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The mountains around the corner

My dad asked me via email if I knew, geopolitically speaking, where I was. We are in Dibba, Oman, on the eastern coast of the Musandam peninsula. We constantly cross the border between the UAE and Oman. When we go to “town” to use the internet cafĂ©, we are in the UAE. Dibba is in Oman. We are a 10 minute bike ride from the ocean. To our north-ish (I don’t have a compass) there is a substantial mountain range. We live just at the base of it (literally) If you take the road past our house and then take a right you will start weaving through the mountains. There is a large wadi (dry river bed) that runs through our part of the mountains. Native people used to live in these mountains, and there are signs of their presence everywhere. Ali was actually born there in a little hut. In the 60’s the government offered free land and support in the flat lands so most of the mountain people moved. They didn’t want to part with their land so they left their goats here. Someone from each family comes in the evening to feed and water the goats. Often, families come on weekends to have a barbeque. The goats up here put our scrambling and climbing skills to shame. They are extremely agile and climb steep slopes and large boulders easily.
These mountains are completely rock and rubble. There is very little vegetation, mostly small acacia trees. There is climbing to be done literally everywhere. We frequent a substantial boulder field and several sport climbing routes nearby. After our swim in the Indian Ocean, we decided to go have a look at the boulder field. We also needed to see how long it would take the kids to bike there. Jesi, Micah and Will took the bikes and I drove the support vehicle. Devan joined me in my Tahoe and served as my tour guide. We beat the others to the boulder field and had a look around. The boulder field rivals everything I’ve seen in the states. There are literally hundreds of boulders in that field, and thousands in the immediate area. Devan walked me through the field and pointed out problems the kids could probably do as well as larger boulders they planned to bolt. After a thorough look through the field we headed to the nearby sport routes. Devan told me while we were walking that Iranians frequently take a speedboat across the water and get dropped off in the mountains to walk through Oman to the UAE. The mountains here are incredibly rugged with pretty much no water and very little vegetation. The deadly heat makes the trek deadly during the summer; so illegal immigrants take advantage of the mild temperatures and higher levels of rainfall during the winter. Devan told me that you’ll see these people once in a while, and they will often approach you for food and water. He recommended always bringing extra of both to give them because if you don’t give them what you have, or don’t have anything to give, they will attack. We see military helicopters flying low over the mountains frequently. We assume they are looking for illegal immigrants.


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