Arabian landscape from the side of the highway.
Normally when i’m travelling it’s the time of the year when I should be sleeping in and resting from the hectic life that is Amsterdam so it never ceases to amaze me that i’m usually up by 5am reading and drinking tea. This morning was particulary beautiful, sitting on the balcony of the Radisson Blu in Dubai watching the sun rise, the glass of the Burj Khalifa sparkling in the distance. There was a large group of people sitting on a patch of grass near the quay of Deira Creek doing yoga. By 8am it was getting unbearable due to the heat. I tried to take some photos of the sun rising and the Burj Khalifa but the lens always condenced up. I decided to go to the mountains where it would be cooler rather than spend yet another day looking at highrise buildings and generic shopping malls in Dubai.
The drive to Oman was sometimes amazing with huge sand dunes but mostly it was shrub land or industrial buildings or little rows of one storey stores selling nothing but rugs. The nearer we got to Oman the more exciting and rugged the scenery got, mountains began to loom on the horizon. Crossing the border and into Oman I knew immediately I would love this country, it seemed more rural and traditional, not as bling as Dubai. I also noticed there were many Omanis around while in the U.A.E. you never see Emiratis, only foreigners.
The Hajar mountains look grey as there is no vegetation. Now and again i’d notice old brick forts on hilltops, it was Eid Mubarak the time when sheep are slaughtered so these poor animals were being bundled into the back of pickup trucks awaiting their fate.
Oman really is fascinating, I noticed oryx, lizards, swam in lush pools of water called wadis, felt my jaw drop when noticing old buildings, I’m also crazy about the fact that most Omanis wear traditional dishdasha and muzzar, I even saw an old woman wearing a rare Muscat Burqa…a thin falcon like veil which just covers the nose and mouth. It was no surprise that Oman has a very strong Swahili vibe, influences from when Zanzibar used to be the capital of the Omani Empire, I was sometimes reminded of Dar es Salaam. It was a real pity I couldn’t stay longer although Oman is now in my Top 5 future destinations if i’m lucky enough to be able to visit them. Forget the modern Disney bling of Dubai and go to ancient Oman, the real arabia felix!