More than 40 years have passed since Britain fought a secret war in Oman. Former Major Nicholas Ofield has returned for the first time since the conflict to retread his battlegrounds with his son, filmmaker Tristan Ofield. This blog contains excerpts from the production diary Tristan kept during filming.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Day 14

After deciding to hire a 4x4 to go up the Jebel Akdar (green mountain) with a driver because it's cheaper we have lucked out. Arrived and there is no driver to take us. So 4x4, no driver 30 reals. Result. Drove past a pile of hexagonal bricks used for paving. Reminded me of Big Buddha Island in ThaiLand where I wrote a message for Ian. The monks were reflooring the temple and you paid to write a message on a brick that would be used. Remember being struck by all the messages of peace and love written by well wishers that would be used to pave the floor of the temple. A reminder of the good nature of so many people from all over the world.

As we get to the plateau. What used be a small village next to an army base and air strip leftover from the Jebal Aktar war has become a sprawling town. Complete with kids play parks and hotels. A sign of 40 years of progress greeted by my father with mixed emotions. Is there nowhere left untouched? 

Dad was an unintentional explorer. Stationed in one of the last unreached places. One of their tasks was to make sure the villages knew there was a new Sultan to ensure the news got through. Today I can feel a sense of completion. A full circle. The end of Dad's adventure and my free ride. I will now have to find my own. Where is there left to explore besides Antarctica? 

The village of Wadi Beni Habib - a working example of why the old Sooks should be saved. People come from miles around, hire a 4x4 to drive up a massive mountain to see an old village they have to walk a long way to. The Sooqs are beautiful. With a bit of work can be restored and could have people living and working in them.

Been treated to some real Oman hospitality. Went into a shop trying find someone who knew people in Dad's pictures. The lad in the shop took us to meet his grandfather. Got taken into a traditional Omani room. I accidentally sat at the head of the room but the old man corrected me, also reminding me to take everything offered to me with the right hand. I had actually forgotten. Dad spoke to the Grandfather while the grandson fetched coffee, dates, cut fruit, halwa (like Turkish delight but better), and placed it all before us. A few other men arrived from the village. Dad was in his element explaining about the war and discussing changes to the region. We were invited for lunch but declined saying we had to get off. The house was wonderful. The main room opened out onto a roof terrace covered by a marquee. Very breezy and the sort of place I would be happy to stay for longer.

Looking at mirages on the road - I get that the hot air bends the light but how it creates reflections I don't know.

Wahiba sands! Could easily spend 6 days there with no probs. Group of people, jeep, sleeping bags. Do all the sports, sand boarding, quad biking, 4x4 driving and the all time fav extreme running! Sand is everywhere but it's less corse than beach sand so it doesn't matter.

1 comment:

  1. I genuinely love reading each chapter you post. Great stuff.