Oman II

A word about the stallion hot blooded Arab men

Great Way to Wake Up

Finally! Finally, I am satisfied. After all those kilometers in Turkey, Iraq and Iran only now I am fully satisfied. Fulfilled in all my needy wishes. As a lone woman in a male dominated country indeed. Not much women to be seen here, and perhaps that’s why but oh… the men of Oman…

Can I say they are responsible for my heavenly feeling of satisfactory? These men, immaculate dressed in clean, white, stiffened long dresses, a dishdasha called. Their body’s smelling of purest soap, their shadows leaves a dust of pure incense, their robes flowing in the wind, the tassel that hangs down from the neckline is dipped in perfume. Can I say they did it?

Can I say they fulfilled my wishes? Twice a day, every morning, every evening. Those men, dark bearded -you must know I’ve always fancied long bearded man, like Pathans or Sikhs- and those men, turbaned, they actually gave way to where ever I wanted it to be done.

Pitching my tent! I have been fully satisfied in the sultanate of Oman!

Jumping, stretching, running: I feel truly free

View from CampIdeal MorningFree

A fact proven by the photo’s in both posts, and oh boy… what have I enjoyed Oman. As soon as I leave Francesca’s house I am in the possession of a few highlights as where to go to, and that’s where I am heading, meanwhile my Indian visa is processed. The nature where I cycle through soon becomes of a great beauty and while pushing the peddles gently I think no matter how ugly and unfriendly people to the Earth are, she keeps her beauty. All these constructions of roads and buildings, all this lack of care for the Earth, she sustains being a wonder.

Am I going to be raped?

Tough ClimbFOOD!Heaven, also for meCycling Cindy by FrancescaVisible Love

In the night donkeys can be my companionship, heavily breathing and sniffing around my tent, at other times it is just quiet but for insect sound. One time though, I am real worried, I feel the time for rape has arrived. And all I do is sit and wait. I decide not to act until my fate is sure. As long as I sit in the tent I still have some hope to be unseen by the guys who invaded the little stretch of beach where I erected my tent in full view of whomever who’s on it.

Oman-002 Oman-001

It was a most terrible night. It can always be worse, but yet, I slept little. Was awake for long, expecting the worst. A few men got onto the shore, they talk a lot and loud. Voices from the ocean go back and forth with voices nearer by. Although I do not register the men are speaking Arabic, a fact which would console me, I can sense the nature of their conversation is about a problem with their fishing work. I can sense a building up tension about something what has gone wrong and thus needs a solution. Yet, I can’t be sure. What if the men spot my tent. They might perhaps not immediately smell that I am a woman -most people take me for a man until they see me up close- but I can’t be sure either about this hopeful thought, now I might be raped on this empty beach. The men, I count about 4 to 5 different voices are really close to my tent, still solving their troubles. Then they walk past my tent, in the beam of moonlight I can see them. I can see them watching my tent, for the first time -I can see their surprised looks- and they carry on. A boat underneath their arms.

Hide and FindFor RealEarthyChrystal Clear

The coast, which was one of my dreams to camp on, turned out to be one of the most disturbing. Not only because of the fishermen their bad luck but of all the sounds. Crickets never seem to have chirped so incredibly loud as here in Oman and shadow is impossible to be found if there are no trees or sheer rocks. Within a week I dressed from woolen fleece jacket to tank top. Obviously, I don’t wear the tank top in public, only in private camp, but by seeing the same fishermen coming back in the morning I quickly dress up more decently. Not because of the concern of rape, that has gone altogether with the arrival of daylight.

