Friday, 8 March 2013

Wadi bani Khalid

I’ve said time and time again how beautiful Oman is. It's the first thing I say when someone asks about my time here. In the US, I never knew that there were places still like this. So natural and beautiful, but here it is. Wadi ban Khalid is just one of those places.

First off, to set off the image, I should explain what a wadi is. It’s a riverbed, valley, canyon. This is where a friend of mine and I went. It was much smaller than I would have expected compared to other wadis I’ve been too, but it was so beautiful. The water was this beautiful green blue. Going to places like this really put the image of what an oasis is, and it’s beautiful. This wadi is as touristy as it is small. It’s one of the most commercialized in Oman, which I guess isn’t saying too much. Not much here is very commercialized to begin with.

There were little gazebos (or kiosks) around the ground as well as a muqaha (coffee shop/café). Then beyond that there was a line to explore. We went and found a cave, which was an adventure in and of itself. Camila and I were just going to hike there by ourselves, but there was a guy there that joined us. He “worked” for the wadi, helping people to the cave. There were a few other ones there as well. We tried telling him that we didn’t have any money, but it didn’t really work. I felt so bad when at the end he waited for us to give him money and we didn’t have it. The cave was cool, though.

We went swimming after that, and that was interesting. There are two groups that come to the wadi. Omani men and European tourists. It’s quite the interesting mix. It also makes it difficult to swim. It’s awkward a bit when you mostly see a pool (natural between the rocks) filled with men in a conservative society. It kind of made me feel like I was breaking a rule. But then French men came with speedos so I started to feel a bit better J

Being here reminded me again of the importance of family. Around all of the gazebos, there were families sitting and even a large group of Omani women walking around. It was an area for spending time with one another. Very accessible. Very beautiful. 

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