Date: 18th March 2013
Our beautiful Indian Dhow Noore Al Salam had carried us more than a 1000 sea kilometres in 4 ½ days, from the Port of Berbera Somaliland to Salalah Oman. Elayne and I stood on the early morning deck squinting our eyes peering into that semi darkness an hour or so before sunrise. “Look” Elayne exclaims, pointing into the darkness. “Can you see?” I try to focus my early morning eyes still bleary from our lack of sleep from our beetle nut chewing crew. “Yes” I reply “I can see.”
Ragged mountains rose from the seas edge. I could just make them out, pale mauve’s, grey blues , orange sandy whites, their deeper shadows silhouetted their shapes it was our first sight of land.
Noore Al Salam enters Salalah Port after 41/2 days crossing from Berebera Somaliland to Salalah Oman. Victor and his 449 Somaliland Cows.
Towering above us Modern Tech meets ancient tech…..our beautiful old Dhow is much better… Well that’s what we think.
Our Dhow family…Osman our Captain checks our berth alongside one of his family friend’s in their bright blue Dhow… wow it looks great.
We move once again to a berth for unloading the Somaliland Cows……and hopefully Poor Old Victor and crew.
More beautiful wooden Dhows.
Moored Portside Salalah Oman after more than 1000klm’s at sea.
I climb down the Dhows shore ladder down taking my first steps in Oman.
Like ancient explores in our wooden Dhow slowly inching closer and closer the mountain shapes became clearer, you could see a few lights from towns and houses, as our Dhow hugs the coast ever closer. It was an amazing sense of trepidation …what lies ahead I thought ……we are so close to complete our sea journey from the Horn of Africa to the Arabian Gulf, just like those ancient traders so tantalizingly close.
Victor lands in Oman swinging from a 25 tonne mobile crane. Osman our captain on the right with his Dhow friend and 2nd in command in the centre.
Our first night in Salalah Port camped opposite an Indian Navel Gunboat Patrolling off the coast of Somalia.
Elayne waits for my return as I have an invite from one of the Salalah Port Tugs to come aboard for the evening shift….wow great fun thanks guys….no names mentioned in case I get them into trouble. It was a fantastic boys 2hrs shifting, pulling, pushing BIG ships around.
Saeed our wonderful Omani clearing agent who help us to the very end. THANKS so very much!
Saeed and Victor Saeed contact details….Dhofar Shipping Services Co LLC
Tel + 96 8 232 95556
Elayne’s Omani Buoy service factory who looked after Elayne when Saeed and I were tearing around trying to get Victors freedom.
The trouble was I felt more like a refugee, as I study our cloths and shoes, poor Elayne looked just as bad…..crickey we did look rough …….nearly as bad as those poor Somaliland Cows.
Oman looked beautiful, its sharp ragged mountains rising high from the seas edge with small green trees scattered amongst the crevasses the colours constantly changing as the dawn breaks and the sun slowly rises.
It was 6.00am the sun warming our chilly bodies a perfect morning the sea flat and calm with a small pod of dolphins break across our bow their beautiful shapes racing through the clear water their backs arched as they dive deeper below out of sight.
Noore Al Salam reduces her speed, as we now can clearly see the Ports entrance. Huge ships lay at anchor outside the port the sun silhouettes the shapes I grab the camera to snap some shots.
Noore Al Salam again reduces her speed.
Osman our Captain calls the Salalah Port Authorities for permission to enter the port the small vhf radio screwed to a teak beam crackles his message across the air waves his Indian English fast and uninterruptible to me …….We all wait for the port authorities reply, the crew gather around the bridge with us.
Most of the crew are up only a few sleep on the rear deck, those who had the early watch lay silent beneath small blanket’s, the rest wait like us to hear the reply from Salalah Port Authority.
