#22 – Oman

In the Emirates the chaos continued with unsympathetic people who liked to give loud orders.
Waiting in the bus and in the halls without knowing why, the whole procedure took 5 hours. Of course illogically organized.
We spent the whole trip with 3 other Germans. A couple and a man, all with bicycles.
Unfortunately my speedometer was broken.

We drove directly to the beach, we wanted to camp there. But it was forbidden. Off to the park, which was unfortunately fenced and rather a fair. But also in the park camping should be forbidden. Are we in the EU? I asked myself.
So we had to go to a hostel. For the room we paid about 30 dollars.

In the morning we drove to the real border of Oman.
First we drove over a 7 lane “highway”. So 7 lanes for each direction. But it became narrower, so only on 6 lanes. When we drove over an expressway it was quite desert-like, dunes and the expressway stop. Every now and then camels or jeeps and buggies, which drove in the dunes.

On the way we had a look at a dam where 2 people were painted on one side. Interesting idea, I would have to do something like that with my photo somewhere, hm.

The dam from the other side

At the border, they said we couldn’t cross here. Only for locals or only for cars, n. a.
We would have to drive over Hatta or Al Aint (both about 50 km away). So we had to go back a bit and look for a place to sleep because it got dark.
The prices are a little lower than in Germany. I think it is more expensive in Dubai.
There are many tourists here in Sharjah, most come from Russia, even Russian scripts (Cyrillic) I saw here. The cars are rather fat, SUV´s the bigger are me and also still very wide, many expensive Mercedes and also fat Japanese.

Unfortunately my tent did not survive this trip. The pole is now broken. In 3 places moreover started. I have repaired it somehow, I hope it will last the next three weeks. Then it goes into the garbage anyway.

What was great: at a mosque there was beside the free toilets also a shower! Michael took the chance immediately. Not me, because it was getting dark. As long as nobody complains about me, I can’t stink 🙂

By the way, sometimes the evenings here are bad. No Internet and dark. Stupid if it is just 18 o’clock. If I travel again, then with a flashlight. Unfortunately my old one is broken.

pedestrian bridge

Oman has already inspired me in the first days. The food partly Indian, the people similar to Iran, so greeting with “How are you! How are you! How are you!”, lots of fruit and vegetables, a big selection in the shops, WOW! One notices that the people here are doing well. No 5 million inhabitants, some from India, but also East Asians are to be seen. One sees differently dressed women from Burka, to Indian completely without headscarf. But in general you don’t see many women here.
Men often walk around in their traditional robes. Many speak English and like to invite us.
Oman has a sultan, here the monarchy rules. But my first impression is that the people here are happy. I am curious about the villages in the mountains.
The prices are somewhat lower than in Germany.

We sleep on the beach and have to pay attention to ebb and flow. The police stopped at the tent and asked out of curiosity where we came from. Then they drove away. This country is wonderful. But I think I say that about every country.

We drove a few kilometres along the beach to Sohar, where we had vegetarian Indian food. It was so delicious. Price was about 1.700 Omani Rial, so 1,7 Rial as it is written on the bills. In Euro that would be about 4,30 EUR.
Then sleep off to the beach. Near a mosque it is always good, as there are toilets and drinking water.
In the night we had to move our tents, because the tide came closer than expected.
The next day we heard from a Pakistani that the Omanis are not working. They simply get money from the Sultan. People from other countries do the work. I have to get to the bottom of this. Maybe I have to get married here to get the citizenship.

The way led us partly over stony roads, where only pushing was possible. The tires sank there.

The Cay is drunk here with milk. I don’t know the exact production, whether the water boils with the milk or is simply tipped over.

Oman became more beautiful from day to day. The valleys, the mountains, the food.

In the wadis, i.e. valleys, water can sometimes still be found at this time of year (December). Sometimes cold, sometimes warm. A hike here is somehow always worthwhile

A lot of files are grown here

There are many coffee shops where you can also eat cheaply. We ate e.g. Dal. These are small beans with bread fried in oil. You eat it completely with your fingers. It is like a small thick soup.
Meanwhile we meet some Pakistanis and many from Bangladesh. They even sew the women’s clothes by hand, some repair cars, run laundries etc.. So far I haven’t seen Omani busy with such work.

A lot of villas can be seen here.

We drove up to over 1000 m and enjoyed the view and the silence.

Again and again these water automats stand in the landscape, they are really great for cyclists. Cold and delicious water.

Sometimes you also see that someone has laid a pipe out of his house or garden so that fresh water is available for others.

In Birkat we slept at Andrew, a warmshowers host. A warm shower is simply much better than washing in the toilets. We still got food and a lot of information about Oman.

We wanted to continue from Birkat up to over 2000 m in the direction of the gorge Bani Habib. But the checkpoint didn’t allow it. Only for cars. Taxis wanted 25 Rial (over 60 EUR). So we hitchhiked with bicycles. Only one hour later we were sitting in a big truck. Our bikes were on the trailer full of gravel.
Arrived above it went to my favourite activity, the food. Of course I ate like everyone else here, just with my fingers.
When we were at Bani Habib we looked for a place to sleep. It was bitterly cold, I estimate less than 10 degrees in the evening!

The next day we accepted an invitation from the evening before. Isshq later took us to the mountain landscape by car and provided us with another place to sleep.
We did not see the women in the house, we were only in the guest room. As it looks, although women have more rights here, there is also a distribution of roles here.

Thank you for everything!

It went down, again through breathtaking landscapes. Oman really fascinated me.

We drove so innocently along the road when some young people called us to their place. They even spoke English. They gave us bananas and showed us the old village.

