing for dinner, an insect somehow made its way into April's underwear. During the resulting hysteria, April overheard one teenage boy claim she must have been 'shit-faced'. We British have a way with words.

The musicians fired up after dinner and we relaxed in the majlis with the sound of rhythmic Omani drums and oud. A small French boy stole the show running circles on the carpet, falling over occasionally due to dizziness and some sort of kick boxing manoeuvre.

We slept under the stars.....well, initially at least.

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