The Oman Fjords -- a Geologist's Playground
|Me. It got hotter. That hoodie came off. Rrrrrr.|
"The Fjords of Arabia," says Oxsnard the Buffalo Horn Collector.
"The Fjords of Arabia," I snort.
I haven't been to the Fjords in Norway, but I have been to the Fjords in New Zealand. Milford Sound is a dark and magical place with seals and dolphins and trees and waterfalls and . . . mist. The Oman Fjords are blue waters in the baking sun surrounded by big piles of very hot rocks. This place is so hot that teachers won't even come here to teach. That's hot. The children have to sail to Khasab to go to school because Oman can't get any teacher to stay in this remote area long enough to get through the multiplication tables.
|The Village in the Oman Fjords where seven families live. Can you see it?|
Oxsnard the Buffalo Horn Collector booked us a tour of the fjords. I'm sure he was possessed by nostalgic, idyllic memories of Milford Sound when he booked this extremely boring tour. We sat on top of the boat and baked in the sun for hours with nothing but big piles of rocks for a view. I fell asleep.
Now, I'm not a geologist, but if I were (and let me emphasize that I am not), I would find the Oman Fjords fascinating. I just know I would. See, this is where the Arabian tectonic plate is, um, subducting beneath the Eurasian plate at a rate of 6mm a year. The results are truly (no joke) dramatic, and I'm sure my camera cannot do them justice, but here:
I'm not going to lie to you. The most enjoyable part of this tour is when the boats (dhows) race the dolphins. I'm sure the dhow drivers started doing this out of extreme boredom and possibly for the breeze effect. They perform a sort of boat ballet and then sprint with the dolphins a few times. The tourists erupt in applause and laughter. I wake up. Everyone's happy. We all eat dates and drink Mountain Dew.
|Telegraph Island (the rocks on the left)|
On the way back to Khasab, our guide tells us about the lively smuggling trade. I hope I'm not getting him in trouble. It seems to be a wide open secret. The embargo on Iranian export/import has helped to sustain a thriving mafia, smuggling electronics from Khasab into Iran. A never-ending queue of speedboats transport these goods, reportedly worth over 10 million dollars a day. He also told us something about goats being traded for electronics, but I didn't see any goats. I like goats, so I looked for them.
"Are the goats living or dead?" I ask Oxsnard the Buffalo Horn Collector.
"Don't see any live goats. Do you think 'goats' might be a clever euphemism for, say, cocaine?"
Oxsny thinks about this for way too long. "Probably not. Goats are popular here."
On land, we head off to the town of Khasab to check our emails, which begins and ends my list of things to do in Khasab.
Next time we're off to Abu Dhabi, reportedly the richest city in the world.
I must be off,
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Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), an episodic adult cartoon about a man struggling with expectations. Allen's award-winning fiction and non-fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Indiana Review, Quiddity, SmokeLong Quarterly's Best of the First Ten Years anthology, Prime Number Magazine, Crack the Spine, Feathertale, The Best of Every Day Fiction, Pure Slush, Bootsnall Travel and Chicken Soup for the Soul. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Allen has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize twice.