Saturday 22 July 2006

Oman: Jabal Akhdar

Two days of official ‘Renaissance Days’ holidays provided the ideal time for a trip to Jabal Akhdar with the Darlingtons. The checkpoint at the foot of the Jabal allows only 4WD cars and provides information on careful driving on this notorious road. A few minutes later we found out why as we drove around an horrific accident in which three people were killed. We reached the Jabal Akhdar hotel, freshened and headed off to explore.

First stop was Diana’s Point where Princess Diana allegedly stood in 1980-something to admire the stunning view while shedding a tear for the obliging press. Second stop was the site of a crashed RAF Venom bomber. The plane suffered mechanical failure in 1957 or 58 during the Jabal Akhdar War. Pieces of the wreckage can still be seen and the pilot is reputed to have been buried next to the aircraft. Finally we headed to Bani Habib for a short walk down to the wadi. A very short refreshing rain shower felt wonderful after months of heat and humidity in Muscat.

In the evening we drove to Jabal Bani Rais for a sunset barbecue. An enormously satisfying fire shed light on the cooking while blobs of plastic dripped from the overheating picnic table. After clambering back to the cars in pitch darkness, we attempted to stay awake in the hotel room playing parlour games.

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