Friday, May 17: This morning, a small group of us meets at Mario’s house in Izki at 6:30 a.m. for a day trip to Wekan, a small village perched on the side of a mountain at the end of Wadi Mistal in Al Batinah.
Anna and I drive in my turquoise Suzuki Celerio because I have to return it Budget Renta Car at the airport on our way back through Muscat. I had a flat tire last week and found out from the person who helped change the tire that ALL the tires on the car are bad. Now I’m driving with no spare. Besides that, there is no crank for the jack. I am returning it this afternoon for a different Suzuki.
Mario and Gavin drive in Gavin’s 4WD; he’s the one who will drive us off the beaten path through Wadi Mistal. At the clocktower roundabout at Al Rusayl, I leave my car and we all get into Gavin’s car for the rest of the drive.
When we arrive at the entrance to Wadi Mistal, we are pleasantly surprised to find 18km of the paved road into the wadi is now complete. We only have to drive an additional 12 km on a dirt track. That makes for a smoother and more pleasant drive.
When we arrive, Gavin brings out a plastic container of muffins to fortify us for our hike through the gardens of Wekan. It’s quite hot today, about 106 degrees Fahrenheit, but up on this mountain, we find it’s a wee bit cooler, thank heavens.
the view of Wadi Mistal from the village of Wekan
shadow play in a building near the entrance of Wekan that looks like it was once a ticket booth
the watchtower at the entrance to Wekan
Heed the sign!
Wekan is quite an exciting village for those of us living in Oman because it is one of the few places with a lot of green. Our first sighting is of some green ornamental grasses. We don’t see too many grasses in this country.
some pretty grasses near the entrance to Wekan
the field of onions that seems to have been harvested already
a budding pomegranate
We come across some Bangladeshi boys who have picked a bunch of apricots and Mario shells out a couple of Omani rials to buy a bag of them. We all enjoy the snack of fresh fruit right off the trees.
a collection of apricots
It seems the whole mountainside is lush with grapevines.
trellises of grapevines
beautiful red and yellow leaves from the grapevines
a makeshift fence
the fuzzy bush in the foreground is an asparagus plant. I never knew asparagus looked like this!
I’m especially captivated by the smattering of red and yellow leaves on the grapevines. As I haven’t experienced autumn in two years, I feel compelled to capture them in a photo so I can look at them and dream of being back in the USA this fall for my favorite season.
red and yellow grapevine leaves
I love the colors of this leaf
I love this delicate little weed
looking across the wadi to the mountains on the other side
Looking down on Wekan from the gardens above
some harvested Omani garlic. We can really smell it!
view of Wekan from above
another view of Wekan
going up the Persian steps in Wekan
Gavin, Anna and Mario
grapes, not quite ready for harvest
grapevines on trellises
date palm and the Western Hajar Mountains
more tiny grapes
another interesting weed
partly shaded Persian steps alongside the pomegranates
shaded steps and the falaj beside them
date palms and the mountains above
the falaj and the Persian steps
more of the Persian steps
a picture of an Arabian Oryx drawn on a wall
a pretty onion, according to Mario
I always feel like a walk through Wekan is like experiencing a bit of paradise. With the running water in the falaj humming a soothing tune and the slight, though warm, breezes on the mountain, it’s a little escape from the miserable heat down below.
As it takes about 3 hours to get to Wekan from Nizwa, I don’t think I will be returning to Wekan again before I leave Oman.
Fare thee well, Wekan! You’ve given me many happy memories.