Highway to Muscat & the Crazy Stuff that Happens There
After driving for what seemed like years, we finally saw signs of Muscat. It rained on and off since we crossed the UAE-Oman border at Hatta, and this slowed down our speed considerably; that, and the fact that we stopped for tea, prayers, money exchange, and photography.
We couldn’t help it. The mountains were spectacular! For a huge part, the highway to Muscat (and the city itself, as we would later discover) has been carved out from these very mountains—these imposing, strong and solid pillars of nature.
And somewhere between these mountains was a place where people went with their families to enjoy a picnic. We stopped for a moment to watch them. A group of young girls were playing football. There was also a narrow stream of water in which some children were cheerfully splashing about; the cool January wind carried the sound of their carefree laughter all the way up to the highway where we stood.
Okay, so those were the normal things that people like you and me do. What we don’t normally do is this…
We were driving towards Muscat when we saw several cars parked on the side of the highway and curious-looking people taking photographs and videos of something that looked highly interesting. We immediately pulled over. We were, after all, tourists and must, therefore, indulge ourselves in all things touristy.
We saw some young men (presumably Omani, based on the way they were dressed) trying to drive up a steep mountain of sand…
They would drive really fast, aiming to reach the top, where some of their friends stood. Getting up there on the first attempt must be a great achievement; we observed that most drivers reached the top after multiple tries. If one got stuck in the middle, he would bring the jeep down in reverse and try again!
Here’s a small clip of this crazy driving. That first jeep reached the top on the third attempt. Oh, and pardon the voices in the background; the spectators were merely fascinated by what they were seeing.
And the following less steeper playground—situated right across the madness shown above—is, I’m presuming, for the beginners…