Sunday, February 10, 2013

MY OWN PHOTOs+DAILY DIARY: Wadi Shab day-trip

All photos, unless otherwise credited, are my own.
There is something magical about the light in Wadi Shab. If you haven't been to this quiet little As Sharqiyah region wadi that is just a little more [or short, depending which crazy you're driving with] 2 hours outside of Muscat, then you haven't really seen Oman, and that is just my humble opinion. This is the cutest little desert oasis, and cutest little fishing village on the map that one doesn't need to go for an entire weekend with canteens and a 4x4 to see. Though you should park at the top of the road if you have a low-rider, am just saying, and THEN walk down to the wadi, unlike some idiots I used to know who got us stranded here;). Not such a bad thing though, to be stranded in paradise.

The drive itself down the coat is pretty beautiful. We went this route via the Al Amerat road to Qurayat, passed Qurayat, and passed the first couple of signs that said "Wadi Shab" and waited until we got to the sign that said "Wadi Tiwi" and went left passing under the highway, where we came to 2 signs, one for Wadi Tiwi and one for Wadi Shab. We went right, even though some really helpful people seemed to want to guide us to Wadi Tiwi. There's a lot of things to see on this route. Wadi Tiwi, Fins Beach, the Sinkhole, yada, yada. Been there, done that, but there's just something about Wadi Shab that reminds me of Wadi Bani Khalid before the ministry of Tourism ruined it. Sorry, just another one of my opinions. Wadi people don't care about picnics. Yeah, they like bathrooms that function that aren't hole-in-the-grounders, and they love when 4x4s aren't always required, but they don't like ugly man-madeconcrete monstrousities obscuring the natural splendour. Sorry. Wadi people are nature people.
 The village itself that you drive through to get to the wadi is actually one of the most charming villages on the coast. Alot of the women still wear the regional Omani traditional dress and not the black abaya, and alot of the homes have kept their older traditional wood carved doors. If you are an Omani-door photographer then this is village for you. I especially love the pirate's house with its black door  [that I didn't photograph despite the fact that I am insisting on talking about it] [and I didn't ask the locals the EXACT story behind why it is called the pirate's house so if any one reading this blog is from here, let me know if this "Pirate's House" is a nickname entirely made up by tour guides or what not]. Otherwise, goat's abound,  and there is the convenience of a coffee shop and grocery store are just on top of the road next to a Barber's shop before driving down the very steep descent to the wadi itself.
I especially ADOOOOOORED all of the older-style homes perched precariously off of the sea cliffs. If I hadn't been so excited to show my 1 year old the wadi [yes, that's right people, I am raising her to be Omani AND wadi-people] then I would have had more photos to show you. Sadly, I was far too excited [and high on caffiene induced by a Red Bull binge that only former-OPNO girls would understand, having accompanied me for last minute Sharqiyah trips in the past]. [Dear LB, I sorely tried to photograph my Red Bull can on the dashboard along with the Qurayat sign in loving memory of our craziness but alas, I was also trying to download a Dixie Chick's song for absolutely no reason and I kept missing the signs switching back and forth from the download-to-camera functions].
 Down at the base of the wadi [which is under a bridge currently graffitied lovingly to a former non-Arab millitary personality...]
...There is a charming little watchtower above, tourism-built bathrooms I always avoid because the women's side is always painfully baaaaaaaaaaad for tourists, and boats that cost around .800 baiza to take one across to the other side. I recommend you plurge the whole .800 baiza on this. It's worth it;).
There were no lifejackets for my 1 year old which was the only thing that freaked me out. But it was worth it to get to the other side because the grass really WAS greener over there;).
It is here that the spell of Wadi Shab descended on both my husband and my baby. Both started wandering around in the sunlight and shadows, chasing sunbeams like they were chasing pixies or faires or something near that astounding aquamarine body of water.
 Looks like paradise right? Nothing but palm trees, sand, and cool water.
 Every minute or so the light changes in Wadi Shab. I don't know if it the exact angle of the hills, or all the greenery, but it is something special worth driving 2 hours for. Magical. That's the only way to properly decribe Wadi Shab.
Walking up the wadi a short distance (carrying a 1 year old that kept screaming the Arabic word for 'water' and attempting to dive into any mass or puddle of water she could possibly ascertain) we found another set of small pools, clear and clean and lovely.
Being partially Omani, as you all know, we also stopped for a picnic. Being also partially Canadian, and my Omani husband would add, practicing Muslims, I am proud to say we carried our rubbish out with us.
It was pretty quiet except for two Omani families [picnicing of course] and a group of very blonde tourists with very expensive cameras who also seemed to be pretty enchanted by the setting their found themselves in.
We then bid Wadi Shab a fond farewell, and determined it would, inshaAllah, not be our last visit.
 Goodbye goats of Wadi Shab! And below, the road back to Muscat...
LOL, LB, it's my friend's the "Jinn" donkies, looooolx100!!!!


Boxie said...

That was a good read. Haahhah the donkeys.

Crazy in Kuwait said...

Love the pics, I will definitely have to visit Oman again, I loved it! We took a trip from Dubai to the first city after UAE, sorry I forgot what the name was but the sea and the mountains are crazy beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. It really does look like paradise. Just seeing the pics makes me feel calm and at peace. Wow.

Layla said...

Such a beautiful place!