It often is not what your mind has made from it

DSC_0468DSC_0596I simply love youMirroredRomance

Again I am enjoying my little camp, I cook a meal of porridge and chai in the small chip of shadow only to be found close to the big boulder next to my tent. I have chased away a transparent yellowish scorpion from under my tent, hiding equally feared in a crack now. Needing my pans to be cleaned, I walk towards the shore where the fishermen are trying to detangle their nets. The surprised looks on their face are almost shocking to me: was I afraid of them? I can see how difficult they find it to deal with a lone woman on an empty beach. I had imagined all kind of things, except the reality. See, the men are taking over my pans, washing them for me. They even come when I am cooking, to hand over some fish…

Oman1-002Oman1-001

The scenery sliding through is of fisher villages, or simple places where always goats and sheep are tripping through. It’s not very clean nor organized but a lively set up where donkeys are traded for more fancy productions. Each household has a fancy car, each house high walls. I don’t get to see a lot of women, yet the men passing me by who decided to stop are without a doubt friendly, slightly worried and settling themselves that I am with enough water, that I am okay and that I am actually here on my own free will. There’s always that look on their face which betray that I am slightly mad. It happens I sit along the road to make a photo when a car decided to stop a little after he noticed me, he drives back in reverse, almost crush my camera placed on the gravel side of the road and opens the window of his Jaguar: ‘Are you okay? Do you need anything? Water? Money? Of just food?’ comes out of the mouth of a immaculate dressed and groomed rich man.

Ultimate LoveTwo Men

Well, there you say something: food. Cycling through tiny villages I’d made sure through an Omani who handed me some water, that food is to be found. In reality it’s not. Thankfully a little boy on a bicycle brings me to a tiny ‘coffee shop’, where coffee is never to be found, and the owner neither. Luckily we meet the owner walking back home and he is willing to reopen his shop and make a few sandwiches omelet for me. I eat them outside as to give the good Indian shopkeeper his daily break.

Oman1-003Camera into the WadiProminsing

The more I see of unmechanized places and people the more convinced I become that machines have done incalculable damage by unbalancing the relationship between Man and Nature… Full Tilt, Dervla Murphy

‘We should also quit working’, says an English expat I meet along the road, ‘and start cycling more,’ he flashes an exciting look to his fit wife, bot being in their late fifties and enthusiastic cyclists. My thoughts, later in a new camp are of an opposite nature. That of responsibility. That of a more normal lifestyle, which put me off. I would love to go on like this for ever and have as little responsibility as possible. Obligations are killing. The camp I am in is right next to the highway where is very little traffic, the yellow-orange beam of streetlights are hardly reaching my spot and the only people possible seeing me are workers in trucks on an opposite road barely visible from the mountain where it’s cut out of. I have almost reached the ocean and seem to smell her brought by the strong wind.

Treausre GrooveEmpty

Each day the knowledge of a bright shining sun is energizing for the heart and mind, but most of all, the camping is what I treasure most. This life style of a nomadic, however made up it may be, feels natural. Thinking about all the abandoned donkeys, I would never turn my back on my bicycle. A car surely is faster and the unsophisticated power of a donkey or bicycle can never be compared to mechanic power, thus donkeys and bicycles has become superfluous. The semi nomads of Oman and the Emirates love luxury -not that I blame them, as I was born into it- and it seems they must have always been halfhearted the inhabitants of this desolate part of the world. Perhaps they always loved luxury and as nomads had an exorbitant life style already. Perhaps those people just want something else as were they are born in, just like me.

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No smell after a week of no wash. Are you sure?

Whenever I find a public toilet, I wash my intimate parts, this is quite a necessary thing to do as I got only one pair of underwear, and a synthetic one that is. When I know there’s little chance for food I stock up, I rather have extra than the thought of too little. Extra water is always on the bicycle so I’ll never be without in the mornings, I am assured of giving in to my chai addiction. Oman is giving me a great feeling, perhaps the high grade of independence, as long as I have water and food I am fine. Every camp spot is carefully chosen as to have complete privacy, which is always the case, but somehow I keep having this feeling of being a deer. Enjoying all the time but equally always on my guards. After all, I am not a tigress…

Private StretchDSC_1027 (2)Morning GloryUntouchableContrast

Colors are bleak, bright and soft all at once, fish are jumping, birds eat them. Donkeys are standing, simply because they rather stand. Goats stagger around, surprised by a bicycle. When visiting ‘sink hole’, a deep gut in the earth filled with dazzling greenish blue water, I see fully covered women watching over the rim of this natural appearance down onto a woman in bikini. How would they judge each other? How would they imagine each other?

