Saturday, 7 February 2009
Looking for the next Ibn Battuta
I´ve just come back from a press conference at Al Faraj Hotel, arranged by my friends at Discover Oman, in the capital Muscat, a meeting filled with joy and hope. But right now, half an hour after midnight, I am dead tired. So much emotions, so many great people, so many questions and on top of that, all the strong impressions that I have collected during these four days of touring parts of Oman with Kamil al Raisi, my friend. But, I guess I can rest the day I stop kicking. Could be sooner then I think....Tomorrow I am off to Salalah and time to see if I still have what it takes! My first little outing in almost 4 years....Rub Al-Khali!
I just have to say:
There´s such a positive spirit going on in Oman that it is almost impossible not to feel that everything is possible! And even if they -the local journalists from all media- probably thought that my idea is close to suicide, I did get the feeling that they saw a lot of possibilities in the upcoming Expedition. And I was amazed at their genuine interest. I just love the spirit and sense of pioneering that is going on at the moment. There´s no limits in Oman. I hope, because one thing I specifically asked for during the press conference, was help to find a young Omani, who would like to become the next Ibn Battuta. Because this is not a project for me as an explorer first hand, but I see it as a chance to build a bridge between Arabia and the West. And then, of course, I am just the tool for a young Arab, preferably Omani, to join me and then do what his great compatriot, the great Morroccan, Ibn Battuta did in the 14th Century. He travelled for over 30 years and covered 117 000 kms, traveling mainly by foot and camel. He makes Marco Polo look like a nobody.
Maybe I will meet him, the modern day version of the great Ibn Battuta, in Rub Al-Khali. Wait and see for my next report!