Z: As long as we have rope and sticks, yep.
OPNO: [appears very impressed, as Z is a village girl, not a Bedu-type]. I've always wanted to learn, you'll have to teach me. But won't it be hard in the dark?
Z: Not really.
Alhamdulilah we found C's old tent, as Z REALLY meant she could hook a tarp up over a car. Yeah.... Not really what OPNO meant AT ALL, as OPNO is PERFECTLY CAPABLE OF THAT as well but...
We would have ended up camping out under the stars on the traditional woven picnic mat, and we'd gotten eaten alive by mosquitoes as was... Next up was food. UNLIKE trips with the Shebab (and it being the end of the month for Z and OPNO) spreads like above pictured were a dream. We ran down to the store down the street from my house and picked up hotdogs (I prefer mishcocks but we had no grill or coals) as I insist on roasting something on a fire on every camping trip and this fit out budget, almariai spreadable cheese wheels, pears, oranges, dates stuffed with almonds, milk, water, juice, arabic beans spread in a can, houmous, Chips Oman, Cheetoes, Americana cakes (which I ate the whole package of so no one even knew we had those), and chocolate bars. We stuffed it into the car along with a picnic mat, my traditional bedu couch/musada [that was my bed for six months!], and a traditional lantern and candles. We forgot C's maps, so we kept just following all signs to Qurayat and then Sur. If we HAD had a map, we would have known going up from Seeb is faster. Anyways, it was pictch black at night and I was looking for a camping spot like the one above after Tiwi and before Qurayat (totally private so Z and I could swim in the morning) but we drove all the way to Qurayat and through the village and past there to the round abaout to Sur, so we turned off from the road to Sur and found a quiet little village near the beach and camped right on the sand.
Setting up the tent was an adventure, as our TOTALLY AWESOME planning meant we used our cellphones as flashlights, and my tea-light traditional lantern scared the heck out of one Omani family down the beach.They thought I was a Jinn-girl as I was wearing traditional dress for Sharqiyah, and carrying a lantern that is a hundred years old.
Which made Z laugh so hard she broke one of our tent sticks so our tent was the most retarded looking tent you ever saw and we had to brace it with rocks from inside, but we had the beach to ourselves. We made a fire (I love collecting firewood) and roasted our hotdogs and cooked our beads and ate them on arabic bread with dates, and slept, and were then eaten alive by mosquitoes. In the morning we drove the road to Sur, blasting Iraqi Arabic musicon repeat [there was only one CD: Z also made me sing the national anthem of my country, and some Irish and Disney songs. (I am not one of those people who remember song lyrics so this was our selection). She sang me some REALLLLLLLY old Omani songs about being in love with someone of a darker skintone, and how nothing was the same after loving them, not eating, not sleeping. The melody was really pretty. I'll leave the lyrics up to Z.)], until we got to Sur and realized, that by the time we reached Sinaw the souq would be closed. So we made it our goal to see the traditional souq in Sur.Which... didn't take too long. It was just one open air building where they were slicing open sharks and smelled wretched (and I almost was so bold as to ask the fisherman for some qhawha but Z held me back and was like, don't you dare), but I DID see the place where the fisherman lay out the shark fins to dry. Then we wandered around the closed-for-maintenance Bilad Sur castle and some crumbling old houses which I kept claiming I wanted to live in which bored the heck of Z, but come on, this is OPNO, she loves crumbling falling down houses. Then we drove down the Corniche for a stroll (more Z's thing), and took off back to Tiwi where we stopped at my old camping spot long enough for a quick dip before heading back to Al Amerat & Muscat. So Sinaw souq, we are coming for you. But we will plan better. And I am going to buy two camels in Sinaw. Yes I am. For 300 rials, I can get two camels and keep them at a friend's farm. I just need to buy a truck or a trailer for my 4x4. So B, you WILL ride camels, for sure when you come back here.
OPNO likes horses better, but she can't afford horses, so camels is what she is going to do in the meantime. Don't tell her family![Z, of course, who grew up with goats and farming dates, thinks this idea is ridiculous, but she supports it for the fact that it will amuse her entire group of relations to say that OPNO owns two camels].
Anyways, back in Muscat, the girls decided to go get mishcock (grilled meat, either lamb or chicken or goat) at the end of Ghubra lakes park beach. Waiting for the mishcock vendors to fire the grills, the girls watched the fisherman take their boats in and waded in the water, then sat a mat out on the sand and had their mishcock picnic while a very orange and big sun went down behind them, palms blowing in the wind.
OPNO was feeling a little homesick, but sitting on the beach lodged between the fishing boats while men in their whizars dragged the boats in and their sons jumped into the bay for a swim after a hard evening's work, munching on her mishcock, she didn't feel to far away from home. OPNO knows very well there are very few places left like this one in the world.