A road trip through Oman.

I’d be remiss not to give a great big thanks to our friend Melony who connected us with her friends, a fantastic family in Dubai, Deb & Joel.  D&J (and their 3 kids, Will, Oliver & Imogen) welcomed us with open arms into their home for 3 nights.  They entertained us, fed us, shared their vehicle and allowed the 3 of us to experience a small taste of normal in our otherwise chaotic world. It’s comforting how good a home cooked meal can taste when you haven’t had one in forever.  The boys were so excited about playing with other kids (on…their…devices, which they had been grounded from since Boracay.) And I even got some of that much needed adult interaction I’d been craving.  I mentioned to Deb & Joel (as well as a few people I emailed) that it has been since Sri Lanka (end of March!?) that I had my last genuine conversation with another adult.  Ridiculous. 

So...Mel, Deb & Joel…thanks a bunch.  It was such a treat spending time with you and your family.  And hopefully when you’re back in TO this summer we can reconnect.  Let’s do it.  Max is saving up for his hoverboard already (see his post)

Oman has been different than anything we’ve experienced so far.  I was expecting that, so it hasn’t been difficult to manage.  It has been beautiful, both the land and the people.  We’re always amazed at how far a smile and a hello can go.  Although there’s not a lot of interaction, the Omani people are quick to smile back and then keep to their business.  Unlike Dubai, most of the population are local (with some Indian people, mostly from Kerala, here working.)  You can always tell those who are native Omani.  The men dress in white or light coloured ankle length gowns called thawbs, thobes or dishdashas, with a hat or turban on top called a muzzar.  The woman wear the same only in black, and most of the times their faces are covered. 

OK, can I talk about it yet?  It runs strong in my Pearson blood, the need to talk about the weather.  Any time I called my late grandparents, the first 10 minutes of the conversation was all about the weather.  My father has now assumed that role.  Hi, Scott! ;) Anyway, the heat.  What I wasn’t expecting was the heat.  It’s been hot everyday.  45 degrees hot. I know it’s a DRY heat, I know the shit winter & spring Canada/Ontario has had, I know I should send a bunch your way.  I’ve got it, I do.  But 45 degrees is damn hot. Burn my hands on my seat belt, hot.  Have to pull over because I can’t hold the steering wheel it’s so hot, hot.  Can smell the ground burning, hot.  Heating up the buckle on my belt so much that when I bent over to do up my shoe and the buckle touched my stomach, it burnt me, hot. Not being able to take much video because my iPhone keeps over heating, hot.  Walking outside at 7am and having my shirt instantly soaked in sweat, hot. Breathing in and feeling the heat of the air in your throat and lungs (like a sauna), hot.  Ok, I’ll stop. You get it.  It makes it tough to do anything outside. But we’ve done our best. 

We explored Muscat and its markets.  Old Muscat and it’s buildings and windy streets.  We’ve been lost and made more u-turns and wrong turns than I care to remember.  And since Sully isn’t fully up to speed on translating Arabic yet, we’ve had to rely on the small number of english signs we see.  We’ve been the only foreigners at the most fascinating livestock market I’ve ever been a part of (still hoping to find a camel market!) and drove on the craziest road in our rented Toyota Corolla to hike the incredible Oman Grand Canyon, where we soaked in the extraordinary views.  We still have some days left in us and are planning a desert excursion and then hopefully making it to a turtle reserve to watch turtles hatch and find their way to the sea.  It’s been on my list since we started the trip and still something we’ve been unable to do. So, that’s where we’re at.  And where we’re headed. We’ve got a 4 hour drive ahead of us today and I’ve downloaded all the Justin Beiber, Taylor Swift and Beyonce tunes I can think of to keep the boys quiet. 

And I need that.  The quiet.  Because if I'm involved in one more conversation about superheroes, video games or hypotheticals like, who would win a fight between a shark, a killer whale or a lion, I may just lose my mind.  If it isn’t lost already. 

This morning I sent the boys down to breakfast early, so that I could have 15 minutes of calm and nothingness.  It was glorious.  Until I showed up at the dining area and wanted to do a quick 180.  Again with the whisper under my breath…fer fack sakes.  It was a buffet.  On Max & Sully’s table might have been one of everything. Ev-ree-thing.  Including stuff they don’t even like…’just in case, daddy’.  And they were being loud.  Like, annoying the rest of the families loud. I looked like the dad of the century rolling into the room and joining them. Ugh.

One of the things I love about them is their ability to not care where they are and just be them.  One of the things that drives me nuts about them is their ability to not care where they are and just be them.  It’s a fine line.  One I constantly struggle with.  

When I joined them, I told them they were banned from talking about superheroes or video games during breakfast.  That caught them off guard and it was remarkably quiet.  But an annoying quiet.  The kind where I could hear every crunch, slurp and sound of spoon hitting their teeth while they ate, quiet.  My jaw started clenching, but I managed to leave it alone. 

Then it started, I knew it would. 

First Max, ‘Daddy, what does alcohol taste like?’. 

Then a heated discussion about the pros and cons of artificial flowers and how you can tell which is which before you touch them.  Which naturally (!?) led to a discussion about how eye-crust forms while you’re sleeping. From there, an agreement between them...that if people in India were allowed to sell garbage everyone would be rich. Which was soon followed by them deciding that they're idea didn't make sense since no one would buy the garbage.  And finally the piece de resistance, a fact they both disagreed upon.  If you attached all of a person’s veins, arteries and capillaries end to end and stretch them all out would they travel around the world 2 times or 4 times?? 

While all of this was going on, I was staring at a spoon on my table.  And you know what I found out?  If you look at your reflection while staring at the outside, you’re right side up.  If you stare at the inside of the spoon, you’re upside down.  Hmmm, who knew? 

So that’s what I’ll leave you with. 

That, and a car playing Justin Beiber & Taylor Swift tunes, cruising through the Omani countryside...yee haw!!

#WhatDoYouMean? #AreWeOutOfTheWoodsYet?  #Help

The livestock market in Nizwa

Driving to the Oman Grand Canyon

The Oman Grand Canyon