The vhf radio again crackles into life the Salalah Port Authority relay their instructions, we are to wait outside the port entrance as we are told to stop engines and wait further instructions. Osman instructs the engine crew to reduce speed again, they disappear below decks the large Mitsubishi diesels rumble even slower the decks shake to their rhythm the black diesel smoke wafts across the deck.
The vhf channel crackles again the Salalah Port Authorities telling Osman to wait until a large cruise ship enters the port.
I scour the horizons, but I can only see the ships at anchor, but it is not long before crew member calls to Osman pointing to starboard bow nearly dead ahead. I can see it a huge black shadow approaches on the horizon a moving mountain.
Slowly we can make out more of its detail it is enormous in comparison to us its shinny blue painted steel hull several stories high, gleaming white decks , a huge glass bridge spans across the width of the ship like the star ship enterprise, rows of orange life boats, a something which was missing from our Dhow.
It was approaching the Port entrance gliding slowly through the calm waters towering over us, we could see hundreds of passengers in colourful clothes walking and waving back to us. It was enormous its dimensions making us insignificant as it drew closer and closer. Two port tugs manoeuvre alongside waiting for their instructions, even they were bigger than us.
It was strange to see our old wooden Dhow its design centuries old giving way to a modern Goliath of the seas, a wooden boat I thought, we have crossed the Gulf of Aden into the Arabian sea on a wooden boat …….it really is something from the ancient past meeting something from the future a collision of technologies so far apart.
We waved to the brightly clothed clean passengers who were staring out at our cows and us below, our old wooden Dhow its Indian crew running to secure lines and warps certainly made for their entertainment.
Our entry to the port look so much more ancient than our modern cruise ship men running around our Dhows decks warps in hand and black rubber truck tyres being adjusted along the length of our hull, as our cruise ship is pushed and pulled with modern tugs.
I would not have changed places for the world, even if you had offered me a first class ticket, it all looked so clinical so artificial straight from a catalogue a European travel Boucher red and burnt their faces peered down at us below our smell from the curry cooking and cattle dung drifting into their nostrils above, I wondered what they were thinking. ….every journey is different I know…but this adventure on this Old beautiful wooden Dhow was the one for me.
I was so pleased that all the chances we had taken, the not knowing, the relentless effort getting to the edge of Africa, and finding the right people at the right time had paid off…….I was quietly pleased with myself, and proud of Elayne, her sacrifices, her challenges she overcame a far bigger effort than mine would ever be.
Elayne and I hug our eyes meet, another one of those special moments on our trip around the world, our weary eyes telling all of our emotions, all of our fragilities, all of our passions, we looked tired and worn out but every thought and feeling we had was there in that moment our spirit’s not dimmed I could see everything, it was a very special moment indeed.
I fight back a few tears as Elayne buries her head onto my chest I stroke her hair , our clothes bleached old and dirty we really do look like some poor refugees. Elayne has done this tough we are not teenagers but we felt alive really alive, so alive nothing mattered it was just us and Poor Old Victor we had made it a real adventure something which will remain with us forever, our beautiful old Dhow with its now 449 Cows (only one had died at sea) had made land fall, Oman was there we could see land we only needed to unload Victor and we will be on our way, but our future was not going to be easy something we had no idea about all our elations on making such a passage myself contentment, my ego were soon to become challenged a nightmare was looming on the horizon and we were completely unaware.
It was visual overload the sights of any working port mesmerizing me, we had joined other wooden Dhows as we moor alongside our crew making fast securing the black truck tyres between the hulls. The crew quickly finish their jobs and jump across onto the other Dhows their friends greet them warmly. It was fascinating to watch some Dhows loading rice others steel pipe these humble vessels carry anything and everything possible.
It was a real sea family these Indian Dhows, Captains talk to each other chatting away sitting on their haunches perched on a flat wooden hand rail chewing beetle nut together exchanging their sea stories, they shout instructions to their crew as a small derrick crane move oil drums onto another Dhow moored alongside us, the Captains waving their arms, everything works perfectly as the drums swing airborne from one Dhow to another.
it was amazingly beautiful to watch such ancient seamanship I was looking into the past, no two-way radio’s, no electronics, no hydraulics, just lots of shouting and waving arms all was achieved without any health and safety bare feet and no safety helmets.
