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Curry Lemons and Sand Dunes

It was a sad moment, that next morning when we realized we would need to leave the comfortable womb of the Intercontinental Hotel in Muscat.

As a decent conciliation, we would be climbing back into the Previa and racing across the desert back to Dubai, where we could look forward to another couple days in the pleasant company of our dear friend Sid.

As I walked out of the hotel with my filthy yellow technology bag, my ukulele, and my weathered Panama hat, I wondered what they must think of us. How often does a guest as strange as AsiaWheeling’s team Prevlaunch show up at this kind of place?

We sat down in the giant expanse of the lobby and considered ordering coffee, but further scrutiny of the price and the recollection that we were still very long on Red Bull, brought us back to our senses.

I sat in the lobby, sipping a Red Bull and watching the other guests, most of whom were very well dressed western and Omani businessmen.  I opened my computer and did a little work, while Scott and Claudia took a last tour of the grounds. Meanwhile, Jackson, in his infinite kindness, was handling the luggage (or at least directing the operations of the hotel’s luggage handlers).

With the Previa loaded, we said our goodbyes to this palace, and headed into the city of Muscat, with the goal of finding food. Unfortunately, not far into our stroll, we started to realize that most of the businesses were, for one reason or another closed (perhaps a mid-day napping break?).

So with an eye on the watch, knowing that we needed to make it back to Dubai that night, we hit the road, relying on the Red Bull and raw willpower to push through the hunger until the next restaurant opportunity.

We had some fruit left from our in-room picnic, so we munched on that as we drove. One of the stranger purchases that Claudia and I had made the day before was a type of citrus fruit called the curry lemon. We wanted to cut up the fruit, but the vibration of the road was increasing the risk of Claudia cutting off her fingers. So we pulled over.

They looked and smelled like grapefruits at the time of purchase, but upon dissection, the name proved to be more apt than we’d hoped. They were, in fact inedible, perhaps they were good for making juice, but they could not be comfortably eaten straight. And we had these fruits, opened and reeking… what to do? In the end, jettisoning them in the desert seemed the best move.

It was good to be driving through that beautiful landscape again listening to John Zorn’s Dreamers. We stopped for gas not far outside good old Sohar and purchased some startlingly cheap shawarma pockets to go with our startlingly cheap tank of gas. We attempted to recreate the glory of our original Ras Al Khaima avocado drinks, but were sorely disappointed to find that the similarly named items at the roadside shawarma stand were just green McDonald’s style milkshakes. Too sweet for me.

Despite the milkshakes, our love for Sohar welled up inside of us. Being so close to that fine place once again, we could not help ourselves. We climbed back into the Previa and designed this “Sohar So Good” T-Shirt.

We crossed back into the UAE, this time at a new boarder. As always, the experience was streamlined and friendly.  Our fellow travelers were well dressed Germans, who appeared to be living the lifestyle depicted in Louis Vuitton luggage advertisements.

We were happy to allow them to cut in front of us, just to get the chance to study them further.

Not far into the UAE, we found ourselves suddenly in a region of giant sand dunes. The sun was just setting, and it was simply too beautiful not to stop, so once again we called a waypoint.

We took off our shoes and ran into the dunes, feeling the hot sand underneath our feet.

We spent the next hour or so playing in the sand, shooting photos of one another, and generally reveling in the desert landscape.

We took the opportunity to give some love to our underwear sponsor, Exofficio.

When the sun had sunk too low to photograph any more, we headed back over the barbed wire fence that we’d hopped to get off the highway and into the dunes, and piled back into the Previa.

By the time we got back to Dubai, the in-town EuropeCar had closed, so our best choice was to head to the airport. Sid was so kind as to offer to drive us back from the airport, even in the face of all the sand that we inadvertently dragged into his apartment.  What a chap.


Comments

  1. aya | September 11th, 2010 | 9:37 am

    Underwear sponsor? For serious?

  2. Woody | September 12th, 2010 | 1:28 am

    @ Aya

    You better believe it. Finest underwear in the world.

  3. Val | September 12th, 2010 | 8:51 pm

    I wish I could have been with you to enjoy the beauty of those desert sand dunes.

  4. Mark/Dad | November 10th, 2010 | 10:47 am

    Beautiful dunes pictures!

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