Friday, April 15, 2011
Over spring break week, we stayed here to work most of the week and then David headed to South Africa to compete in the South African Ironman (more posts to follow on that ...), and I took the boys for a long weekend to Muscat, Oman. Grounded in Islam, Omanis remain genuinely open to others, quick to smile, friendly and willing to offer help if needed. Sure in themselves, they are not threatened by differences.
Muscat, the capital city, has well-maintained parks, beautiful gardens, palm-tree lines streets, and clean streets. People generally follow road rules and drive safely. We enjoyed swimming in the pools at the hotel, eating a variety of foods, wandering through the Muttrah souk and bargaining for items - Omani caps, frankincense and sandalwood, cotton tops, andother interesting items. We also visited the Grand Mosque, just ten years old and one of the most beautiful mosques I have ever seen: peaceful and graceful with intricate patterns adorning the interior ceiling of the main prayer hall.
We took one day and went on a day trip with a guide to Wadi Shab, stopping at a fish market on the way. A wadi is like a southwest canyon that fills with rushing water when there's a rainstorm. The walls of the wadi rose high above the rocky terrain on the canyon floor. There were small pools of water and lush palm trees scattered throughout. We hiked up about 2 kilometers over large gravel and then larger boulders. As we got to the end of wadi, we were walking along the canyon bottom which clearly showed evidence of having been the river bottom a long time ago. We stashed our backpack and shoes and swam through clear water pools to an end cavern with a crevice wide enough above the water's level for just our heads to fit through. Inching through about two feet of narrow rock,
we entered a smaller, stunning pool of water with a waterfall on one side. Truly, it was breathtaking and amazing. Well worth the trip! For a interesting perspective on Oman, read this editorial from the New York Times as well as the comments that follow the editorial: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/14/opinion/14kristof.html?scp=6&sq=Oman&st=cse
Oman is surely
a lovely country. Thanks for reading, Jennifer