Only if we knew what was about to befall us my self contentment and polished ego was about to be challenged, our adventure was not over, quite the reverse it was about to begin Salalah Oman was going to be a lot tougher than I thought.
Our Dhow again moves from its temporary mooring alongside fellow Dhows. We motor out away from the family of Dhows our 449 Cows getting hot beneath the afternoon sun, they are so calm it is almost unbelievable they stand silently …they need to be unloaded. They have not had water for nearly 5 days their droppings now hard and dry, I was soon becoming a vegetarian I did not ever want to see meat again not after seeing these poor souls.
Eventually we moor alongside the wharf in between another two Dhows, one Dhow with a cargo of cows like us the other goats all from Somaliland.
The only trouble with our new mooring it is our Port side moored along the wharf not our Starboard side where Victor sits waiting on a slightly diminished haystack. I ask the Captain Osman how are we going to unload Victor, as we will need a much larger crane, the reach across the Dhows deck is far greater now to the Starboard side.
Don’t worry he replies shaking his head side to side like a classic Indian Bollywood movie.
He is not concerned about our car he wants to unload his cargo of cows, they are getting very hot and loosing weight fast, It was not an issue for me but Elayne was not looking forward to another night on the Dhow with its beetle nut chewing crew waking us on the hour. Just getting off the Dhow climbing down a near vertical ladder is difficult enough for me, it is almost impossible for Elayne’s little legs……Elayne exclaims if I can manage to get off I won’t be getting back on….there is always the crane I dare to make the suggestion she could alight with the cows, via the slings….but I was well with hitting range so I let that comment go…..lol
We had no visas for Oman and were hoping we could collect on entry, Elayne packs a few of our belongings together and we wait until Immigration come aboard. It was not long before we met Omani Customs and the chief Vet who inspects the Cows. They are being painted with yellow paint a strip is painted on their backs, what for I am not sure. Osman the Captain speaks to Omani Customs officers and tells us we must go with the Omani Customs officer to report to Immigration. I try just to take Elayne’s passport with me …but it is not possible we both need to show up at Immigration office in the Port.
That ladder proved to be a pretty big obstacle for Elayne but finally with some of the crews help Elayne touched down in Oman after several tense moments.
What a pleasant affair at Omani Immigration as the two young Customs officials take us in their car to Oman Immigration office which is located in the Port.
7 minutes later and around Usd 50.00 we had our 1 month visas….great service we exclaim we only need to have Customs stamp our Carnet and we are off.
It was nearly 2.00pm and everything in the port closes down Customs office would not be open until tomorrow. Yikes that’s tough so close to get things going sorted and now nothing is happening at the port.
The kind Omani Customs Officials take us back to our Dhow and we are told we can go anywhere but our car will remain on the Dhow until it has police and Customs clearance.
I needed to get Victor off like Osman and his Cows I did not want any issues with our kind Indian Captain who had transported us here free of any costs.
Osman tells us he will be sailing later that night around 12.00pm all the Cows will be unloaded he exclaims we will sail as soon as possible after we unload the cows in the cool of the evening.
It was racing through my head as I had seen the other crane which was standing by the other Dhow…crickey it was only a 10 tonne crane with hardly the capacity to reach across the Dhows decks to the Starboard side where Victor sits the reach far to far and Victor cannot cross the huge hull from this side as their was no decking to get to the Port side the Dhow was open allowing air to circulate3 levels below for the Cows.
It was not good news, all this way and now a crane to small to lift Victor.
It was hitting 40c Elayne down on the wharf trying to find some shade. It was not long before she was escorted to a small factory servicing buoys nearly opposite our Dhow. Two kind Omani men had given Elayne an air-condition office some ice cold water it was the best thing for Elayne.