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A bit of the daily Omani life

Bit by bit I get to see more of the daily life of Oman, not a cheap life. Where Indians and Bangladeshi run coffee shops where pretty much all necessaries are to be had, but coffee. I always get my fix of chai, and as in Africa, made with sweetened condensed milk and a sandwich, made from paratha. Cycling through this country I have fully embraced and has quickly become one of my favorites, I see black forms wading dazedly through the desert at around 5 o’clock. Of course, this are women, going somewhere. Little boys are brave while their sisters are learned early in life to be scared and frightened of about everything outside their homely walls. As said, outside Muscat, women I barely get to see. Except for one who’s driving a car and waving very enthusiastic at me while her two siblings watch me in frightened surprise. Otherwise the women I get to see are from behind the window bars in their homes or from a distance on their scruffy courtyard. Always separate. Fishermen seem to work in the nighttime where the goats are often herd by women. Men appear to be clean and groomed, to an exceptionally standard. I suspect the best business to start in Oman is a beauty parlor for men. I instantly shame myself when I smell the soap they use, must be a bar of soap a day. My only possibility to wash are the ocean or a wadi.

Treasure GroveDSC_0899Sticky Date

Wadi Shab, Princess of Arabia was me. How many life’s did I had?

Well, I try to be a princess now and then, just by washing myself once a week, that will do. I try to be unseen from this activity, because I am bathing in my underwear. A rather big slip with very visible white stars on a black underground, to make an even bigger contrast with my white body. My top is chosen well today, a white sport bra where my nipples will shine through proudly. I am actually managing to slide unseen in the waters of the wadi until I realize the water is crystal clear!

DSC_0808Great CatchDSC_0896DSC_1017 (2)

Being in a wadi was the first time for me. I might not be living in a time where we need the wadi’s for our livelihood, but let them be a beauty nevertheless. The water is incredible soft and lucid, it’s of an unrealistic beauty. Opening my eyes under the wadi water all I see are blues made of crystal clear perfection and my feelings are leveling those of being in love. Later on, having cycled to another camp, the bleakness of the white stones is reflection, the haze is embracing all of us out here, the soft sound of the ocean is behind me, as I am not going to camp right at the beach anymore. All I see are donkey feces around my camp, a few bird of prey. To be ultimate content, happy and fulfilled, much is not needed.

5 legged DonkeyBlissfullyDead by WindFish of GoldKite Surfing

‘We are afraid of inviting strangers’

I notice that Oman is giving me a lot, by people who are the least invitational. I think that I really like the Arabs, they might not be super enthusiastic, no, they are indeed rather stiff in their approach, almost mistrusting and far from human rights aware but as a lone female traveler needing to camp in their expensive country, I am very happy. I suspect the Arab is raised with love and and equal portion endurance, perhaps beatings but incredible respectful. Their marriages might not be a heaven of romantic spoiling and mutual understanding, yet their interaction is fair. Even would they think I am a indecent woman they never show me. Perhaps Arabs are natural more educated, though this is questionable too, seen how the Arabs treat the oversees workers…

Oman1

Another very visible subject you are going to wonder about are the loads of Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani workers, the men known as dressed in blue. Not a few work themselves to death, being send home in a plain wooden box on cargo, just like my bicycle. These men are happy as stray dogs when you wave at them, they might have a bored and utterly unhappy look on their face, with reason, but their smiles crack open once you flash yours.

