OMAN (NOV 2008)
Myself & two Australian friends went on a self designed tour / trip around some of the Middle-Eastern countries in late 2008, We arrived in Dubai, UAE, where I had made arrangements to stay with my friend that worked in Dubai, after a couple of days looking around Dubai, we decided to head of to Oman, which is a country that is split into three seperate parts, one South, one East & one North of UAE, the part we wanted to go to was the one to the North, so we headed off accross the desert to a town on the coast of the Gulf of Oman located at the border of UAE & Oman named “Dibba”, it was a nice quiet place, lot of fishing boats and fisherman, and one of the most noticable things about this area was that the women were wearing a metal burka, it must be very hot with these on.
Anyway, we had a look around the town and then headed further north through the border crossing, no passpost stamps, they just had a look at our passports and waved us through? The desert changed from a vast golden sandy desert to huge shale mountains, with a rare bush or small windswept tree, the availability of water seemed to be totally absent, yet there were people living there, in places that most would consider inhabitable. The landscape whilst baron, dry & almost greyscale, remains to me as one of the most memorable vistas I can recall, it had it’s own beuaty in some sort of way that causes it to just simply remain at the forefront of my mind.
The road gradually got worse, the rough single-lane dirt road followed a small dried out river bed meandering ever upwards into the mountains, and on several occasions we would pass through an area that seemed as if it were man made, the mountain walls on the side of the road, where the river had carved it’s way through some time in the past would go straight up for hundred meters, it just felt eerie, and I am sure the other guys with me were also thinking will these walls cave in as we are going through, I know I did at first, but you got used to it.
After about an two and a half hours, we came upon a military camp, literally in the middle of nowhere, as we approached the camp we could see a patrol boom-gate in the distance set in the closed position, with the road continuing on past the camp and further into the mountains, we had estimated at this stage we were about half way to our destination, Khasab, a medium sized fishing town located on the northern coastline of the Straight of Hormuz, which is the body of water between Oman & Iran, anyway by the time we had reached the boom-gate a sentry was there waiting for us, with an AK-47 machine-gun in hand and whilst we thought he was happy to see some new faces he was determined not to let us through, despite our arguing in english which he did not understand, and his return verbals in arbaric which we could not understand, stalemate, at this point another a couple of soldiers had turned up with great interest, all carrying some form of weapons on them, looking at us, looking in the vehicle, this was getting uncomfortable, time for us to leave, so we decided to put our tail bewteen our legs and get out of there, END OF THE ROAD.
From there we travelled back to Dibba, and then again accross the desert to the Al Qir on the western side of UAE to go accross the boarder into Oman again, we eventually arrived in Khasab just on dark, too late to go spear fishing in the fjords, which was the plan, so we decided to stay at a local hotel for the night, all four of us in one room, it is often booked out due to the visa requirements of UAE, people work in UAE, and go over the border for a night and back to UAE the next day, so having many people in one room seemed standard there.
Anyway the following day, we hired a local fisherman and travelled out in the Straight of Hormuz, a very different place indeed, but that’s another story, we all had great time and got back to Dubai safely.