Please login to vote.
Tuesday, 01 January 2013

A Battle Within: Traveling Oman with Hypoglycemia - Page 4

Written by Ken Ward
  • Print
  • Email
  • AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Rate this item
(0 votes)

      A deep rumble shook me to the core. Not a good sign in the Middle East. The smell of exhaust clung to migrant sand particles as the high sun filtered through dust clouds to the ground. Heat wrapped itself around me. My head spun, and the rumble shook me again. My arch-nemesis had stalked me all the way here: hypoglycemia.  

      My condition, which I was diagnosed with my first year of college, still puzzled me. My case of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, attacked me all day, every day, making me feel shaky, dizzy, and lightheaded. The only way to tame the beast was to feed it.

      I stood at the entrance of the Mutrah Souk (also known as Muttrah Souq), a marketplace in Muscat, Oman with my dad, his second wife, and our driver. The venue, which had been at the same site for hundreds of years, overlooked the Mutrah Corniche, the largest natural harbor in the world. Omanis—the men dressed in long, often white gowns and flat, circular hats, and the women in long headdresses over loose-fitting pants—milled among foreigners in and out of the market. 

      Feeling my blood sugar plummeting, I stumbled to the nearest food vendor. At the food stand, a sweaty, middle-aged man with a big knife stood next to a big hunk of hanging lamb. At that point, the man looked better than a supermodel to me. “I want that,” I said as I pointed to the big pile of meat. “Yes, of course,” he said as he began shaving the meat to create one of the most wonderful things on earth: a shawarma. This particular sandwich was crafted from shaved lamb meat, tomato, cucumber, and a yogurt sauce wrapped in a pita. The salty, earthy meat complemented the tartness of the yogurt.

 

 

      “Hi, are you taking people to 1,000 Nights?” my dad asked the man in the Jeep.

      “Yes, I can take you,” the man said. He looked to be in his late 20s.

      “How much?” my dad asked. 

      “I can take you for 30 Omani rials,” the man said, his face emotionless. The three people in the car waited without talking. Jawas drummed on the steering wheel with his index fingers while Usha rocked her head back and forth to keep herself awake.

      “No, that’s too much.”

      The man stared at my dad. His face softened into a small grin.

      “20 rials,” he said.

      “Wait here.” 

      He came back and told us that they would lead us there for 20 Omani rials, or about $52 U.S. We had just enough for that, but that would leave us no money for extras once we got there, and there were no ATMs in the area. He crossed the lot again, sweating, to the Jeep.

      “I’m sorry,” my dad said. “We don’t have enough money.”

      “It’s ok, it’s only 20 rials,” the driver said.

      “No, we really don’t have enough,,see,” my dad took out his wallet and opened it for him.

      “Ok, I understand. No problem,” he said. The driver leaned his head back and my dad returned.

      While we were weighing our options, a carful of expats pulled into the station to refuel. My dad stepped out of the car again and walked over to the group.

      “Hi, do you know how to get to the 1000 Nights desert camp?” my dad asked the driver.

      The man was as tall as my dad, about 6’ 2”, and had blonde hair that was turning white.

      “Yes, we could lead you halfway there if you’d like,” the man said with a slight German accent as he inserted the nozzle into his vehicle.

      “That would be great,” my dad said. “The guy over there said he would take us but it was just too much. Where are you guys from?”

      “We are from Germany,” the man said. “We are just out here visiting some friends, but we’ve been out there a few times so we know how to get there.”

      They exchanged business cards and continued to chat. My stomach rumbled. I debated whether or not to have a granola bar. I always carried them around with me, but I only had a few and wanted to save them in case a sand storm devoured me on the drive out. 

      My dad walked over. “Ok Jawas, pull over behind the station. The man said we have to lower the tire pressure to 17 psi.”

      The temperature climbed to about 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and the heat mixed with the smell of gasoline made me dizzy. We left the town and parked right where the road ended and the desert began. The German driver stepped out of the car and approached my dad’s window. He walked slowly, and a smile lit up his face. A carpet of orange sand spread out as far as I could see. Little wooden shacks dotted the desert landscape, as well as some lonely shrubs that poked out of the ground.

 

(Page 4 of 7)
Last modified on Wednesday, 23 January 2013
More in this category: The Best Apple Pie in Amsterdam »

Search Content by Map

Search

All Rights Reserved ©Copyright 2006-2021 inTravel Magazine®
Published by Christina's Arena, Inc.