To Oman and back

 

Today’s early morning picture is of Fujairah, which was there in the mist as we drew our curtains this morning.

 

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The tugs were getting into position to manage our safe arrival as we were enjoying our breakfast, preparing for the day ahead and getting ready to meet our friends for an 8.15am start on our “mountain 4WD safari”.

Just as we were about to leave, however, we heard that we were going to need our passports and that before we could leave the ship, they needed stamping by the UAE authorities.  That was going to take two hours, so we settled back into our suite and I finished my book (The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar – brilliant novel set in Mumbai)

 

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In the meantime, a buzz was going round…had we heard the news?  Well, we hadn’t, but soon did.

 

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At around 11 am, we met our driver Nishan, who was going to drive us up into the mountains, leading the convoy of ten vehicles.  A charming fellow, he did his best to manage the tricky balance of chatting with us and answering our many questions with concentrating on what was quite a challenging drive.  When he produced the map and explained where we were headed, all became clear – we were to drive up into Oman, over the border and of course, the customs would be inspecting our passports.

 

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We drove through the northern coastal suburbs of Fujairah, into the next Emirate of Sharjah and then on through the small and less well known Emirate of Ras-al-Khaimah, back into Sharjah again and finally, crossing the border into Oman.

 

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We followed the coast road along the Gulf of Oman, where the fishermen were bringing in today’s catch of sardines.  We stopped to take a closer look

 

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The nets had been our there for a couple of days and they were now being hauled in and emptied into the back of several pickup trucks, to be driven to a place where they could be laid out in the sun to dry.

 

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The small silver fish glistened in the sunshine

 

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The fishermen brought in one net after another.

 

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We carried on northwards, eventually turning off the metalled road and onto a gravel track through bleak and desolate countryside.  With the temperature reaching the mid-thirties, the acacia trees were about the only living thing we could see.

Apart from goats.  These little creatures were to be seen everywhere in this, the most inhospitable terrain.

 

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Eventually, we began the climb up a dry river bed, following the route uphill amidst a changing landscape which was a geologist’s dream.

 

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Higher we climbed, eventually taking a steeper and more precipitous track to the summit of a mountain whose name I didn’t get.  All around us were the most fantastic geological formations and patterns of strata.  We stood drinking ice cold water, admiring this amazing landscape and wondering if we could hope to capture it with our little digital cameras. 

 

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I’m not sure we did, really.  But the pictures in our mind’s eye will be more    representative of this, the fascinating remains of thousands of years of wear and tear by wind and a bit of water – and once we’re home we will investigate more about this strange area of Oman.

 

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We continued to take photos

 

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if only to try to capture the experience of getting up here.

 

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because sooner rather than later, it was time to return and make our way steadily back down the same precarious route.

 

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This hot, dry place was altogether different from anywhere we’d been before and captured our imagination completely.

 

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Even so, it was good to return to civilisation again, via this old mosque – the oldest in the Emirates.  It was nearly 5pm when we finally got back to the ship, saying our farewells to Nishan, who had to return to Dubai – another two hours drive – making it an exceptionally long day for him.

Of course, that meant we missed our Trivia today.  Ho hum!

Collecting Emirates

For my textile-y friends