Thursday, November 7, 2013

Road-trip in Rustaq: Wadi Al Hinai

Over Eid we went on a last-minute camping trip in Rustaq. We had meant to go to a wadi we'd gone to before but the water had gone, so we drove up a mountain road following Wadi Al Hinai and we discovered this isolated little Omani village set in the wadi, with a falaj and frogs, and even Eid traditional songs and dances. When we first set our eyes on the scene it looked like an old crumbling castle on a lake.
 The frogs were endlessly amusing. I woke up with one on my head, after we'd just joked about about waking up with camel spiders after camping under the stars in Petra, Jordan, but hey.
We explored the old village where many doors, windows, and cooking utensils were left intact. I also met with a cave of bats in one old room. Later that night the drums of the village traditional Eid songs kept us awake, and in the morning, in typical Omani hospitality, Saleh forced us to come for qahwa (Omani coffee) in his home. When we'd refused he sent his wife, and she left us no other choice;). They were complete strangers to us, but turns out Oman is small, they know one of my brother-in-laws. They were adorable, very traditional Omanis, not used to a lot of travellers or tourists to their village. The women carried grass on their heads and washed clothes in the river and they couldn't for the life of them understand why anyone would choose to sleep in a wadi, and kindly Saleh told my husband if he had known he would have offered us his majlis. This is Oman I have missed. We left the village with a bag of pistachios and toffees +eidiyia money for the kid. I know when one thinks of Rustaq, they do not think of wadis. Even though I've swum here in beautiful rivers, I don't. I think of the people we met and frogs singing under the stars.