October 22, 2013

Sitting on Top of the World





That's how it seemed in my mind when I went to the top of Jebel Akhdar.

A friend from my building called me up a couple weeks ago and asked if I was interested in going camping in Oman.

I love Oman and the prospect of camping, something I had never done before seemed really exciting.
Readily, I accepted the invite.With a 9 day holiday and no other plans, I figured it would be a good way to spend my time.

So last Tuesday I loaded up my borrowed camping gear and hopped into a 4-wheel driver we'd rented and set out for the mountains of Oman.
We arrived late that night and set up camp.
It was my first time camping and the setting couldn't have been more perfect. Being surrounded by the mountains and sleeping under a sky blanketed by stars was blissful.

For the two days we were there, we did a lot of hiking into the mountains to visit old ruins of Omani villages and to see the landscape. It was hard but well worth the hours spent making the climb. The view is spectacular and is actually the highest point in all of eastern Arabia.

Our guide knew all the best spots and even took us to a swimming hole deep into the mountains.

One of the villages we hiked to. 
Making our way back from a remote village carved out in the mountains.

One night our guide summoned us on a secret rendezvous. I had the opportunity to witness an Omani drumming circle. It was a group of men who had gotten together to dance and play the drums.
It was a local tradition for the men to do this either in times of celebration or war. This time it was for the celebration of the Muslim Eid holiday.

It was really special for us as foreigners to share the experience with them. Definitely something I will never forget.
Part of the drumming circle

My only challenge on the trip was the lack of bathrooms. Oy vey, I struggled with "going" outside. But when nature calls, trust me you have no choice but to answer.
After the second day I was over my issues and it became second nature. Lol. My friends still can't believe I survived. I guess I'm not as prissy as they thought.

Let me just tell you, if you have never heard of or been to Oman, you seriously need to look into visiting. It is a really awesome country with a rich history. It's just a few hours ride from Abu Dhabi but the contrast between the two countries is incredible. It rains in Oman and there are places (Salahla) where there is amazing greenery and even snow.
The mountains that surround the city of Muscat where I spent part of my December 2012 break will take your breath away as they did mine.

The people are friendly and down to earth. They will stop their car without hesitation if they see that you are in need of help. We experienced this selflessness on two occasions when members o our convoy experienced car issues.

Fixed the blown out tire. Time to get moving again.

The nice guy who stopped to help

So that is my little PSA for Oman. Go visit if you ever get the chance. It is totally worth it.







I climbed to this place, seems impossible right?


I had a blast and I think I've been bitten by the camping bug. There is another trip coming up in November. Hopefully I will be able to make it, this one's in the sand dunes of Liwa. Should make an awesome venue for photos.
More pics to come!


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