Wahiba Sands are the home of the Bedu people. In Oman they specialise in raising racing camels. The camel races take place in winter - when temperatures are acceptable - between October & April. Our guide - yes, an Ali again - had a little story about that. In the past - for weight reduction - children were used to drive the camels. Because of the risks - should I say dangers? - children have been banned from the race track. They now use dummies. Unofficially, camels run up to 70 km/h and do about 40km/h in endurance races.

Predictably, we are invited by Mohammed, our camp host, to visit his family in the Bedu settlement. Of course, showing and selling their craft is part of the deal. The settlement isn't more than 3 sheds & tents and to-day I am still wondering, if they are keeping this alive for “us tourists“  or actually live here.

Particularly the women dress distinctively. They have a very colourful garment with a gauze outergarment. The most striking garment in their wardrobe, is the - beak like - mask they wear.

We are offered the coffee that they drink everywhere in Oman. It tastes very peculiar - but not unpleasant - and is made from a relatively small amount of freshly ground coffee, some spoons of cardamom and a number of cloves. The coffee is poured into really small cups. After 3, I decide that it is probably polite to start refusing the next offer.

posted on Wednesday, March 11, 2009 7:42 PM