Sunday, July 22, 2007

oman...oh man!

so i arrived in the middle east. so far it has been pretty amazing. there has been some good luck and some bad luck but ultimately things have turned out great.

despite some confusion and mishaps in the uae (flat tires, delays, cats in the engine), ayham, diab and i managed to cross the border into oman, a small gulf country made up mostly of sand, rock and water. i didn't know this, though i guess it was a major news story over here, but oman took the brunt of a major hurricane a month ago and much of the country's infrastructure was destroyed along the coast. that being said, our plan was to do some off-roading along the coast and camp out along the many beaches. none of us knew where we were going but we managed to reach the city of muscat, oman's capital and from there drove into the mountains into a fairly secluded area and a gorgeous beach where we camped the first night. it was in this area that we first realized the destruction caused by the storm. a whole village by the beach was pulverized, their date palm plantations uprooted and roads demolished. sufficed to say, there were no tourists and hardly any locals around so we had the beach pretty much to ourselves. it was gorgeous. we built a big fire and smoked sheesha all night long.

One thing that happened that was truly amazing was we went for a swim at night and were terrified to see that the waves were glowing in the dark. at first we thought it was the moon but there was only a small crescent moon. we went into the water and every step we took, the moving water (more specifically small particles in the water) glowed an eerie green light. we began splashing around, noticing that the algae, plankton, shrimp or whatever they were somehow absorbed the kinetic energy. when we splashed each other, the particles would remain glowing on our skin for two or three seconds. it was insane. even though it was pitch black, we could see each other swimming under water, glowing like mermaids or something. i don't care if you don't believe me because we all witnessed it. at one point i put my foot down and something bit me and i screamed like a girl, running towards shore, glowing water splashing all around me. it was all a little too freaky. the rest of the night we spent sitting on the shore watching the waves materialize out on the water, rippling like the scales of silver fish across the expanse of beach as the water ran over our legs, receding to leave the particles glowing on us like LEDs. eventually we went to bed.

in the morning, i felt sick and ended up pucking florescent yellow until i produced a small white worm with a black head from my stomach. i don't know where itcame from but it was obviously not meshing with my body's chemistry because when it was out i felt great. we explored the beach for a bit and then headed out into some mountainous areas to find an oases where we could sit in the waterfalls. unfortunately, along the way we witnessed more of the hurricane's destruction. the mountain roads were so badly destroyed by landslides and areas where large flash floods ripped away the roads we couldn't proceed to much of the areas we wanted to go on our second day. we spent the whole day driving, getting lost at detours where the bridges were washed out until finally finding a place to eat.

there was one town that was literally abandoned. the only inhabitants were goats, sitting in window sills and on door steps. it was like all the villagers were turned into goats by the storm. i think i might write a short story about it. anyway, we decided to turn around and head back to muscat and stay in a hotel. we went for some drinks at the intercontinental there (you can only get alcohol in hotels) and played darts and pool and just relaxed. we made it home the next day, despite some hassles at the border. ultimately it was a fun trip. i want to go back to that beach from the first night though. that place was magic. here are some pics.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Hey Jamie, I totally believe you about the phosphorescence! I had a similar experience near Galiano Island of the east coast of Vancouver Island, a little north of Victoria.

Check your yahoo email.