The three buildings in the above image, was the home of an old gentleman who as far as I could tell, had cut himself off from his immediate family and lived a very solitary life.
Unfortunately he is now deceased; although I did have the pleasure of meeting him on a few occasions when he was walking the mountain tracks.
I remember the first time I saw him, he was walking back from one of the local villages and I stopped in case he wanted a lift. He scrambled in and proceeded to have a loud and unintelligible conversation with me (it was some form of local dialect – probably Kumzari [see below] interspersed with the local Arabic) I can get by poorly ! with the later but not a hope with the former.
Over the months, I picked him up a number of times and was greeted with a big toothy smile along with the inevitable loud unintelligible chatter. I said yes & no interspersed with insha’Allah when I thought it appropriate; he always left with profuse expressions of thanks, so I must have avoided giving offence.
This is in no way meant to sound disrespectful, but – the expectations of someone living alone in the mountains above Khasab are that they would not present the most hygienic of demeanours….. Far from it, he was clean and what struck me as rather odd, very soft hands, but with a firm handshake. So although the place looks very desolate and unkempt, he was most fastidious about his appearance; albeit rather bedraggled.
I was sad when I heard that he had died.
From that well-known online encyclopædia:-
The Kumzari name derives from the historically rich mountainous village of Kumzar. The language has two main groups of speakers, one on each side of the Strait of Hormuz: by the Shihuh tribe of the Musandam Peninsula and by the Laraki community of Larak Island in Iran. On the Musandam Peninsula, the Kumzar population is concentrated in Oman, in the village of Kumzar and in a quarter of Khasab known as the Harat al-Kumzari. In addition, Kumzari is found at Dibba and the coastal villages of Elphinstone and the Malcolm Inlets. It is the mother tongue of fishermen who are descendants of the Yemeni conqueror of Oman, Malek bin Faham. Based on linguistic evidence, the presence of Kumzari in the Arabia region exists prior to the Muslim conquest of the region in the 7th Century A.D.
Although vulnerable, it survives today with between 4,000 and 5,000 speakers.
4 thoughts on “A Musandam Hermitage.”
I wonder who found out he had died. Living a solitary life has it’s merits which I enjoy to the fullest. But that stone house is so isolated.
I think the local villagers & his family kept more of an eye on him than probably he and outsiders imagined.
Yes it’s around the 4500ft mark & although a dirt track road passes quite close by; it wasn’t as if one could drop in unexpected. It’s halfway up a cliff face !!!
Blimey – he LIVED there. Nice story.
Yes – one of those people one occasionally meets that leave a profound impression for no accountable reason. I didn’t know him nor he me, but we were always pleased to see each other.