Thursday 9 April 2009

Oman goes to Wadi Shab

Recent cumulative lack of sleep was not improved by the sound of a fox snuffling in the camp, donkey rumpy-pumpy at 2.30am and a group of locals that needed to shout to each other before sunrise. The moon was also too bright.

I did not have the heart to wake Gail who wanted to be up early to get the good photographic light, nor did I want to be the subject of verbal abuse from April who had expressed similar desires I feel she did not really mean. During breakfast, the smooth surface of the sea sparkled with reflections of the strong morning sun broken only by the occasional head of a turtle as we warmed croissants over the remnants of the morning fire. It was quite idyllic.

As the heat of the morning increased, we packed the camp and headed for Wadi Shab. Driving down the steep section of old road into the wadi, (in addition to an area of red tide in the sea) we noticed a huge number of cars brought, no doubt, by the new road which cuts across the mouth of the wadi like an ugly scar. The recent rain turned the area under the bridge into a mud bath and we had to wade into the first section of the wadi past groups of picnickers that wanted to stay dry.
The plants and trees were a luscious green after the rain and the pools flowed with fast-running clear water. Groups of boys clung to every available space on the rocks around fires and barbeques to cremate lumps of meat and fish inside parcels of foil.

There was almost a holiday atmosphere among the people as we clambered over rocks and the fast-flowing falages. Mrs M took April to the cave while I discussed the joys of living in Oman with a not-so-local on a day out from Al Hail.

In the late afternoon we walked back in the shadows past the same groups that were showing less enthusiasm than earlier in the day. I walked on to get the car to eliminate one mud treatment for the ladies who were soon enjoying well-earned sandwiches in air-conditioned comfort.

I managed to stay awake on the drive home by inducing hyperglycemia with chocolate and sweet drinks.

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