Oman – Wadis and other wonders

Walking to the Wadi

Oman is a desert country. It’s very sunny all the time and in the summer it can reach 50 degrees. Apparently no one is supposed to work if it gets that hot but the government always claim it is only 49! Only 49 degrees, you could fry an egg on the pavement in that. But there is the dreamy turquoise Arabian sea and there are the Wadis, beautiful green oases and waterfalls which dot the landscape and are a lifeline for the hot and bothered of the Middle East. A Wadi is a dry river bed or valley which fills up in the rainy season and sometimes can flood. They are usually found in remote locations and some, like Wadi Ban Khalid are fed from Falajs or man made channels which bring fresh spring water down from the mountains.

Tallyho!

We drove the very winding road up and down through the mountains taking the usual wrong turns due to dodgy signage. But we did find one thing out about the Omanis as a result of our navigational issues. They are so friendly and helpful, that not only will they point you in the right direction, but they will urge you to follow them and drive you right to where you want to be. This happened four times to us (yes we did get lost more than once) and each time we experienced the same hospitable reaction. Who needs a sat nav in Oman? And anyway with petrol at 20p a litre you can afford to get lost as much as you like.Wadi Ban Khalid had lots of visitors picnicing and swimming up the Wadi and through the caves. Small boys offered to carry your bags and paraphenalia in their wheelbarrows for a small charge – very enterprising we thought. The young men were jumping in from the bridge and horsing around in the cool water. Ladies and girls don’t get to do this though and we had to go in fully clothed because of modesty concerns. I haven’t swum in my outerwear since my junior life saving certificate age 11.

Special Sur

After our Wadi wander we got back in the car and headed to Sur, a town on the South East coast. It has a magical island with a lighthouse on it and is home to the ancient art of Dhow (wooden boat)building. It is not touristy at all and perhaps lacks some facilities but a brand new corniche is being built along the seafront and we still managed to get some delicious grilled fish in a local restaurant.
Even if we did think the sauce for the fish was a spicy tomato soup which we drank with a spoon until we saw someone on the next table annointing their dinner with it in the correct manner. We stayed in one of Sur’s three hotels the Sur Plaza which was very nice and featured a delicious pea and cashew nut curry on their hotel menu for about £1.50! They also had some very interesting entertainment on in the Captain’s bar which contained all men apart from us. A Phillipino band called ‘Vital Strands’ belted out everything from Abba to Carly Rae Jepson. The two girls vocalists were wearing the  shortest mini skirts I have ever seen and were swinging their legs around with little hops and jumps displaying extraordinary stamina. I thought they would have been better called ‘Legs Akimbo’ myself…   Oman – Southern Nights and Souk shopping

Strands of what?
Goat at rest