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Tuesday, July 19:  I found a surprise message a couple of weeks ago from one of the most inspirational bloggers I know, Jo Bradley of restlessjo ~ roaming, at home and abroad.

Jo is an English lass who loves to travel and embrace life. She keeps a travel diary and holds a special place in her heart for Portugal. She provided a representative photo of her favorite country to display on the Picture the World Project: Portugal.

The Departure Board website has a great initiative to create a gallery of wonderful photos, one from each country in the world.  I am so honored to be nominated to provide a photo from my collection to represent Oman. Jo nominated me for my “wonderful depictions of life in Oman,” which was really kind of her!

Here is my number one choice of a photo to represent Oman.  In my eyes, Oman is most amazing for its dramatic landscapes of golden or brown rocky mountains punctuated by smatterings of green.  The rare areas of vegetation reveal a strong determination by a people, dealt a harsh climate, to make the most of scarce water resources.  When they have managed over the years to eek some water out of these dry mountains, extensive falaj systems, which they have painstakingly built throughout the country, carry the water to cultivate mangoes, pomegranates, grapes, lemons, walnuts, roses, indigo, sorghum, corn, apricots, onions, and dates.  It’s amazing to me what a country, which up until 1970 was living in a less than modern world, has done to survive and thrive.  This picture of the terraced plantations on Jebel Akhdar, otherwise known as “Green Mountain,” is one of the most beautiful places in Oman.  At over 2,000 meters, it retains a temperate climate even in the hottest months of summer, and its people have cut into these stone mountains to create terraces where they can bring forth life.  This, I have to say, is my favorite place in Oman.

the terraced plantations of Jebel Akdhar in Oman

It’s also my task to nominate two people to submit photos of another country.  I would like to nominate Donna on Palawan, who has lived on the island province of Palawan in the Philippines for 30 years.  She knows extensively its capital city of Puerto Princesa, Palawan.  I would also like to nominate 3rdculturechildren, a globetrotting family of 5 in the foreign service, for Brazil.

Thanks so much for the nomination, Jo!  What a great project… :-)