Published: May 8th 2012May 7th 2012
On our way to the first camping spot
As I often do on my way out to Asia, I stopped by in Dubai to visit my sister and her family. It is a nice and relaxing beginning to my trips. And it breaks up the long flight east. So, once again, I disembarked in Dubai and started a two and a half week sojourn on the Arabian Peninsula.
Most of the time I simply stayed at my sister’s home and went wherever she went. That meant, picking up her kids from school, doing grocery shopping, bringing the kids to various other activities like ballet and swimming, visiting her friends, drinking her booze, eating her food and of course lazing on her couch. Doesn't sound too bad, does it? Well, to be honest I have a lot of respect for my sister, for all the things she has to do. She seems to be in the car half of the time, bringing her children to one or another happening, and when she is home she is arranging for stuff to get fixed, doing the accounting, and doing all that other mundane stuff which keeps a family running smoothly. Housewives in my opinion are thoroughly underrated by most people; it
is a 24 hour task, and often a thankless one that is looked down upon by others.
I heard a program in Holland where they talked about changing the name housewife to family manager, and I told about this to my sister. I think it actually is a very apt description of what the job entails. My sister thought this was a fabulous idea as well, so from now on, if she has to fill out application forms, she is going to write down family manager. And rightly so!
On the first weekend in Dubai we just stayed in Dubai. It is very hot here already, with highs in the 40's (that is Centigrade not Fahrenheit) so it isn't much fun going out at all. But in the morning it is still possible to enjoy the beach, and since my sister lives near the beach we went there. In the evening a braai and voila, a perfect day.
The second weekend however my sister decided to take me to the Musandam peninsula, which is an exclave of Oman at the tip of the U.A.E. I have been to the Musandam peninsula before, but the other side of
Our camping spot
it, and only in the mountains. This time we were going to camp at a beach one day and the next day take a dhow cruise through the fjords. On Friday morning we left for Musandam and by the afternoon we had found ourselves a very nice little cove with crystal clear turquoise waters, full of corals and fish. While it was hot, it was still pleasant enough during the day, because we could swim. The evening was fine as well, we had a braai, some nice wine and beers and a beautiful sunset, but then came the night and it was time to turn in. That meant going into tents and the trying to sleep in the blistering heat. Because while the temperature did drop a little, it wasn't by much, and while there was a wind, it was more like a hair dryer. End result, a very sticky night, in which I kept waking up in a pool of my own sweat. And I wasn't the only one, none of us had a good sleep that night.
So as you would expect we were all quite happy to get up early the next morning, take a dip
Having a beer and playing with the kids
in the wonderful cool sea, have some excellent breakfast and start on our dhow tour. Everybody was tired of course, but soon our terrible night was forgotten as our dhow sailed down the fjords of Musandam. Blue waters, stark mountains, deep crevices, sheer weathered rock faces emerging straight up from the sea, it was truly a very nice ride. And somewhere half way down this fjord there is this little island called Telegraph Island. You see, for a few years the British had a telegraph station on the island. This was back in the days of the British Empire, and it was situated on the line from Bombay to Basra in Iraq. It was presumably one of many along that line. This is however not the interesting part of the story. The interesting part is the little anecdote which that goes with this island. According to the Lonely Planet, it is here where the term, 'going round the bend' was first coined. Why? Well, the island was located on such an inhospitable location, that being stationed there was more of a punishment than anything else. As it was literally located around the bend of the fjord, those who had been
Me pointing nowhere in particular
on the posting and been driven mad with boredom, would tell others they had 'been around the bend'. So there you have it, another piece of useless trivia. Of course, we have to rely on Lonely Planet’s word for this, so let's hope they got it right.
Now apart from this little tale, and the beautiful scenery around us, we also had a very tasty Omani lunch, we saw plenty of dolphins and swam at various spots in the fjord. It was very pleasant indeed!
And so we come at the end of this little blog. I am back in Dubai and soon I will be going onwards, starting the real travelling. The one which involves rucksacks, cheap buses, cheap hotels and all the other hardships that go with what we call 'backpacking'. Ah yes, I am quite looking forward to it. Talking about backpacking, it is just that what I was asked to do by my nephew’s teacher. Talk about my life as a traveller to a bunch of eight year olds. They happened to be learning about the continents and countries, and all that goes with it. So she wondered if I wanted to tell about
Sunset and braai
my life to them. So I did. And perhaps some were inspired to become explorers themselves. My nephew at least, has already declared he wants to travel with me around the world when he is older. The poor boy doesn't know what he is in for. Travelling with me, I can't think of anything worse!
There are more photos below