I will stop for a second to take my drugs. Do you want some? – says our guide and before hearing the answer jumps out of the jeep. I am thinking that I did not understand the question, but seeing my husband, I am sure there is no mistake. He is seated on the front seat and looking nervous around while I am trying to calm down two small kids. They spend the day jumping on the rooftop of Nizwa fort, they were throwing stones from 2000 meters above sea level, but still they are full of energy.
We are in the middle of nowhere. For the record – anything on a hour and an half drive away from Muscat is in the middle of nowhere, especially after sunset. I am looking at the white clothes of our driver. He is getting back in the vehicle bringing plastic cups with strange liquid. He is sitting, smiling and explaining: this is karak. I call it my drug, because it keeps me awake. It is stronger than coffee and more addicting than drug. After whole day of driving only karak helps me not to fall asleep.
I am staring at the cup. Something hot and muggy is swimming inside. What is it? I am asking. It’s a tea with milk and spices. I have tried many typical for Oman things, but being not a Britisher, tea with milk and spices sounds to me as french-fries with powder sugar. Anyway, I prefer to drink it before some kids jump spreading tea on my clothes. I am trying once, twice…. It’s amazing, the taste is so smooth, you easily get addicted. I understand, that after every boiling there are more spices added until they achieve this taste.
We are back at Muscat and the next morning I am running straight to the souq. For karak of course. There is a huge line. I am waiting, buying, trying, but the taste is not the same. It’s like ordering a ristretto and getting instant coffee. Maybe the best place to order karak is the when stopped in the middle of nowhere. Or maybe the tea there was so sweet, because he collected the taste and the emotions of exhausting, but memorable day, who knows…