Day, which I was eliminated from the top started out beautifully, no i .. fortunately it ended well.
Oman is the steepest climbs in the world, This repeats every cyclist and describes the network. That even without the baggage and is slightly hard to even push bike, whatever the pedals spin. Szutr and with stones, and in general.
Let us put aside stereotypes. The area of the Persian Gulf is not just sand – area of the Sultanate of Oman is also up, and what I am! Frequency Al Hajar occupies the entire north of the country, Jabal Shams the highest peak is over 3000 meters. I knew all this, I knew, that my bike is heavy, that, but I was drawn in the mountainous interior. I chose the lightest variant theoretically, only a few kilometers of gravel. But to do, truth? I started to push. And then pull. With every meter it was worse, at every turn steeply, almost vertical wall. denies, I can not push, I can not keep, but pull, maybe I can do this, what's up, how many more, shaking hands, every muscle trembles, in my head is circling, heart pounding, instead of legs up to landslips, bike rides and I was with him. The only companion of misery, the only living soul around, some time watching my struggle young Indian, bulldozer driver said the road widening, that even 2 km upstream and then exit. And I did 5 km in 3 hours. push, pull, I feel sick, scotomata, I have to go back and think about to rozryczę. I sat down on the road with a sense of total defeat, flew tears. They say, that the barriers we have in mind, and I will argue, that the body too. Piece, I was uphill overcame with local farmers in their pickup truck. Murphego law to the summit was just a few hundred meters, not a few kilometers. Things to do on the other side of the pass allowed me a little bit to swallow defeat.
But it was then, let's start from the beginning.
Formalities at the border with the United Arab Emirates Hatta do not last long - a visa in the passport, 50 dollars less in your pocket, stempelek, border guard and a smile can go. Pomachiwania of passing cars and trucks, and immediately the man somehow upbeat. Fear of the unknown, if a smoldering, disappears.
Especially, the first night, or and some have provided a host of Warmshowers, Hamed in the seaside town of Shinas, situated just twenty kilometers from the border. Possibility of accommodation in the Omani house the more I was pleased and surprised, I know, that women without a male companion would be rather difficult to find hospitality, because it traditionally Muslim country. I am convinced niejedokrotnie, the foreigners have in this respect certain a reduced tariff.
Hamed is quite a personality among local cyclists – is the first local bike traveler, Furthermore – in recent travels accompanied by his wife and even a film about the spin. It's an even bigger sensation – Here women do not ride bikes. Because there is no such custom, or it is forbidden and ill-considered.
Although just talked to him on the phone turns out to be, Hamed is that in the distant capital of the country a few hundred, Muscat. But do not worry, come after you with my mother's brother! Says. Actually, Khalid pulls up soon, from the front seat of the car looking at me, wrapped in a black abaya female figure. Face covered with burqa, only dark eyes watching me curiously. The house full of, he just begins a long weekend and siblings Hamed - are studying in Muscat sisters, are two brothers, the wife and children of one of them. Almost all speak excellent English, studying medicine and Hajar, It was even on the practices in Poland!
– When? I ask
– In June odpowiada. It was very cold!
Well yes, here in June it is already well over 40 degrees, our 20 the hook is for local Siberia.
Although for a long time now I live in Muslim countries in Central Asia "states" or Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan hard to compare to a traditional religion in terms of treatment of the Middle East. Following the surroundings and habits at home and Hamed flooding their questions - especially about the world of women. From what age a girl cover her hair hedżabem? Does the color of something depends abayi, I see florals and solid black? So close to the sea, You walk or bathe? Sometimes.. I hear and I already know the answer, it's a silly question. Women do not bathe, then men in total have not seen much. Women must cover her hair going beyond the house and being in the company of strange men - as such is considered all but father, brothers and husband. Which is almost always.
Girls are pulling me on a walk around the village. mature women, married, especially outside cities in accordance with the tradition bear on the faces of the mask or covering burqa lower face. Made of leather or metal, once they were intended to serve as a protection against dust, They are treated as well as ornament and symbol are entering a mature age.
