Muscat Roundtrip II
We woke up by the sounds of male voices which appeared to be the care takers of the palm trees. They were pruning the leaves and fertilizing the flowers of the date palms. It is amazing to see them climb those high trunks with bare feet. There are an estimated eight million date palms in Oman and it is by far the biggest agricultural crop. It is tradition to plant a date palm to commemorate the birth of a son and serves as a symbolic form of life insurance. Consumption of fifteen dates per day will provide an adult with all necessary protein, vitamins and minerals and it’s wood is an important source of building material while leaves and fronds are used to make baskets, ropes and medicines. No wonder it’s named “Tree of Life”.
In the South and the interior there are not many roads only because there are hardly any people. Here you find the largest sand desert in the world Rub’ al Kali, meaning “Empty Quarter”. Driving northward we saw it on our lefthand side in the distance but we did not see any roads leading to it. Only at the turnoff to Wadi Bani Khalid we saw a dirt road going left so after our visit to the Wadi we took this track and stopped once we reached the high dunes. We climbed the sand dunes and were in awe of the incredible scenery. Definitely a “Once in a Lifetime” place to be.
A friend and old college of Michele insisted we should meet friends of her who live near Muscat so Michele made contact and an appointment was made.
Lilianne and Robert have worked and lived for many years in the Middle East and are now retired in their lovely home where they keep camels, dogs, cats and other animals. Lilianne told us her incredible story when she walked four camels and her two dogs from Damascus to Tehran and then to the UAE. She now is an authority on camel health and works with vets and camel owners. While drinking tea and watching the camels we listened to Lilianne and Robert’s interesting stories of their lives in this part of the world. We had a lovely afternoon and it was a privilege to meet them.
If you softly blow in a camel’s nostrils it will “brake the ice” they say. Well, it worked, this gentle old lady liked it!