By the time we reached Omak, a violet twilight sky deepened into luxuriant purple and gold. The sun set most spectacularly and a massive golden disc disappeared behind the horizon of a long narrow highway. The rocky arid landscape drowned in blood-red hues and homecoming villagers and their animals kicked up clouds of dust. Omak Beach was a bit of a drive from Zahak and it was early evening when our tired 4 * 4 crunched to a stop on its powdery soft sand. After being on the road for two rough days, I was dying for a shower and toilet facilities. Socotra, owing to its untouched nature, provided none such comforts and in the dusky evening light, the bordering date plantations were the only places that offered the privacy for such needs. At that time, even the smelly bathroom of the Taj Socotra seemed like a luxurious dream and I would have given my right arm for a shower.
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Sleeping at the foot of a sand dune in Omak
We camped right on the beach and after a quick dinner, dragged down our mattresses out from the car. It was a beautiful clear night and the dark blue sky was crowded with stars. Not a single dot of artificial light could be spotted for miles and the diamond-bright stars twinkled with clear hard glitter. The sea which rumbled just a few feet away was gentle at that time and only a sweet, rushing sound of its waves reached our ears. The constant sea breeze felt chilly at night and I slept at the foot of a big sand dune to escape the cold. The decision was a bad one and in the morning, I had to be nearly excavated from underneath a mound of sand. The Omak dawn broke with a rosy blush and I woke up to Anwar staring down at me in serious contemplation. Sand covered my body like a neat blanket and a few pesky intrusive grains sat on my eyelashes. The sand coating on my lips crunched on my teeth and I waited, unmoved till Anwar dug me out. Needless to say, it was not my most blissful morning but the beauty of the sunrise washed away all the wear and tear. The sand dune which had nearly shifted on top of me at night looked like a pile of dazzling sugar and white feathery clouds fanned behind it. I rushed to the sea immediately and had happily savoured the experience of a breathtaking sunrise all alone.
Seashells of Omak beach
It is not every day or at every place that you get to enjoy a stunning sunrise on a magical stretch of white beach all alone and for those brief moments, I happily basked in “marooned on a deserted island” feeling. Not a single human, apart from me, was visible either on the beach or on the sea. Anwar too had driven over to the nearest village to get fresh food. With two back to back days of Nutella, honey, cheese, super sweet jam, and dry bread for breakfast, I looked forward to a change and that morning we feasted on a small bucket of milk, some fresh bread and sweating chunk of cheese. For a person, who loves food, Socotra was a hard experience. After the sunrise, Omak looked bland experience and the sea was a bit too cold for swimming. The sand on the beach was strewn with trash and there were thatched huts bordering the edge of the beach. Beyond them, enclosed date palm plantations stretched till the road. The biggest attraction of Omak in my eyes was its seashells and I found some beautiful ones scattered on the beach. Big, intact, ridged, and with iridescent colours, they came in beautiful shapes and varieties. Large conchs also lay embedded here and I held a large one to my ear with the hope of hearing the sound of distant seas.
Childhood memories of Omak
The big, white conch, of course, apart from pouring some more sand into my ear, did not produce any aural effect, but the sun rays playing on its smooth pearly sheen looked very pretty. It brought back some very beautiful childhood memories with my mother and at that moment, I secretly ached for her. In our grown-up world of responsibilities and busy schedules, we often skip making our loved ones, especially parents, feel special and even forget “missing” them. That beautiful morning, I craved for my mom like no one else on earth and vowed to bring her there someday. With the sun climbing higher, the fresh dewy beauty of Omak faded off quickly and soon it became what it really was – a blazing hot beach where local fishermen crowded to catch crabs. I soon got bored with the whole scene and after shopping for a glistening pair of lobsters, we started our long drive to Qalanciya.
Follow the rest of the Yemen series here
- YEMEN CRISIS AND MEMORIES OF OLD SANAA
- MEMORIES OF SOCOTRA
- HOW I ENDED UP ON THE SOCOTRA ISLAND
- HADIBO AND URBANIZATION OF SOCOTRA
- THE MOUNTAIN BEDOUINS OF SOCOTRA
- LOSING TIME IN WADI DIRHUR
- CAVE ESCAPADE IN SOCOTRA
- THE SHIFTING SAND DUNES OF ZAHAK
RESPONSIBLE TRAVELING-BECAUSE I CARE