But I should have hedżab.. I hear it, when the end of the third day to pull out a camera to capture the local reality and image Snappin Hajar, when spinning at breakfast without headgear. I'm terribly stupid. Women are not allowed to do pictures, and certainly not without headgear. You should ask for authorization is, but rather, and so most do not agree, although he repeatedly get permission. Similar customs prevail in southern Iran and on the island of Qeshm.
Too bad, because women look beautiful and feminine in flowery, airy abajach, although these, established "city" are black. Men look elegant in spotless white odprasowanych dishdasha, and headgear called toczkowatych kummah. Besides love perfume.
We go to the mosque said male part of the family, when at sunset the muezzin is singing. Women are at home, but also they go to pray. The singing of the muezzin calling for prayer will accompany me for the next months. Five times a day, with a watch in his hand is measured my day reaching the farthest corners.
The next day showed me around Hamed. Still we are sitting in the car outside the house, when he began to talk about himself and his wife. I do not ask any questions, but I think, knew the, it is particularly interesting about people from other cultures.
– I never touched another woman in front of my wife. I love her and I'm happy with her. I'll tell you, how we met.
Most marriages concluded in Oman is arranged. when I felt, the want to get married and I collected the right amount of money - both of which must occur simultaneously, because as a wife you have to pay in Oman family, a good wife here costs about 8000 riali (that is, about eighty thousand), I told my mum. We have a matchmaker here, her mother called. The matchmaker knows the local girls on the issue. First, looking for a suitable candidate for a man, Once this will arrange a meeting of the two families. short, kurtuazyjne, perhaps half an hour, see only, see each other, exchange a few words. In the meantime, my family is doing some research and checks, that girl has an opinion, whether it comes from a suitable family. He can not even come up with Baluchi.
– Baluch! Do you know who are the Baluchis?
– They come from Iran ..? I said something to me because somewhere in my head dawn
– Yep, from Iran. But it would be a shame such a marriage with Beludżem! big shame! Hamedowi up to face contorted with anger. Well, but when we go at each other like it one step further and organize engagement. After the engagement can only meet, talk, but also not too long, and only in the company of someone. After the wedding, taking his wife to his home and then we can be together.
I looked at my mom, the little woman in a flowery abaya, who had just walked up to the car. Hedżab hand improved and her gaze for a long time stopped for us. Hamed quickly opened the door, to get out of the car. He should not sit in it alone with a strange woman.
– My mother was married when she was 12 years. today is 46. Afternoon tea Hamed continued story. It is eight of us, youngest sister has 11 years, I am the eldest, I have 32 years. Omanis like children, he added, laughing.
With a head full of questions, after three nights at the time Hamed was get on the bike.
The road to Muscat
The narrow coastal road along the coast of the Arabian Sea is a cyclist's dream. Beautiful turquoise water color pleases the eye, but I do not see, anyone to bathe. Fact, the water is quite cold, but more a matter of local custom.
Strip of land along this coast, north of the Al Hajar mountains, until that is the capital of Muscat is the most populated area in Oman, long evening walk, to find a place to hide tent and surrounded by walls between houses. Beaches evening before saturate mainly male youth, I have no desire for such meetings. I could probably ask someone, knock on the door as they did my friends, but I have no desire, ask I can not, moreover, too.
For a little variety, a little facilitate the issue of accommodation deviate slightly up. In addition to the impressive old forts in Nakhal and Rustaq, Beach
They make the biggest impression on me wadi and hot springs. In one of them popped up in the morning and disappear as soon as occupying a place men immerse in water up to his neck. Of course, I'm wearing clothes. Then he sometimes looked, as women from the West assume in swimwear – really does not require much of the West to draw Storage T-shirt and knee pants, not to offend their appearance lokalsów. Such a bath during the "tent" is a rarity travel, a hot bath is already in general. With sentiment I mention Japan rustic and often I visited the hot springs- onseny.
In Muscat I am lucky - again takes me to stay local boy, or. It is good, because although the cost of living is moderate, This rustic hotels I can not afford. Ali works for most of the year in the Netherlands, familiar with European customs, There is a girl.
It seemed to me, with all I know, Ewa. said. But this is a false impression. My woman has a child in the Netherlands. Never been married, He parted with his father, but they have a child. For a long time I could not understand, as it is - not a woman has a husband, and has a child? I just did not fit in my head.
I also seem to, that I know less and less about life.