The English section was started in December 2014. Prior blogs are avilable in German language only.
All blogs we have published so far can be found in the Archive section, sorted by calendar year.
At this point, our first Africa Blog should actually be here. Unfortunately it comes completely different than expected.
What were the times when Corona was only known as a Mexican beer. The worldwide pandemic has now changed everything and at a speed that nobody thought possible.
While our MOMO is shipped from Dubai to Durban we use the time for a little home leave and fly to Germany on 27 Feb Corona is just a footnote in the news at this time and something that primarily concerns the Chinese. After the situation gets even worse in the first half of March we decide to fly to South Africa earlier than planned and wait for our car there. On 11 March we fly to Durban and there we rent a nice Airbnb. The first days we spend at 25 degrees and bright sunshine on the beach and enjoy the good African cuisine. At the same time we observe the corona development with increasing concern and decide to break off on 16 March. At this time there are only 7 cases in South Africa, but we fear that when the virus reaches the townships it will end in a desaster.
Salalah is the southernmost city in Oman and a popular destination for Omanis during the summer months, when everything is lushly green and blooming after the monsoon rains. Due to its location at the foot of the mountains, intensive farming is possible on the plains. Now, at the beginning of the new year, it is pleasantly warm and the locals are largely among themselves.
We have a beautiful parking lot directly on the beach under palm trees, almost like in the Caribbean. Others probably know it too, because at times we are there with almost ten overlanders. Every evening from 17:00 on, there is an endless queue of cars. Obviously, it is a traditional pleasure of the locals to drive up and down here and to get stuck in the sand from time to time. But after a few hours the nightly haunting is over and peace returns.
Entering Oman at the Hatta border crossing is not easy. The computer system doesn't work and at the counters people pile up in long queues.
We watch the whole thing for a good two hours and then decide to set up camp in the parking lot and spend the waiting time there. Only after nightfall we start to move forward again and the queues are slowly being worked off. Around 8pm the waiting time is zero and we get our entry stamp. Now it is too late to continue and so we camp with four big trucks on the parking lot of the border police.
The shipping from Iran to the United Arab Emirates is lengthy, rather chaotic and above all inscrutable. In the morning at 8 o'clock we are standing with seven vehicles at the port and then it is wait, wait, wait. Except for one vehicle, we all have the same agent who probably earns a golden nose with it. Until all have their papers, stamps and ferry tickets it is dark.
Loading starts at 9 pm and around midnight we finally cast off. We are not allowed to sleep in the car, but there are seats similar to economy class seating on the plane including dinner and breakfast. The crossing takes a good 11 hours and at the port in Sharjah it takes another 4 hours until we have paid all stamps and various fees. Then we are finally through. Welcome to UAE.
There is an old Persian saying that if you have seen Isfahan, you have seen half the world. So we are very curious what awaits us. But first the traffic of a two million city and the challenge to find a parking space awaits us.
The hostels we go to are simply not feasible for our size without demolishing the balcony balustrades or cutting off the power supply to the neighbourhood. Thus, we only have the Abbasi Hotel with a big parking lot close to the center. There we can park comfortably, but have to take a room. Thus, we unexpectedly enjoy the affordable luxury of an oriental 4 star hostel with a beautiful garden in the inner courtyard. This is also where Manfred's sister Elke comes, because the next two weeks we travel in threes.