Traveling with the Andersons is like watching a highly comic sitcom. If you have been privilege to their company, you will know what I mean by this. John is a rare and spectacular anomaly, whose peculiarities are always purposeful, thoughtful, efficient and completely loveable. And Myna, who can’t hear well, makes up for this lack of listening with a constant stream of bright, poetic, witty and at times, inappropriate commentary. Good people those Andersons. If I had documented our long road trips and navigational qualms this past week in Oman, I’m sure I could have sold the facetious dialogue to some up-and-coming TV comedy series. Seriously.
Here are a few things I learned on this journey, both about Oman and the company I kept while there.
1. Driving at ‘economical speed’ means slow moving on the straight stretches and careening quickly down and around the sharp curves to maximize kinetic energy. Speed bumps, missing green lights and having to touch the breaks at all perturb the highly environmental and economical John.
2. A Nissan Sunny can make it in the off-road world! Under John’s white knuckled grip we plowed our way through sand beaches and desert roads.
3. Almost half of Oman’s population is foreign – heavy on those from India and Pakistan. The Omani men all stood out, proudly wearing their national dress, a long white dishdasha, that imparts an air of elegance and grace.
4. Sleeping on a soft, white sand beach is not as comfortable as it sounds. Things that are not conducive to sleeping outdoors include: a shower curtain as a ground mat, a Philippino karaoke party down the beach and a full moon spotlight making the midnight desert glow in the dark.
5. A prayer in the mosque for men is worth 40x that of a prayer at home. A prayer for woman at home is worth 40x that than of a prayer at a mosque.
6. Contrast is the key to beauty! “We live on the moon!” was our introduction to Oman outside the capital of Muscat. And seriously, like the moon, it looked stark and desolate, rocky and brown. “The tortured rocks” Myna named their twisted and sharp expressions. But when a brilliantly blue sky framed the ‘tortured rocks’ and you spotted a wadi of emerald green water, the four contrasting colours: white of the houses, sandy brown of the stones, blues of the sky, seas and wadis, and the green of the date palms, played together beautifully to create some stunning scenery.
Thank you Oman for the visit. Thank you Andersons for your company.