Sunday, 25 November 2012

Jebel Shams and meeting Omanis

It's not just the overwhelming grandeur of the rocky heights that impressed us about Jebel Shams. We met lots of people there and heard (and told) colourful stories about adventures in many places.

Muneer and Majid
They were both qualified travel guides, very articulate, most kind and helpful. Both of them multi-lingual (I was very impressed by their French and English). They were "local boys", knew a lot about the area round Jebel Shams; I realized what a pity it is that we are staying for so short a time. There is much to see (David regrets, among other things, missing the turtles who lay their eggs in the sandy beaches further south in Oman.) Maybe we'll come back...

Here is Muneer with me outside the dining room at Jebel Shams.

We met some other (like us, retired) couples: one evening Pam and John, two mathematicians from Oxford (we worked out they had been up just after me) who told us some if their stories, fascinating (including a visit to Libya a while back...) and on the morning we were leaving had a long chat with Alain and Betty from Hyeres, also boat people...
I always wonder if we'll ever meet again, but it's possible...

We left around lunch time and Majid came in the car down the steep roads with us to be dropped outside his home in the wadi below.
Here he is with his house in the background. He told us his family was the Baluchi tribe, originally (long ago I gather) from Pakistan.
So we reached Nizwa, arriving several hours before the bus left for Muscat. An impressive Indian said his friend was just going to drive to Muscat and asked if we'd like to have a lift. Well, yes, we would...
We waited while they went to fetch the friend's car.
He turned out to be a young man born in Oman of Indian parents. So although he'd spent all his life in Oman, he didn't get Omani nationality. This seems the general rule in the Gulf states (like, Nathan was born in Dubai but no way could he become an Emirati).
His name is Maroof Khatri. He drove us (excellent driving!) from Nizwa to the bus staion in Muscat (near where he lived). On the way he told David (who sat beside him in the front of the car) about his schooling, his work, what it was like living in Oman, his ideas about finding a wife (we judged him to be in his late twenties) and how his mother was all alone since his father (who had smoked too much, he recounted!) had died.
A most instructive journey.
Dusk was beginning to gather as we stepped out of his car and made our way up the marble steps into the Sun City Hotel, where we'd booked for the night (all too brief, morning rise of 5 a.m. to catch the bus back to Dubai).

1 comment:

  1. Maroof's family is Indian not Pakistani. My apologies, Maroof.