Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Feb 25 2013

Middle East trip, part 11

I woke up at 6 a.m. in the tent, just before sunrise. Ahmed had fled Chenbl’s raucous snoring and was sleeping outside under the stars. I walked up the dunes to a high point to see the sun rise, but I was a bit early, so I did some tai-chi forms to pass the time. That felt good, as this vacation has had a lot more sitting in vehicles and not as much walking around as I’m used to on my personal trips.

As I said, this spot, while technically in the desert, is not as remote as Wadi Rum. I could still hear the roar or a distant highway, and I could see buildings in the distance from the top of the dunes as I watched the sun rise. After breakfast back at camp, the Bedouin fellow took us on a rip-roaring ride over the dunes in his truck, ending up at the top of a huge dune overlooking his village. We sat there for a while in the growing sunlight, watching the sand trickle down beneath our feet, like water one second and solid the next. Our guide took a couple of flying leaps off the cliff, trudging back up the sand. I wonder if he often went up there as a child.

When we tried to leave the camp, both of our vehicles became ensnared in the sand, Salim’s Ford more seriously than Ahmed’s Porsche Cayenne. We had to let air out of the tires and dig them out before we could move on to the highway, where we crept along at a snail’s pace due to the deflated tires, until we could fill them up at a place filled with staring men.

On the road back to Muscat, we stopped at a large round fort with “murder holes” above and below its entry passages, to drop things onto intruders, as well as to drop intruders onto things. The light was very nice as we walked back through the market to the cars, and we felt that we should stay instead of going on to Sun Mountain, but this decision took rather a long time to make as our hosts had so far been puzzled at our priorities. We took in an abandoned village before turning back to the market, which was of course by this time much more populated and much worse lit. However, it was nice to get to just walk around a bit, do a little alley-prowling, etc., before we drove back to Muscat.

posted by Poagao at 6:42 am  

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