Monthly Archives: April 2013

Tut, Tut, looks like rain

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“The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house. All that cold, cold, wet day.”

So sayeth the cat in the hat.

Well, the rain continues to pour, lightening continues to strike and the thunder is a little disconcerting.

A brief respite from the deluge allowed for frivolity with the elements.

Singing.... and dancing....

Singing….
and dancing….

Then no sooner had it stopped, it started again. Enormous drops of rain falling straight down from dark, nefarious skies. Perfectly vertical rain hitting the flooded ground to create a sea of bubbles like a witches, boiling cauldron.

It seems so long ago that we had to constantly invent rainy day activities; now we are used to the sun shining and the scorching breeze of the desert. What on earth could we do to amuse ourselves whilst the land soaked itself in the glory of precipitation.

Why! We would do some shell painting…

Can you tell what it is yet?

Can you tell what it is yet?

Yup, a dolphin. Only kidding – a turtle?

Clue - coconut, palm or date?

Clue – coconut, palm or date?

Of course, some palm trees.

And finally…

It's art, but not as we know it!

It’s art, but not as we know it!

Abstract art, that is.

As to who did what – that’s not important but your guesses would probably be correct.

Suffice to say, a splendid afternoon, getting back to basics with paint and newspaper.

To finish off with, an arty picture of our flooded garden. No need to turn your head upside down – I’ve done it for you.

Reflections

Roll on Summer!!

Insha’Allah

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Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.

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Come to the Middle East they said, always hot and sunny they said…

and it rained and rained and rained...

and it rained and it rained and it rained…

Yet another dismal, wet day. The sky is dark and full of menace. During the night the lightening strikes repeatedly to create blinding flashes that burst through your bedroom curtains,  arousing you from the deepest of slumbers. Then there is the thunder…

wet weather warning!

wet weather warning!

There we are, right underneath that big, dark splodge of purple. The rain is lashing down, the roads are flooded and rainwater is leaking into our home.

We sit indoors watching the drips of rainwater form pools that slowly creep across the tiled flooring. The area becomes a slip hazard from hell and woe betide he who dares to venture that way.

Sometimes we sit on the verandah and marvel at the natural phenomenon, reminiscing about rainy days in England; welly-boots and pack-a-macs, umbrellas and plastic carrier bags hastily fashioned into rain hats. It is cool now, negative ions fill the air.

This weather is set to entertain us for the next seven days or so – a brief respite from the 40+ degree  heat of late.

happier weather

warmer times past

And it just gets better and better and better…

Insha’Allah

I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move

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Marhaba!

And  move we did. With some family ‘tourists’ in tow we managed to squeeze in just about everything that it took ourselves six months to do. However, there were one or two things that were new and exciting to us so, here we go…

Family and friends come to visit, not just to see us but also to experience the things they have read about on our blog. They too want to sample the delights of Oman, see some of the amazing countryside and get involved in some of the wacky activities such as night-time picnics, off-roading, dune-bashing, wadi drives, standing out in thunderstorms and eating what you would least expect.

desert adventure

desert adventure

In no particular order then, we stopped by the Sharqiyyah Desert for a taste of Middle Eastern adventure. In  order to protect the ‘milky-white’ tourists from the blistering rays of the sun, floppy hats and a parasol were hastily purchased for no more than the price of a pint. Three large sun-hats and a green umbrella – bargain!

Making camp

Making camp

We pitched our brolley in the middle of nowhere and waited for the desert sunset. Sure enough, the sun went down and the oohs and aahs went up – the sun sank beneath the horizon highlighting a mucky atmosphere that could only be pollution.

Big Hat!

Big Hats!

And down it went.

silhouettes

silhouettes

Without further ado we headed for the car as the light was fading fast and we still had to find our Bedouin tent. Camels sauntered past presenting themselves for the perfect Christmas card photo you’ll all be getting this year.

We three camels of Orient are...

We three camels of Orient are…

A mad dash up the last dune caused me to miss, and everyone else to marvel at, a camel spider as it dashed across the sand in front of us. I really, really wanted to see one of these arachnids as they are fairly famous in these parts but highly elusive (google  Camel Spider for yourselves). Disappointed at my loss, I entered  our tent for the night, brushing aside the hoard of mosquitoes and ignoring the distinct ‘wet dog’ sort of smell. Living in a woollen tent isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, it was insanely hot during the heat of the day – truly a wilting experience.

Step inside please...

Step inside please…

A traditional meal of mutton, chicken and rice was our prelude to bedtime, it had cooled considerably after sunset so, after a good dousing with Deet, we slept fitfully until the sunshine woke us and the birds screeched their morning chorus. The tourists, as is their want, dashed off to do some fidgeting on a ship of the desert and to flirt with the owners – I dread to imagine their want!

Easy boys, they're my kids up there.

Easy boys, they’re my kids up there.

Honestly, don’t they look just like gentry, gentle women travelling in foreign parts with a ton of luggage and and air of graciousness.

Big hats abroad!

That was pretty much our desert excursion and it was indeed a very genuine, ‘live in the desert’ sort of time – the temperature hit 36 degrees C ., the food was somewhat dodgy and the accommodation definitely suspect. Everyone had a good time before we left to negotiate the sand dunes back to the tarmac road.

After lots of sightseeing we headed for Wadi Bani Khalid which is the epitome of an Omani Wadi. Crystal clear waters running through sun bleached boulders with a waterfall here and there. Palm trees swaying gently and the sun beating it’s rays onto the back of our necks.

Wadi Bani Khaild

Wadi Bani Khaild

Wadi Bani Khalid

Wadi Bani Khalid

Two waterfalls!

Two waterfalls!

It really is idyllic and should you be so inclined, you can swim as far up the Wadi as the strength in your arms will take you. About  1km further up is a cave but we resolved to visit again when we had the correct footwear. It really is a matter of clambering over rocks and boulders to get where you need to go. We shall return…

Much else of what we did was going over old ground for us, immensely enjoyable, especially showing around some of the family. Our usual excursion to Salmah Plateau was made as well (check out the journey previously made on Youtube):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVwqirX5RKg

Unfortunately, heavy rains had caused much deterioration of the track both up the mountain and through the dry river bed on the  other side. A brave attempt to negotiate the dry river bed almost ended in disaster as the car slipped sideways, front end first, down a hole surrounded by nothing but loose pebbles. It doesn’t matter how much 4×4 action you can employ, loose pebbles offer no traction whatsoever. I wonder if our guests knew how close they were to spending several days and nights in a dry river gorge waiting for help to come. No mobile phone reception, nobody to call and nobody living close by made for one exciting last ditch attempt at a low ratio  reverse to freedom. It worked and I can certainly laugh about it now. We shall return there too…!

I guess that’s it. A good time was had by all. We crammed in as much as we possibly could and we hope our family visitors were not disappointed. If you’re out here next – boy-oh-boy do we have some shenanigans lined up for you.

 

Was that a camel?

Was that a camel?

‘Til we meet again,

Insha’Allah