June 15, 2010

Oman: Waddi Waddi Shab Shab

Tuesday morning we woke up bright and early, with coolers packed and music blaring, for our road trip to Wadi Shab. 

A Wadi, according to a certain Omani expert, is “a dried up river basin, existing in a desert type country among mountains that suffers from flash flooding during rainy season.” 

We drove South for about 2 hours, through mountains and desert plains and some picturesque Omani coastal villages.

First stop was a natural sink hole which the boys had discovered years ago. Since then its been (kind of) developed into a mini tourist attraction. (Basically they put a wall around it and built some steps- there was nothing else around for miles! So we climbed the 1,000,001 steps and had a quick dip in the bath tub warm water.

We cruised along the coastline until we came to a small village but I couldn’t really understand what we were doing here. That is, until we rounded a corner and drove into the former estuary! It looked like a scene out of Jurassic Park! A quick lunch later and we were in our swimsuits ready to go! Little did Ema and I know what we were in for…

“It’s a long walk!” the boys warned us…

Few words can describe what we saw for the next 3 hours as we climbed, swam, scrambled and crawled our way to the waterfall at the other end of the Wadi. Each corner revealed a totally different landscape, with the river water changing from shades of turquoise to emerald green. The Wadi had shifted and the original trekking path had been severely damaged by the recent cyclone so the trek was more difficult than usual. We were warned by a boy from the village that it was now dangerous to go trekking as the rocks were so unstable and the water was teeming with snakes and frogs! But, ofcourse, we continued on anyway!

Finally, we made it to the waterfall; exhausted, sunburnt and not without a few cuts and soon-to-be bruises. But it was so worth it! The waterfall was wild and rapid, the river swollen from the recent rains, and we had to cling to the rock walls to keep from being hurtled back. I’m pretty sure I felt snakes touching me every few minutes under the water but I chose to ignore it. Tom later told us that he saw one just before we went swimming to the waterfall but (thankfully) didn’t say anything! It didn’t help that the waterfall was in a dark, spooky cave with a veryyy narrow entrance!

The way back seemed much easier. By that time we were pros! 
I kept forgetting I had two left feet until it was too late and this resulted in some bruises in very odd places! There was a great feeling of accomplishment and we all went back to Muscat feeling exhausted but really happy. 
We slept like Bajans after a heavy Sunday lunch that night!

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