LAL Centre what a great guy with a smile which is so contagious…..Thanks so very much for all your help without your enthusiasm and food parcels it would have been so much tougher.
If Overlander visits the Port of Salalah Oman LAL is the best contact for anything you may need give him a call he is a great guy with a wonderful family.
I battled for the rest of the day trying to find another larger crane from around the huge wharf complex, my intentions was to try and pay cash for the use of a larger crane which could get Victor off. It was then while investigating the larger crane option another two dockyard workers arrived in a Port of Salalah Toyota Ute. They had heard I needed to unload my car and came to investigate. The two men were seasoned dockworkers officials running all movements in , on, up. Down, nothing moved unless theses men gave the ok.
They were in there early forties and had already set the tone when Osman our Captain was asked by the 2 wharf officials to join us. Nobody from your Dhow can walk around our wharf without steel capped boots and reflective vests…..they exclaim….it was clear to me after just a short time at this wharf it was in the 21st century beeping forklifts, flashing yellow lights, hard hat signs, and everybody had green reflective jackets.
Oh dear things were going downhill fast, Osman calling his crew back from the wharf back onto his Dhow, otherwise he will be banned from the Port. These were new rules Osman had been here many times before …but a new code of conduct had just been issued and these two men where carrying it out to the letter, I had noticed that everybody’s boots looked new!!!
Who is your clearing agent they asked me….I do not have a clearing agent I replied……They shook their heads ….you must have a clearing agent……I again replied I do not have a clearing agent, I just need to unload our car.
They quickly jumped onto their mobile phones trying to find the clearing agent for Osman Cows and the Dhows manifest of cargo it’s carrying.
Osman tells them his clearing agent name Saeed M pahmbura. They know this man and tell us he must produce the paperwork for us to unload our car otherwise it stays on the Dhow………..The news slowly penetrated my head…….Osman wants to leave to-night and if our car is still on-board
I do not want to think how Osman now feels the couple he helped are now holding him up, unable to head home to India to load rice for a return voyage to Berbera Somaliland.
I tell our two wharf officials I need to unload our car to-night as I did not want to hold our Captain Osman up from leaving. …They laughed shaking their heads together… you cannot unload your car without clearance from the clearing agent, your car will remain onboard until all clearances are signed off.
Gone is that wonderful mad world of Africa where anything and everything can be achieved. My mind flashes back to the scene of Berebera port the Khat chewing officials so helpful ,we were stars in Berbera the Port officials even arrange a Somaliland television crew to film us, they where so happy they could assist us in any way possible. I remember asking is it possible to film at the Berbera Port….Yes the Officials replied film anything you want…Crickey that’s great news and off we went filming…..
This was all a distant memory back to that wonderful wild Horn of Africa….this was Oman oil rich and in the 21st Century, nothing was every going to be done without the correct paperwork nothing.
I plead with the two Wharf officials asking them to try and help us. They tell me to come with them back to their office to meet their superior.
I collect a few of our travel cards tell Elayne where I am going as things don’t look so good, I was hoping their superior could see our situation and all the Countries we have been hoping Victor’s charm will do the trick and they would unload our car and, Osman can leave after the Cows were safely on land.
It was a small office next to two barriers allowing vehicles to enter the Port after their paperwork was inspected. It was tight security hundreds of luxury passenger ships call into Oman with thousands of tourist heading out from the Port in luxury air-conditioned coaches their procedures and security highly enforced.
We were joined by another two Omani Police officers in their small office…yikes this is looking really good I’II never get off that Dhow I thought.
How true that thought was as it was becoming ever more clearer that no paperwork was attached to our car and it was not being moved until all was correctly checked……but thank God it had be put on the Dhows manifest before we left Somaliland.