Later they brought us wood for the campfire and a lot of food. We were speechless.

In Ibra we went to see the old town. As so often many ruins are still preserved. Under the new Sultan since 1970, as already mentioned, many new houses were built. The villages moved or were built around the old town.
Half of the inhabitants are Omanis. The guest workers have to extend their visas again and again. We heard that if they build a house, they can stay. From the age of 60 (when the Omanis retire), there is either another visa or they can stay under certain conditions. Unfortunately, I did not get exactly what that is like.

Camel races are very expensive here. Some racing camels cost half a million Rial (1.25 Mil Euro). It’s just a toy for people from Qatar or the Emirates.

We enjoyed Oman as much as we could, did some great little time-outs.

I’ve been looking for camel’s milk for two months. But unfortunately unsuccessfully. The cyclist Eric, whom we met in Iran, showed me how to do it. He sent me a photo of how he received camel milk. I couldn’t believe it 😀

We are given dates again and again. Also sometimes with fruit or sometimes even with a gift dinner. Hospitality is an important basis in Islam.

In Bidiyah guides wanted to show us the desert for 25 rials (62 EUR) for one hour. It’s annoying when someone wants something from you all the time, and even money. If people see tourists, they immediately see money.

We had to get involved with one of them. For 15 Rial (37 EUR) he brought us into the desert and picked us up the next day.
As beautiful as the dunes are, when it is windy, everything is full of fine sand. In the tent, in the sleeping bag, everywhere. There are also many flies here.
We had to hide behind a dune. In the morning the tent was wet. Yes, the morning dew.

The next day we went to Wadi Bani Khalid. It went over 400 m high. A beautiful place where we could free ourselves from the sand in warm water.

After two days of pure relaxation we headed towards the sea. By tips of a Belgian couple on the bicycle, it went not directly to Sur, but over side roads. At times we could hardly get the grin off our faces and were just happy all the time.

On the second day we reached the sea and slept like two babies on soft sand. Unfortunately the sea is often tricky, it is windy during the day. The whole time a wind blew into our face during the trip. Sometimes it was difficult to get ahead. But we were still satisfied.

Freewheeling dogs are to be seen here more often. But like everywhere else, except barking, they do nothing. But he couldn’t stop barking. I prepared myself for a fight for life and death. But the fighting dog won and drove me away with his good tactics to simply hide in the bushes, where I could no longer reach.

On our way by the sea towards Sur, we were often asked if we needed something. The Omanis are really great. Also the great food like Daal, vegetables, simply wonderful.
When we wanted to have a look at giant turtles (I thought we drove to the beach and there they raved the whole day, played hide and seek etc.), we had to register for a paid tour. Too bad, I have to wait until South East Asia.
Despite great enthusiasm, I am looking forward to the break in Germany. Again and again I thought about it. But also about what will happen afterwards. What will it be like in Georgia etc.? Stupid thoughts, but my motivation is not at the end.

It rained, fortunately not over us. But you could see the effects well

A man from Sudan just paid for our breakfast in the morning. It was a nice conversation with him.

Each possibility for bathing must be used naturally

We sit again in the morning in the coffee shop, when strangers sat down to us at the table, there is space. They even offer us their breakfast, so they want to share.

For breakfast we had an omelette and some vegetables in addition to Daal. There was always fresh Chapatti – bread.

We drove over side roads towards Siya. The way was great. Hardly any cars, a few free-running goats returning to their stable in the evening and a few donkeys looking at us with their big heads. But they always run away very fast. Unbelievable how they can run over the stones and rocks.

In Siya we were invited and could see a little of the life of an Omani. A very nice man. We ate Arab wafer-thin bread, a soup with milk and vegetables. We talked a lot about our cultures and other things. He showed us a little more of his village. Also a small village in the mountains that the Sultan has set up for some inhabitants. They lived and some of them still live in the mountains. Now the life with the new small village is easier for the inhabitants.
I have only heard positive things about the Sultan, everyone is really happy here.

With my stomach full, I went on over side roads towards the sea, where I would sleep in my tent for the last time in this part of my journey.

A small private bay, a friendship with a cat and once again the flow of my thoughts. As so often about the future: what will I do during the winter, but also how much money do I still have. I am really afraid that I could go broke. Although that’s still a bit enough, I’ll probably live in the second part of my trip with even less money. My stove, little or no tourist attractions and more away from the big cities. If and how long I can keep this, I will find out next year.

Then arrived in the Muskat, we had to sleep once more in the tent, before a couchsurfing guest invited us into his huge house. We enjoyed nutmeg, despite the many tourists. We hung in the hammock under palm trees, ate very well and inexpensively, a great conclusion for year.

Well, after more than six months the journey together with Michael was now over. Since Bulgaria (Malka Polsza) we drove together. I would never have thought in my life that we would be able to stay together so long 😀
Of course we talked a lot and learned a lot from each other. But we now have different goals. Michael would like to stay in India for a while, before we go on to Southeast Asia.
I wanted to take the route to Southeast Asia via Georgia and Kyrgyzstan. Only I always said “maybe”, so I wasn’t that sure. The decision I will make probably in the winter.

Thanks for everything Michael and all the best for your onward journey. I assume strongly that one sees oneself somewhere and sometime again.

The flight to Germany somehow didn’t hurt me, I was happy to see my people again and take a little vacation.

I can’t say when it’s going to continue, I’m counting on March/April.

All photos to this post: https://lukasadrian.net/index.php/nggallery/alles/13—Oman?page_id=2436&lang=en

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