Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My Own Photos: Wadi Bani Habib in Jebel Akdhar

So the weekend's goal was to see the Saiq Plateau in Wadi Ayn, Jebel Akdhar, as well as the abandoned old village of Wadi Bani Habib and enjoy some hiking in a cooler environment.
After a wonderful shortcut turned a 40 minute journey into a 2 hour one!!!! We went straight to Wadi Bani Habib, planning to go to the Wadi Ayn later. We did happen to see this particular hilltop terraced with pomegranites though...
And the engine of this British plane that was shot down by local rifles during the Jebel Akdhar war (when Sultan Taimur took over the Interior of Oman). The grave of the pilot is the stone mound behind.

So we parked at the top and began the walk down the many steps to old Wadi Bani Habib. If you aren't recently fit it probably isn't the best spot for you to visit. Though the speed of the local women in their 80s up and down from the wadi to the parking and about was amazing mashaAllah! so I guess we have no excuses, huh?
Going down the steps we found a "boot" berry tree, berries pictured below it were on sale from a local Bani Habib boy in the parking lot. They taste like sweeter blueberries and I find them great in muffins. But unlike blueberries, they have to be pitted.
"Boot" berry tree
We didn't pack light. We couldn't find our picnic mat so we were hauling a whole Persian carpet+baby+diaper bag+cooler with picnic food inside. Which, I don't recommend. It was nice, but if I had to do again, I'd say find a shaded spot along the steps down, eat your picnic and then pack the stuff away back in the car. Then pursue Wadi Bani Habib. A bunch of tourists from PDO passed us on our Persian carpet and I am sure it all looked so luxe, the local family Omani there picnicing in such style, lol, but they sure didn't envy us hauling all that up the hillside and trying to manouver around the ruins of Wadi Bani Habib, that's FOR SURE.

Reaching the bottom of the wadi looking up at Wadi bani Habib:
The opposite side that we came down from:
We climbed up this side {the village side} and had our picnic:
Under the shade of this walnut tree:
Then we started the ascent to the first part of the old abandoned village:
Pomegranite blooms aplenty
Weird random plant. Anybody know what it is?
Now, I wrongly let the original Omani of the party convince me there was nothing to see on this side but ruins. I should have explored more because I know there was way more to see on this side than the other part of the village I did:)
Don't eat the fruit of this plant, by the way. One piece will make you hullucinate. Three will PROBABLY kill you.
I should have gone up FURTHER!
So this was where we planned to go next, after we stored all our picnic and baby supplies (except baby) away:
A local Omani man farming the terrace or maintaining the falaj??? told us that we had to go back down from the first part of the village and hike further up the wadi and then go up to get to the second part of Wadi bani Habib. So this is the way that we went:
Climbing up, we got a nice veiw of the first part of the village we'd just come from (and neglected to really explore):
The temperature was just splendid for a hike, and we could hear the waterfall/gushing spring of the swimming pool on the other side of the gorge from us:
That little white line above the box is the swimming pool [didn't photgraph well from the distance we were at].
Finally, we reached the village, which were in majority, one storey houses composed of stone. Most of them were in bad repair with only one room left standing.
Also, since many of the houses collapsed there was no maintained path so it was going up and then coming down and getting lost to try and see all there was to see:)
Date palm, wild, emerging from the ruins.
This house still had its original door and window grilles left.
This was really the find/highlight of the village, the minhab of the old Mosque:
Ceramics and glass plates fitted into the wall decorate the minhab of this Mosque in Wadi Bani Habib.
Veiws of the other part of Wadi Bani Habib from the Masjid/Mosque
Below, different houses in the village that had survived:
What would have been a poorer family's home
I liked the painted upper walls of this house.
And the coffee pots alongside the windows
Though the plant on table makes me think it was no Michealangelo doing the painting of the ceilings;P
Navy blue and white walls.
Green and blue walls.
I got lost from everyone else somewhere around here. I was taking too long taking pictures.
I think I like this photo the best after the Mosque one, since the pomegranite and old house are together. Very evocative of the place.
I went up to far from my group. They were down. we found eachother by yelling. And I slid down some rocks on my abaya. The paths here are pretty bad and covered in rocks and thorn bush as wearing a more sturdy sandal and not wearing a dress/abaya that trails two inches on the ground like I did would be a good idea.
 But thankfully I found them! Right through this tunnel;)
But I had to stop for just one more photo. The green paint of this door with its green "carpet of another kind" made me feel like I was in some Irish fairytale for one moment before we headed back down to the wadi below.
Berries you CAN eat but whose name I forget on the wadi bed.
So after all those stairs, and wishing for water, it was asked, water or saiq Plateau. I chose water so alas that is the end of the photos.