I return to the Dhow, Osman asks what is happening …I exclaim….sorry Osman I cannot get my car lifted off, they will not lift our car until all the paperwork is correct. Osman is chewing another fresh batch of beetle nut along with his 2nd in command also chewing the red juice oozing from their months, their teeth stained red with the juice, they spit copious amounts of red fluid onto the wharf below their stains clearly visible as the concrete has a dark brown look around the moored Dhows.
The 2nd in command tells Osman they will lift Victor off with the Cow slings it will be no problem. I try to explain…may be you can move your Dhow and dock on the Starboard side. But this was not an option as the Dhow had its position now logged and it cannot be moved without the Port’s authority…..but it may be still an option for me.
I had noted that all the Dhows moored alongside had their Port sides to the wharf.
The evening light fades and the Port of Salalah is glowing with towering lights from every direction.
Elayne and I are unhappy we cannot help Osman and we feel we have let him down after all his kind help. Along comes the same Port authority Ute and I had not realized it was a shift change. The older man steps out to greet us and welcome’s us to Oman. What is your problem he asks, why are you still here?
I go onto explain our situation not leaving any detail out…….who is your shipping agent ….he asks. I go onto explain we do not have one but we have been informed we will need an agent to clear our car and make the correct paperwork for you to unload our car from the Dhow.
I think all my explanations will fall on deaf ears as this was at least the 20th time I had explained our situation to every interested passer bye who comes to greet Elayne and I sitting on our Chinees camping chairs hiding from the sun.
Two foreigners sitting on the wharf with cows and goats being unloaded next to them….The port workers had grown used to the brightly coloured clean looking wealthy cruise ship tourists being ferried out in luxury air-conditioned coaches, not two scruffy refugees from Africa in a strange car stranded on the wharf.
Our new friend wants to see Victor still sitting on a small pile of Hay, so we scramble aboard and inspect Victor. I could clearly see he was delighted to stumble across us and Victor and his whole attitude and enthusiasm for our adventure was far different form our earlier wharf officials.
I will be a few minutes before I will return with the correct lifting slings and a crane capable to lift you off….wow we had a new helping friend just as I thought my 50th explanation to another port official or passer was going to fall on deaf ears yet again.
I immediately inform Osman of our good news , Osman shows little emotion not even shaking his head from side to side …..But I think he is happier…or it could just be the beetle nut juice kicking in and he doesn’t care.
The Port Authority Ute returns with several men and an array of lifting gear, soon followed by a huge 25 tonne mobile crane. It was now dark and I was exhausted after an intense day, but Elayne was happier, fingers crossed we will be sleeping in Victor on Omani soil.
15 minutes later Victor was swinging in the air high above the water, high above our wooden Dhow high above the 449 calm cattle my eyes being pieced by towering bright Port lights as I follow Victors progress through the air slowly heading for land……..YES…Elayne and I jump for joy as Victor touches down safely, Indian crew from several Dhows gather around Victor all posing for a picture, all wanting a picture with Elayne and I….but the never ending queue was getting to much.
I thank Mohammad and his help giving him a big hug……thank you …thank you for your help. He smiles back and asks us to follow him to a quieter place where we can sleep away from all the crews inspecting Victor.
Victor fires up first time as usual and we head off waving our good byes to our Indian Captain Osman and his crew who had looked after us so well.
Osman’s plans to unload his tired cows had not come to fruition Osman being frustrated with his clearing agent Mr Saeed ……But we had managed to get Victor off without any paperwork, Victor now not impeding Osmans plans to leave asap.
Mohammad (our friendly new Omani Port official) directs us to another area opposite an Indian Navel vessel close to an ablution block and bids us good night. He could see we were finished tired exhausted after all the days events It was way past 11.00 pm and I was crumbling fast, a few curried fish heads and a few chapattis is all I had eaten for the day…… Elayne fires up our petrol stove and we eat some 2 minute noodles and drink the last of our South African Rooi boss tea. All full up I venture for the ablution block which has several Indian crew members from various Dhows doing the washing and washing themselves. It was going to be tough for Elayne to use the showers but we waited up until the early hours of the morning when the ablution block had some rest bit from the never ending crews. I stood guard while Elayne showered and eventually we were just ready to hit the sack when we had both our wonderful new friend Mohammad ( Mohammad our new Port Official friend who was in charge of all Salalah Port movements on his shift ) return’s with the 2 Omani Police cars.
