The last weeks have been full of adventure, interesting encounters and hecticness. I try to summarize my experiences in this blog which is this time not a day-to-day overview.
Some days in Muscat
Way before my host woke up I left his apartment in Sohar because I wanted to be in Muscat around noon. It was a 209km drive and 200km is about the maximum I can do. However the car is capable of doing 250km max under the most ideal conditions. Meaning 20+ temperatures, flat road, no wind and max speed 90km/h. Today all these condition were there so I decided to test it. And it was a succes, with even 15% left I arrived in Muscat at my host Faisal. When I posted I was going to Oman a Norwegian guy told his friend Faisal that I was coming there and he wanted to help me out. Faisal is a really good guy and owner of the Brotherhood motorbike shop. He even arranged that I could stay in an apartment for 5 days
On one of the first days in Muscat I was contacted by a journalist from Muscat Daily who wanted to do an interview with me. That article was published a day later and I received a lot of requests. Not just from nice people who could offer me a place to stay but from 3 different school. They wanted to know if I was willing to give a presentation. Why not?
The first school I visited was the OurPlanet School, a grade school were the children get lessons on the environment from already a young age, unique in Oman the principal told me. I did a presentation in 3 different classes and they all were so enthusiastic. The questions I got from the kids were hilarious “how do you brush your teeth?” and “can I play with my playstation on the screen?” were some of the best ones. 2 kids who “have their own washing company” even did a nice wash on the car. A few days later I went to the American School for another presentation.
After I stayed in the apartment for 5 days I went to a Dutch family. Very kind people who showed me around town. The next day I went to another Dutch couple, Agnes en Goos. Agnes contacted me earlier as she is working for a magazine for the Dutch community here and wanted to run an article about me. Coincidence or not this night was the annual Dutch Gala night and Agnes managed to get a ticket for me. We parked the car right next to the red carpet. It turned out the be a great night, free Heinekens and bitterballen were served so it couldn’t be a bad party.
The Green Sheikh whatsapped me, he saw I was in Muscat and he needed to be there for a presentation at The Sultan’s School and he invited me to join him. He gave several presentations and asked me to give a few words too.
Visa issues / Leaving Oman
The reason I needed to go to Oman was because there was a possibility that I could receive the visa for India in 2 weeks time. If I needed to wait for that my visa for the UAE would have expired and I would be in trouble. After just 3 days in Oman I already received a call that I could pick up the visa. So on Tuesday the 15th I decided to go back to the UAE to make the final arrangements.
In the morning I had some time to visit the Sultan Qabooz Grand Mosque, a stunning piece of architecture. Up until a few years ago they had the biggest chandelier in the world here, until some Emiratis decided to make a bigger one. They also had to biggest carpet in the world, until some Qataris decided to make bigger one.
First I made a stop in Sohar were Mark was waiting for me, he is the CEO of the Port of Sohar and I wanted to interview him because they are working on sustainable projects in the port.
I left from the far side of Muscat and it was 250km to the port, I wanted to see how far I could go. So on the final day of the first year I set a new personal record: 233km on a single charge. I had 7% left but was sure I couldn’t reach the port and stopped at a fuel station. Some nice people allowed me to recharge there and the driver of Mark picked me up to bring me to the port.
At the port I gave a presentation for the the team including some Dutch people as the port is partially owned by the Port of Rotterdam. Than Mark took me for a tour around the port, which is quite huge and told me about their efforts to make the port more sustainable. At the moment they are building a unit which is fully self-sustainable. A unique project in this country as the awareness on environmental issues is very low here, the country relies on 99.8% on oil.
The next day I tried to reach Dubai, I stopped at Mikkels place (where I stayed on the way to Oman) and recharged for a few hours. I really wanted to reach Dubai today. I needed to bring my passport to the visa company and it would take 4-5 days before it would be returned. I managed to reach Dubai around 6 and handed over my passport.
Today I am also on the road for one year! It’s still a dream and can’t believe all the interesting encounters and adventures I had in the past year. What a ride it was.
Than I suddenly realized I might have another issue. On Sunday the car would be shipped by the nice people of DGL, however to enter the port you need your passport and I would receive this on Monday at earliest. I called with the company and they confirmed, fortunately it was no problem to delay the shipment. This night I stayed at Jan Willem’s place, the legend who were I stayed in the first weeks of the arrival. The next 2 days I went to Adnane who I had also stayed before. With Adnane I went into the desert to take some nice shots with my drone of the car. This will be seen later in a very special movie.
On Saturday I already received the news that my passport would be returned to me today. That was only after 1 official working day so that was kind of a surprise. So now the car will be delivered to the port on Wednesday and on Saturday I will fly to Mumbai.
Eco Donut Boats
Sunday morning I had a meeting with Dubai Carbon, a governmental organization and I wanted to know from them everything about energy in the country, the video interview will be online later.
After the interview I went to Abu Dhabi to visit Eco Donut Boats. This is a cool company who has donut shaped boats powered by the sun. The owner, Berend, sponsored me with a drone and in return I will make a movie about this project.
I didn’t had a place to sleep for tonight yet but next to the Donut Boats was a beautiful hotel, the Eastern Mangroves Hotel by Anantara and Berend knew someone there. We asked if they could host me for a night and they were ok with that! And I am very lucky as this was a 5 star hotel! The suite was stunning and it had a bath which was big enough for my tall body, great!
The next day I spend the morning at the outside infinity pool after I had one of the best breakfasts ever. The buffet in the hotel had more than I could even wish for.
Now I am back in Dubai to do the final preparations before setting off to Mumbai. It will be hard to leave but I am really up to the next stage of this journey.
PS. Yesterday I was on Dutch TV program Hart van Nederland! Check it here: www.hartvannederland.nl/nieuws/2017/wiebe-ziet-de-hele-wereld-zonder-een-cent-uit-te-geven/