We are back in Germany – green, rainy, well-organised, toilet paper deprived Germany – oh how we missed you, or did we?! I`ll admit it dealing with the thought that we might not be able to get back was pretty unpleasant, but I can`t say that I felt particularly homesick over the last two weeks and I hope neither did the other fieldtrippers. Letting go of the excursion routine, the great outdoors and the people that surrounded you non-stop is easier said than done. So, to make our transition back into our everyday lifes a bit smoother and to say goodbye to our readers, I am writing one last blog.
Imagine a wadi. A dry river bed, filled with gravel, at the foot of a tower-shaped mountain. A few trees and shrubs grow between the rubble. Night has already fallen, the mountain stands black before the night sky. The full moon is bright enough to see every pebble and every thorny twig. In this wadi there sits a camp right beside a rudimentary dirt road. The camp has a large white truck, a row of cars, some tables, a circle of camping chairs around a campfire and a few scattered tents. The fire is burning, an interrupted card game lays on a boulder and from the boiling pots in the truck`s kitchen comes a smell of roasted chicken, but nobody is there.
Oman is a desert. Per definition, a desert is an area with less than 250 mm of annual precipitation, which is true for the entire country, except for the highest mountains. Still, I believe that if you ask a random European what a desert looks like, they will not describe the landscapes that we saw the last couple of days. Neither turquoise water pools and hanging gardens nor beaches come to mind when you think of deserts. Instead, they will describe what we are about to experience next: red dunes stretching out to the horizon, hot sand under our feet, an unforgiving sun in a clear blue sky, a landscape so barren of vegetation that you wonder if anything can survive in it.