We were told we would have to return to our Dhow as our movements must be restricted ….yikes this was a blow just as things were looking up…..Elayne was not impressed but our friend told us it will be ok and he will look after us……still Elayne was just a few seconds away from sleeping . So back down we go pack the tent once again and follow the 2 Omani Police.
Fortunately after some negotiation we were able to sleep in our tent on the edge of the wharf but we were not allowed to move 20 metres from the position next to the our Dhow Noore Al Salam.
Morning breaks and I rise early to see what’s going on outside…nothing I reply to Elayne, Osman still has his cargo of thinning Cows. ……it all looks the same as we left it late last night.
Some of Noore al Salam’s crew are up and about and indicate their confusion for why we have returned and not left the Port. I could not explain our situation completely and told them we are waiting for Omani police clearance, they all nod their heads in that wonderful sideways movement.
Victor now has everybody stopping and I mean everybody…..this was the first time anybody has seen such a vehicle being shipped on a Dhow from Somaliland. After explaining our situation to every passer bye it was clear they all wanted to help leave the Port and to visit Oman.
Fortunate for us we will have shade until noon, but after this we also will be in full afternoon sun hitting 40c feeling like those cows unable to move being slowly baked to a crisp.
I am sure we will be off to-day after we sort out the Police and Customs …if we start early enough I am sure all will be ok. The shade is a God send and we feel for the cows which are already basking under its heat stuck unable to move shuffling around the deck trying to stay cool. Our Dhows crew hoist a large sail with its derrick crane which collects the breeze and sends it below to the overheated cows.
If only I knew what was coming next.
Lal an Indian shop owner on the port supplying food for the Indian crews and every other person invited us to his 2 shops and restaurant giving us bread and apples soft drinks….Please if their is anything I can do to help just ask as I have some important contacts in the port. I thank him for his help he is in his early forties and has a wonderful smile one you cannot forget he was just one of those beautiful faces he to could easy be a movie star his smile contagious.
We are on another wonderful high everybody is kind it is safe nobody touches anything everybody wants to help us surly we will be on our way in the next few hours.
A new top of the range perfect white Toyota Land cruiser pulls up next to Victor.
Welcome I am Saeed your clearing agent you will be happy to know I am working for you. Saeed was an elegant man indeed with a wonderful face and greying beard. His smile was genuine his eyes alight I knew he was a friend the very first time I met him. His English was good and his sense of humour even better which surprised me completely.
Come …come lets go and get you out of hear…he exclaims after shaking Elayne’s hand this is no place for you and your wife. I climb into his beautiful new Toyota it is freezing inside …he laughs …aargh …you don’t have air-con in your strange car……No I reply……It gets very hot here you will need to fit air-con’d before you see any more Gulf Countries……Saeeds words remind me of the cooking Somaliland cows. You will need to unload those cows very soon I exclaim to Saeed…..no problems I know Osman I have been his shipping agent since he was 12……he is a snake in the grass don’t worry about his cows they will come off soon enough…..it is you which we need to complete the paperwork for. The police phoned me late last night….I was surprised to hear this I exclaim….don’t worry they don’t understand anything here they are stupid young police.
