Djamal saddles two camels with shaggy wool blankets, as bridle must serve the old rope. He packs the saddlebags with provisions, dates, dried meat, flatbread, tea, millet and fixes the water supply in goatskin bags on the saddlebags. The supplies will last for five days' march and include an emergency reserve when upcoming sandstorms prevent them from moving on.
He will collect dry wood and camouflage on the way to kindle a warming fire for his night camp under the stars. It hopes, however, for the hospitality of the Bedouins who give it shelter.
It is not Djamal's first march through the relentless desert, but this journey determines the future of his village. He is young and completely on his own. Nadim had last to take care of his sick wife. The burden of being the sole "chosen one" is heavy on his shoulders. The numerous gifts, frankincense, spices, copper and silver goods also weigh heavily in order to convey the hope and gratitude of the village.
At dawn, after a troubled night and festivities in his honor in the evening, he draws with the encouragement and blessing of all the east to the palace of Sultan Quaboos bin Said, to solicit for his village connection to the modernity ...
And if he has not died, and has made the merciless march through the desert to the palace of the Sultan, Djamal today lives happily in a "bling-bling" villa within his village community. He has exchanged his camels for a chic British four-wheel drive. Its location can be reached via a well-developed asphalt road. Each house has electricity, water supply and sanitation.
Djamal's grandchildren, both boys and girls, attend the nearby school where they are taken daily by school bus, and even his youngest son has successfully graduated. Djamal does not have to worry about the health and care for the family. In the village one is excellently supplied with medical care and in case of emergency, the nearby hospital offers state-of-the-art standards.
The wise, peaceful Sultan Quaboos governs his country as sole ruler even today. He is universally popular and regularly holds audiences to maintain his closeness to the people.
The enlightened man, who has critically eyed his father's policy of isolation (jaaa, he has overthrown him), succeeded in catapulting Oman from an almost medieval backwardness into the 21st century within four decades. He takes a path that consciously differs from the superlatives and self-staging of the other Gulf States and remembers despite the cultural opening to the traditions and values of the long and proud history of Oman
When it came to power in the 1970s, there were just two elementary schools and 10 km of paved roads throughout the country. Today, the illiteracy rate is just under 10% and a modern road network pervades the country. His education offensive is especially beneficial for women.
And if he died once, then ...?
It remains to speculate how the fairy tale goes on. Sultan Quaboos bin Said is unmarried and has remained childless.
The country has survived the Arab Spring without major incidents and yet cracks have emerged in the image. Voices of more democratization have become loud in the country.
Picture men around the campfire: Oman Tourism