But anyways, a few weeks ago Max and I scaled the nearly 10,000 feet of Jebel Akdar to explore the Saiq Plateau and hunker down for the night. As we ascended miles and miles of switchbacks the temperature dropped 20 degrees. We rolled down sleeves and opened windows to feel the fresh air. The roads were lined with dozens of pomegranate sellers boasting crates of pinky fruit just picked from the orchards. Jebel Akdar's moderate temperatures have allowed fruit to grow that could never survive in the lower, harsher desert climate: peaches, pomegranates, grapes, pears, apples.
We built a fire (for the record MAX built the fire) cooked a meal of kefta in our little grill and settled into complete silence. Everything was lovely and picturesque, like we'd been re-inacting a scene from an American Eagle campaign (minus the trendy clothes, plus a normal body weight) until we extinguished the fire and zipped ourselves in the tent for the night.
The terror. The donkey induced terror. After dozing for a few minutes Buckley started to grumble - that strange, hesitant dog grumble when they think something is near but aren't quite sure. Then we heard wild donkeys braying and racing past our tent. Donkeys on their own aren't very scary, but then I started to wonder what else was out there. No one knows where we are. A friendly park ranger hasn't checked us into our campsite and noted our license plate number I began to think. The rules for camping in Oman are simple: If it isn't someone's private property or restricted by a sign, you can throw a tent down and camp. It makes for some pretty great wild camping, but also a wee bit of a fright when you find yourself alone in the wild, in a foreign country with only limited camping knowledge. I don't even have a pocket knife! My mind raced with how I would defend my family should worse come to worse, how I would navigate by the stars and find my way down the mountain and back home - a feat I in NO way could actually have performed. We slept on and off, being awoken by donkeys, quiet dog noises and wind scuffles that sounded suspiciously like footsteps. Despite a crap night, Max assured me that he had fun and we will, indeed, go camping again. The mountain was beautiful and it certainly felt like a getaway.
My family has been urbanized for generations Max tells his friends at work the next day, to contrast the vast difference in our upbringing and approach to the outdoors. It is true my people were farmers but I grew up in a very suburban suburb of Salt Lake City. Where, wouldn't you know it, gosh darn, I met the urbanized young man I now share a life with. Who lived in my same county, had the same number of children in his family, attended the same church and worked an after school job just like me. It's amazing how different two people from almost exactly identical childhood circumstances can turn out - He, sophisticated and worldy, Me, gap toothed and wide eyed. Shucks.
If you can't tell, this has become a running joke at our house. I have exaggerated the extent to which Max thinks of my people as ruffians because it gets his goat. Every time :)