For several days I have noticed increasing fatigue and generalized pain.If this continues, I have to see a doctor.Here in Bandar Abbas I want to postpone that, because tomorrow the ferry will leave via the Strait of Hormuz to Sharjah, one of the Emirates in the UAE. Upon arrival at the port it appears that the crossing has been canceled. The next boat will be leaving in two days. These 2-two days I mainly spend sleeping. The energy has reduced to a minimum.
The procedures for the crossing are a disaster. Together with 8 other overlanders, I struggle through the bureaucratic maze of customs procedures. On the Iranian side, we have engaged an agent who helps us with forms, stamps and unclear papers. It takes some stress away, but patience remains essential. I feel too sick to entertain myself a lot with the fellow overlanders, but luckily my situation is understood and I get a lot of support. After a day of waiting, the ferry leaves with a delay of more than 4 hours at night at 1 am. Fortunately I can sleep in the truck during the crossing. The next day in the port of Sharjah is an even greater attack on your patience. We are sent from one building to another. Forms here, stamps there. Waiting in line, payments. It takes the entire day and my energy is reduced to almost zero. Just before closing time of the last office, I can leave the harbor complex and park Piggy a few kilometers away, where two other fellow overlanders from the ferry also found a place to camp …
Satisfied I leave the hospital with a clear diagnosis and some medicines. Urinary tract infection and high blood sugar levels are not something to be satisfied with, but the calmness and care of the doctor gives me courage and confidence. After 2 days I feel improvement and after 3 weeks I am back to normal. In the meantime I have to rest a lot.
After a short rain shower it appears that there is hardly any drainage system in town. The streets are flooded in a short time. To get to their parked car I sometimes see people wading ankle deep through the water.It is also remarkable that there is hardly any pavement between the modern tall buildings. In Sharjah in particular, the large open spaces are bare sandy plains that become a dirty mudpool after a shower.
To move from one place to the other you take the car here. Pedestrians have hardly been taken into account. Crossing as a pedestrian is hardly possible. Often you have to walk for miles to find a pedestrian bridge or simply a pedestrian crossing. The roads are wide highways of three, four or five lanes. 75% of the working population is Indian, Pakistani or another nationality. I think the Arabs themselves stay in their expensive apartments in London or Paris. After a few days I look for another camping spot. The only beach in Dubai allowed for motor home travelers. Here in the Emirates, everything is big, bigger, biggest. Piggy is a little boy next to all those huge extendable caravans and motorhomes.
Dubai is proud to have the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa of 828 m. Every evening there is a sparkling light show on the tower and the adjacent fountains. Adjacent is the luxurious Dubai Shopping Mall where you can plunder your bank account to your heart’s content. There are also many other “attractions”. They are not for me. I don’t care
After 2 weeks I feel fit enough to continue traveling to Oman. It is a country of much white. Most buildings are white, but also the clothing of most men, the dishdashah. It surprises me every day how everyone, from the fisherman to the banker, walks around in immaculate white and ironed traditional clothing. Rarely have I seen so many laundries together. You will find one on every street corner. The white houses are usually of the castle type, including walls and turrets with battlements. The architecture is mostly cubist, which means that all of these houses are often similar. There is hardly any high-rise buildings and the people are quiet and friendly. In traffic, too, they are neat, social road users, where traffic rules are carefully observed. A wonderful country to travel in. Were it not only because of the beautiful asphalt roads that run along the coast and through the deserts. Enthusiasts also have plenty of choice from off-road routes in the mountains and over the sand dunes of the vast deserts. Piggy is too heavy for the “sand work”. I had to dig myself out twice already. The endless beaches in this country are beautiful camping spots, but also treacherous because you soon end up in the soft sand. December is a good month to be in Oman. The temperature is on average between 20 and 30 degrees, while the evenings are around 20 degrees.
Unfortunately, there is often a strong wind which makes a campfire unattractive. For the time being, I will skip the mountainous north where most tourists go. First I slowly travel south along the coast, towards Salalah.
The roads are great. I can even reach speeds of 95 km per hour. I have never driven that fast. But this time I have a strong headwind and I can just reach 75 km per hour. Every time a truck from the other side rushes past me (it has tailwind) I am shocked by the enormous pressure wave that blows in through my open window. What a blow that gives. When an extra large truck passes, I hear a short crack and I feel that suddenly a heavy wind is blowing in my face. I see stars in front of me while the wind is howling inside. In a split second I realize that the entire windshield has been blown in. The screen of my rear camera is my salvation. It partially blocks the window so that I don’t get hurt myself. The boy from the fuel station down the road can’t help me. I need 15 minutes to think about all the options. I see that Muskat is closer than Salalah. I decide to drive the 580 km back to Muskat, but not before I taped everything with ductape. I can finally use my monopod (for my camera), but for a different purpose. I use the thing to prop up the rear of the window in the middle.
The return trip takes three days. Of course, speeding is not an option. The wind changed during the second day. This means headwind again. In the meantime, I am driving among the sand dunes. It has become a real sandstorm. The visibility is no further than 50 meters and the sand drifts in through the broken window. At the end of the day everything in the cabin has the same color. Sand color. Even my red T-shirt is no longer distinguishable from the rest. In the meantime, I realize that I also have two ski poles with me. A gift in Mongolia from an Israeli couple who donated everything after their car had irreparable damage. I continue the journey with three pairs of sticks behind the window.
In the meantime I call Khalid. I met him the first day in Oman when I was filling up. He recognized my Dutch license plate, walked over to me and told me that he was in the Netherlands just a week ago. He buys second-hand trucks in the Netherlands and ships them to Oman. First he wanted to invite me for a coffee, but with my polite refusal he gave me his business card and said that I could always call him if there were any problems. In retrospect, this was a golden encounter. Khalid went looking for a suitable windshield expert and later called me back when he found one who could certainly help me.
The windshield expert appears to be a golden choice. After two days I can drive back to the south. Including a beautiful scratch-free (still) plexiglass windshield, custom made. To be on the safe side, I have secured the monopod and the two ski poles behind the window again
A solution can be found for every problem, it appears again.
At the moment I am not far from Salalah and I find myself here in a beautiful mountain landscape. It sometimes looks like Grand Canyon. In a month’s time I will meet my brother and sister-in-law near Muskat who will be here for a few days as part of a trip through the Middle East. I am looking forward to that.
For several months, Saudi Arabia has opened its borders to tourists with their own transport. The plan is therefore to go to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel and take the ferry to Italy. So I’m on my way back. But the reason is just to get a new C driving license which will probably take six months. GRRRRRRR !!!
Before June 2020 Piggy will feel Dutch land under its shoes again.
TAKE A LOOK AT PHOTO’S AND VIDEO’S OF UAE AND OMAN
MY PORTFOLIO OF MY TRAVELS FROM 1987 CAN BE SEEN AND/OR BOUGHT HERE AT STOCK PHOTO AGENCY