A head on a chickenneckNever EndingDSC_1029 (2)Countless SelfiesDSC_1049 (2)

Safety first

These men in blue are under strict supervision, therefor I don’t have to be worried that workers frolic around in the bushes where I camp, even when I camp in the middle of the city. People who are educated are not going to stroll around bushes and the poor fellows would be punished severely would they do wrong. Ammar is the only guy who showed some extraordinary interest in me, as a man to woman. Ammar could have been my son by now, since I almost reach an age of 42, but Ammar is nevertheless interested in me. He works at the airport and had my bicycle through x-ray, after where he offers me to bring me back home, since I lack transport. Very smart Ammar. His curly hair dances around his face, a face marked by acne scars, the corners of his mouth cracked and dry as most wadi’s. Ammar is tiny and not nearly as cute as the guy who helped me getting my bicycle through cargo, but I need to reply at the spot. ‘I bring you, put your bags in the bar and I bring you home,’ I mutter that he doesn’t need to, this isn’t part of his job, bringing me home, besides, he’s working, right? ‘No problem, I take a break and will bring you home,’ his looks, though, are those of a young criminal to be, but perhaps my opinion is based on his lack of grooming. He hasn’t a sharp cut beard, he hasn’t a razor sharp hairline at the back of his neck, he doesn’t wear the kumma, the beautiful brimless, embroidered cap. He keeps trying to get me in his car and my mind is making a decision, based on common sense, where I do get in his car.

Off to School

It’s really not strange that I ask myself why he is so insisting, I haven’t washed myself a week and are visible dirty. I guess it is his personality, as I see a few items do to with rasta, he must be open minded and actually, he’s not that young: ‘I am from 1985, and you?’ he asks me. I sense he finds that acceptable and asks one more thing: ‘Do you want to go bowling with me?’

Thank you Francesca, you were the first female non-local host to me!

My Friends

Ammar let me off near Franscesca’s house where I know my way in because, incredibly, she has put the key somewhere so I have access into her very comfortable home. Not only Franscesca naturally knows what a cyclist need -it happens now and then that the food offered to me is way to little for a hungry cyclist, not with Franscesca- she also has this female touch of creating an atmosphere. The curtains in the bedroom are closed with a safety pin, a towel is awaiting to be wrapped around my tired body and a huge full vegetarian meal is ready when I come clean and shaven out of the bathroom. We go for walks on the beach when the sun is near setting, we have a walk in a perfect manicured park where all I do is sitting in unnatural hard grass and we go to a private yacht club where fully dressed middle class Omani lay next to skinny bikini clad girls. I can’t keep my eyes off those beautiful nearly naked body’s, and I am an European woman?!

Oman

I regard this sort of life, with just Roz and me and the sky and the earth, as sheer bliss. Dervla Murphy

DSC_1052 (2)DSC_1019 (2)Another Death

It ain’t going to happen in India, camping and this free living in the nature, padding my bare feet on Mothers Earth, having my toilet where ever I find it suitable. Waking up by first daylight and drinking chai first thing. The smell of the coastal road with it’s fresh herbs, the stillness only marked by green and blues, perhaps by the black electricity poles piercing through the hazy blue sky. The bright yellow lines on the road where butterflies find their early death. Birds frisking around each other, donkeys got most adorable offspring, butterflies and blue tropical birds all dances around me and the bicycle. The occasionally eagle and heron but most of all, the bleak stillness. The strong and overwhelming sound of no thing. Living the life of a contemporary nomad. I feel such love for Nature. Thinking about wadi Shab, I miss it, just as much as I can miss a lover.

As soon as Shanti is in cargo, I miss her and somehow I feel more than usual nerve for cycling in India.

EndlesslyI'm an Addict

Just one more, because these animals gave me much joy!

Unison

11 responses to “Oman II

  1. Beautifully written (again). When I read this, I also read an undercurrent another dimension of insight and it is THAT I believe is from where your book will evolve. You write a magnificent travelogue (of which there are many) but few pickup the other dimension you are clearly in touch with. And what is that? We need to discover that for ourselves :). You’re special CC!

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    • I am thinking of it more into this direction Remco. It would be so special to have a book of your own, which people will actually buy and get inspired from. To get out and do what they dream of.

      When are you off Remco? I am now in the Himalaya. It’s starting to get real beautiful.

      Love Cindy

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