Day 521: At World’s End


So everyone was keen on taking me on board the DAL Mauritius except for the owners, and they didn’t give a reason for their decision.  Well, let’s scratch that one down to experience and get to work on the next ship to be visiting The Seychelles – the CMA-CGM ship the MV San Cristobal which is scheduled to leave a week tomorrow.

CMA-CGM have been really good to us in the past, helping get me on the DAL Madagascar as well as allowing me on board the MV Turquoise, an absolutely critical passage that allowed me to be reunited with my girlfriend at six minutes past midnight at the Pyramids on the 1st January.

Again, they were more than helpful.  I met the shipping agent, Mr. James Joseph and we had a natter about shipping times and things.  The San Cristobal would be departing the following Sunday, so I had a week to kick my heels and get to know Salalah like the back of my hand.

So what’s to say?  Salalah is much greener and more authentically ‘Arabic’ than anywhere else in the peninsular.  Lacking the outrageous oil wealth of other GCC countries, it’s common to see ordinary Omanis (distinguished by their nifty pork-pie hats) driving taxis, cutting hair, selling stuff at the market – stuff you’d never see a Kuwaiti or Emirati do.

The ‘weekend’ in Kuwait and the other gulf states is Friday and Saturday, but in Oman it’s Thursday and Friday, so the weekend was effectively over: but since a storm had hit the capital Muscat (1000km north east of us, don’t worry mum) Dave and Luke had a day off work today (as did all the teachers in Oman the lazy gud fer nuthin’s).  We tried to make the most of it, but man it’s hot.  And unbelievably humid.  Everything sweats here – you sweat, the walls sweat, the tables sweat.  Electronic equipment lasts six months (if you’re lucky) before the damp salty air turns any circuitry into flaky brown gibberish.  Needless to say, I didn’t see many slugs.

At Luke’s place, right on the sea front, the humidity was much worse than elsewhere in town, but the constant fog of briny air gave the place a really cool post-apocalyptic feel. Looking out over the Indian Ocean, it really does feel like the end of the world.  But if it wasn’t for the mountains and the humidity the area wouldn’t be so marvellously green, so out of all the GCC countries, Oman is still winning.

Graham Hughes

Graham Hughes is a British adventurer, presenter, filmmaker and author. He is the only person to have travelled to every country in the world without flying. From 2014 to 2017 he lived off-grid on a private island that he won in a game show, before returning to the UK to campaign for a better future for the generations to come.

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