A tribute to our earth: part 1 of 3
We left Muscat to the south, getting stuck in a traffic jam and finally reached a small village. Yes, this time we werde traveling not by bicycle. Since we wait for Klaus heart to recover after the surgery, we like to start, slowly moving the body. Doing this with the bicycle would probably not be the best idea right now.
Day 1, 12 AM: abandoned village
Let’s get out of the box, out of the car. It’s so hot. And actually, in this country, you don’t go out on the road at lunchtime. The sun is merciless shining. But what to do? Stay in the car, the engine running and the air conditioner on, and wait for the earth to keep spinning? Every minute in these 10 days should be great. That’s my plan.
And don’t worry, there was no major incident. A few storms tearing at the tent, donkeys farting and goats eating everything, those were already the only small disasters.
After a 2 hours drive!
We reach a small village south of Muscat. Discover a crumbling tower and suddenly stand in a wind tattered abandoned village of mud brick buildings, on those houses there is not a single roof left. Of course, we have not discovered a place that no one before us has ever seen. Still, we feel a bit like J. L. Burckhardt when he discovered Petra in Jordan.
We roam the alleys, look into infinitely deep wells, climb half-ruined stairs to the upper floors, a mosque, animal stalls,… but not a single person and nothing except the walls, steps and niches that suggest former life here. It would be just too boring were it not for the play of light and shadow. The color, well, a uniform beige. A chameleon would not have a hard time here. But something makes the whole thing special. It is the silence, the cooler more pleasant air than that outside this village, left to itself. One day, when the walls have completely crumbled, you might still find the metal door knockers and maybe for a while the one or other ornate wooden door frame. That’s all that will remain. 100% recycled:-)
I am fascinated by light and shadow with all the achromaticity!
Excitingly unexciting this place. It has no emotions. It lives from the decay and the light. That makes it emotional. This place does not depend on beauty to be noticed by us. The beautiful moment to “be” here will make it valuable for me and thus remain in exciting memory.
These abandoned villages that have been left over the years.
Reasons that the inhabitants have moved out are often that the old houses were difficult and accessible only by footpaths, the maintenance is very costly, the infrastructure not very modern. Therefore, sometimes new housing was built for the whole village community in a developed place nearby.
Some such or similar places we shall encounter later, but then already marked paths for us tourists, less explorers, less prone to crash. Still a little we feel the coolness, the light breeze in the former alleys, then we leave the place and get back into our car to find a little away our place for the first night. We don’t have much time left before it gets dark.
Shortly before, a cute little special sink caught our attention. Unexciting but we are excited. Fresh running water for a moment. We have 10 days ahead of us without a shower.
We find a spot on the road between and on all the rocks. The kind of desert we don’t think of when we hear the word desert.
By 6pm we are in and on our sleeping bags and know it will be a long night. At 5:50 it will be dawn and we will get up.
Day 2, 6 AM: Mountains
We don’t have a 4×4 vehicle, so many roads are not possible for us. We are on the road very early. A tea would be nice. A small breakfast? We stop at this inconspicuous yet closed coffee shop. Do you know this? When suddenly your stomach is filled (not yet with food) with all this comforting feeling that it’s impossible not to grin.
That special moment. A “young” man with a funny hat brings us a tea. And then he comes with other goodies. The snack bar is not 5 stars, but for us a 5star place. It was perfect. And so we sat there. For quite a while and actually we didn’t want this moment to end. We had gotten what we were looking for and what we needed. We drove on.
Through villages and small towns, past herds of goats and up the roads. Further up. The roads are often narrow and somehow way too steep. No German road construction standard. What comes behind? It goes up and we have no idea if there is a curve after that. And then suddenly it goes down into a hollow. Wow, a rollercoaster is nothing compared to that. We have to laugh about such a ride.
It seems that we have reached a pass and small shelters invite us to have a picnic. One of them becomes ours also for the night. Our tent doesn’t need to be tied down here, and somehow we feel safe in our little kennel. We unpack our small camping chairs and I have the feeling, the emotions, our world, is overwhelming us.
It gets cooler, the wind stronger!
Slowly the earth continues to turn. The strong colors change into pastel tones. I stand there and would like most that it does not pass. Light blue, pink, yellow….. and slowly, very slowly these tones also disappear. The mountains dive into a silhouette in front of the sky until it too darkens, the stars show themselves and the moon gives a little light. We didn’t have time to eat properly. So fascinated were we by the sight.
A can of beans is enough and we disappear into our sleeping bags. It becomes cold in the night and, the wind stronger. At 1900m altitude. The wind gets too strong. The tent hits against the grid of the shelter, the tent poles bend and twist… we get out of the tent, dismantle it and get into the car… in our sleeping bags on the seats we spend the rest of the night… And there it shows up again, the sun. First a few mountain peaks bathed in a golden glow and then full force back into the day. We stay a bit longer and enjoy.
Why we didn’t rent a 4×4?
4×4 cars, too expensive and besides we can’t handle it at all.
On the very first day we meet a couple, around 60, who drive such roads for the first time. I see the stress. The two are visibly annoyed. They have mastered the climb to the pass from the other side of the mountain. The side we will not be able to explore, because the paths are steep and full of scree. Without experience, there even with appropriate vehicle such a route can become a pretty crappy experience. I felt so sorry for them. They were here for an adventure, but one that was too big for them. They missed this place, they couldn’t enjoy it.
I’m glad, we stay well-behaved on the easy to drive roads. It’s not about the thrill, it’s about admiring our earth. About what is simply there. Without much ballyhoo, without the extra portion of cream. The beauty, the beautiful moment that passes and makes room for the next.
Day 3, 7 AM: City
After we were fascinated by the completely decayed village of the first day, we decided to visit another one. A village of mud-brick buildings in which, in contrast to the first, people still live. Needless to say, we are on the road very early again. And since not only the tourists are still asleep but also most of the inhabitants of these places, we can roam them without really disturbing. Of course the heart is bumping a bit more. We would like to remain undiscovered. I’m a little embarrassed to wave the camera around here like this and take all those pictures. It’s so quiet in those alleys. No blaring music, no rattling engines, no rushing air conditioners. Simply everything is missing, which equals a constant sound.
And again, light and shadow in this place so uniform in color bring out infinitely exciting textures!
3h later we find ourselves on a bench in an oasis and once again eat beans from a can and apples. We smell the water, the green, the sand and hear the birds. Chirping, but again no permanent noise. A small disturbance is only a tourist woman who floats past us as if on clouds and is so overjoyed about this place that she can’t stop herself from talking to us.
Honestly, this was not a special place at all. Just an oasis with palm trees that is used for agriculture. But again, a perfect moment.
I wonder if people from this country would be so happy at the edge of an agriculture field in Germany.
The plan for the night: again on a mountain. We are not getting too far because soon the road ends for vehicles that are not 4×4 capable.
But we stay right at this turning point. Set up our tent.
Our scraps from the apple get the goats and we are back in our sleeping bags by 6 o’clock. Windless, this night.
It was too quiet and then, someone was farting. About this more in the next article. It started restless in the quiet and peaceful night.
And 6 more days to go.
How everything started you can read here!