Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Feb 21 2013

Middle East trip, part 8

2/20/2013
The boat we hired was ready for us at the marina when we arrived this morning, the other tourists looking on in what I imagined to be jealousy but what was probably in reality closer to apathy. We charged out into the ocean, full throttle, the wind making the Omanis’ robes billow up in a cartoonish fashion, until we came upon the little group of vessels milling around trying to keep up with various schools of dolphins.

The dolphins did put on a great show, I have to admit, jumping completely out of the water and flying through the air for a surprisingly long time. After a bit of this, we left the group and tooled along the coast, past some interesting forts, geographic formations, and luxury resorts.

It was to these 6-star resorts that we headed to afterwards by car. Ahmed was driving his brother’s Porsche, so they let us into the luxurious lobby. We walked down to the immaculately groomed lawns along the beach, staring at all the rich white people, who stared back from behind their oversized sunglasses and Dan Brown novels. I wondered what they did with the lives otherwise that they were able to afford such a place. Canals between the pools had a currant so that tubers could waft along without the hardship of paddling, and Indian caretakers worked meticulously to keep the shrubbery right and the tourists happy in their hammocks and lawn chairs. Out on the water, the seawall was composed of granite. The line between the greenery of the resort and the bleak, barren native rock of the area couldn’t have been clearer. I wondered what, if any, of Oman these people would see during their vacations.

Our next stop was a restaurant on the waterfront, which we promptly changed for something indoors after being attacked by flies. The food was good, but besides an aging writer looking thoughtfully out the window while making notes, we were the only patrons. Salim and Ahmed always order too much food.

We came back to the hotel for a rest, and then we went out again for dinner at Salim’s house, which is large and comfortable. The women disappeared at one point to an area of the house where men are apparently not allowed, and we couldn’t see Salim’s wife, either, due to custom. The food was delicious, though. And there was too much of it. Salim and Ahmed demonstrated how Omani men apply various fragrances via oils, rosewater, and smoke. “Now don’t shower for a week,” they said.

posted by Poagao at 5:04 am  

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