So I’m back home again. Still in that strange world of a disrupted time frame as the body clock tries to reset to 4 hours backwards. So to make sense of it all, here’s the journal which is starting to answer some questions.
The last week in Oman was really strange, and I can’t yet make sense of what happened. Apart from the eternal friendliness of everyone, the hospitality, the welcome and offers of coffee and dates, there was nothing uneventful. Apart from the tailgating at 130 Kph, and the eternal friendliness of everyone, the hospitality, the welcome and offers of coffee and dates. And yet everything was eventful; the meals, the side trips organised, the overnight stays arranged. As we say in Manchester, the ‘glad-handing’ was outstanding. But it wasn’t my usual journey and I’m still struggling with the experience. It was all a bit overwhelming, in terms of intensity and what happened. It wasn’t my normal ‘make-it-up-as-you-go-along’. Maybe the rat wasn’t being fed. Oman is certainly safe, but there was a lack of wilderness during the journeys I took. I only managed a two day solo drive from Muscat to Sur, and then across country to Bidyah, Al Qabil, Lizq, and to Nizwa. Oman is certainly rocky, and there’s not much topsoil covering the hard bones of the place. It’s not a place to go off-piste as the consequences are likely to be terminal. Overall, it’s a bit Swiss. Controlled, structured, organised and planned. From someone with an internal cuckoo clock, that’s not really a criticism.
Picking up the hire car from the hotel was a bit of a challenge. As I wanted it for Friday (Friday being prayers and the start of the weekend) I couldn’t have it until 5pm Thursday. Ali Shamsi (my driver) decided to take me out for a meal at 3.30 and we didn’t finish up and get to the hotel until 5.50pm. To his credit the car hire man was still there. I got the keys and checked that he would be there to collect the car the next Thursday. Wednesday and Thursday were national holidays. “Oh Yes,” he said. “We’re here from 8.30am.”
And so the plan began …