I refrained from making any further comment, but Saeed was a wonderfully cheerful guy in his immaculate white dishdasha and muzzar is a square of finely woven woollen or cotton fabric, wrapped and folded into a turban. Underneath this, the kummar, an intricately embroidered cap, is sometimes worn. The shal, a long strip of cloth acting as a holder for the khanjar (a silver, hand-crafted knife or dagger) may be made from the same material as the muzzar. Alternatively, the holder may be fashioned in the form of a belt made from leather and silver, which is called a sapta. On formal occasions, the dishdasha may be covered by a black or beige cloak, called a bisht. The embroidery edging the cloak is often in silver or gold thread and it is intricate in detail. Some men carry the assa, a stick, which can have practical uses or is simply used as an accessory during formal events. Omani men, on the whole, wear sandals on their feet….Saeed was perfectly dressed in Oman garb and he was immaculate in every detail.
I felt very close to Saeed and I had only just met him, he was so positive, there was nothing that seemed to daunt him, his elegance was almost royal his fore fathers ruled a kingdom I was convinced of that…he was royal in every detail.
His jokes were not western but his sense of humour enchanting in its interpretation knave but delightfully….I have told them you must leave to-day Saeed exclaims……..You have malaria I told them ….really I exclaim…you told them I have malaria….yes they are stupid and I want to make them responsible for you and your wife’s discomfort…..a cunning plan I thought …Saeed laughs don’t worry I am a desert fox to……..Saeed laughs when he see’s he has amused me with his cunning plan.
Saeed arrives at Customs and we step outside into the blistering heat….come Chris Come we will need to se my friend Mr Mohammed Awad Bait Rashid he is a very clever man and you will like him. Clutching my Carnet and registration documents we enter his office a large complex just on the edge of the port complex. Again it was a wonderful welcome the Omani hospitality shining through.
I have heard all about you and your strange car welcome to Oman.
Thank you I reply to Major Mohammed Awad Bait Rashid,
Saeed excuses himself and carries on the conversation with Mohammed in Arabic.
Mohammed nods his head as Saeed presumable explains what we need to enter Oman. Saeed explains to me we will need to see head of Customs and sign off with them purchasing Omani motor insurance which will allow us to drive in Oman. Great I exclaim as Saeed directs us to another building where we are to meet the Chief of Omani Customs.
It was clear on the onset of this first meeting the Chief of Customs was not going to stamp any Carnet ( as I am sure he had never seen one before) You will need to sign off from the Head of Police which is in another office. I could see Saeeds face, he was not happy with this meeting but there was nothing he could do. Unfortunately this person was not available to-day so we will need to come back tomorrow…….yikes Elayne is not going to like this.
Saeed takes me back to Elayne and Victor and tells us he will come early tomorrow and all will be completed…or Saeed say’s you can have my new Toyota with air con…..OK I will hold you to that I reply….Saeed laughs Ok this is our deal…I will win……I reply I have nothing to lose except time…..Saeed laughs yes you are right you are right he repeats.
Saeed leaves and visits Osman our Indian Captain still chewing beetle nut perched on his haunches peering across his cooking cows, Saeed knows Osman well he has told me they have had a long relationship and I was not to believe anything he says…..I am baffled by Saeeds comments but in hindsight Osman had not wanted to take us from Berbera, it was only the port manager threatening him to take us….maybe I had a rose coloured view of Osmans help….who knows….may be it was his future business with the Port of Berbera and now Salalah which is at stake …we were just an inconvenience arriving just at the wrong time.
We cannot believe those poor Cows have endured another day cooking in the direct sun , another day without any water or food…..I will never eat meat again my thoughts racing around my head those poor Cows.
Elayne and I settle down for another night at the Port still Osmans Cows are not unloaded in the cool of the evening we are tired and stuck at the Port of Salalah unable to move Victor more than 20mtrs. Elayne was not happy with my news but there was nothing we could do about it……7 minutes for an Omani visa and now 2 days later we are still stuck we are beginning to feel like those 449 Somaliland Cows.
THE worse news was yet to come our freedom was short lived as Saeed and I were told by the chief of police Salalah ‘’NO right and Drive cars are allowed to drive on Omani roads’’…..YIKES…now what…………???????…….to be continued one day soon.