Letters from the Oman Trail – Sleepless night

Letters from the Oman Trail – Sleepless night

At last morning. You whom I waited for all night…”

A popular belief states that deserts are very hot during the day, but can turn very cold at night. May be true for some, ain’t so in the Arabian desert during summer. It’s very very hot during the day, and it stays very very hot at night. No chance of cooling off one bit when sleeping here.

I brought with me a all bunch of camping gears. Not that I need most, but I want to set up a nice camp once and take a good picture of it. Call it the Instagram factor, even though no one seems to care of anything else that a Kardashian ass I won’t find here. No setup camp tonight though. It is still 43°c as I am admiring the sun set. Starting a fire under such temperatures is a bit redundant. I don’t even have marshmallows. Taking out my stove to heat up my soup isn’t necessary either. Turns out the can is already hot enough to skip that part too.

Once it’s time to call it a day and get inside my tent, the outer shell has turned “my room” into a sauna. Blocking the wind from outside, trapping my body heat inside, it must be above 45°c in there. In no time my clothes are all sticking to me, puddles of sweat dripp on the floor from my elbows. I decide to remove the upper part of the tent, leaving only the mesh to get some air in. The problem is the floor has a skirt all around designed to go high enough to protect me from the wind just the same. Different option, same result. Forget the tent tonight. I fold it back and install my mattress on top of the Jeep’s roof, hoping to catch some wind flow to ease the pain. If only there was wind !!
It’s getting late now and I still can’t sleep because of the heat. What to do ? I get back inside the car, start it up just to enjoy the air-con for a while. Once cooled off a bit, I grab a book and climb on the roof of my car, my terrasse, hoping a few pages will put me to sleep as they do when reading in bed at home. I took with me Mike Horn’s Expedition Arktos. The story of his 20.000 km walk around the Artic pole. Reading the adventures of a man fighting a freezing death while I’m suffering from unbearable heat in a desert is unfortunately not cooling me off, but at least reminds me that for some it can be worst.

Talking about worst, I have a thought for all those, like Muhammad I met earlier, who sleep here every night and can’t complain. I guess they are used to it, have acclimated. You would be surprise how your body can get used to the elements. In France 37°c is a heat wave wiping out the elderly, and sending the government in a frenzy. Here it makes you want to grab a jacket. My body hasn’t yet transitioned from last night fresh 19°c room to tonight’s 43°c.

This first night is gonna be sleepless. That book better good, because the stars above are disappointing too. It’s hardly more dense that what I can see while at my mother’s near Paris, despite the light pollution of the city near by. It’s nothing compare to what I was used to in California, or what I enjoyed once in northern Portugal. And to top it off, my reading light is attracting every flying bug of the region, adding to the noise of the planes passing above my head. No complain, no complain, just get use to it…
At last morning. You whom I waited for all night…

wadi in Sharjah
Dry wadi in the emirate of Sharjah.