Sunday, January 22: Today we get a slow start, as we’re recovering from our 9-hour drive from Salalah yesterday. All we plan for today is to go to Wadi Tanuf, the narrow gorge best known these days as the source of the popular Tanuf mineral water. The water is bottled from a spring here and sold nationwide.
We invite my good friend Christian to go along. He’s always lively and entertaining company.
We drive on the Nizwa-Bahla highway till we see a brown sign that says Wadi Tanuf and take a rough track into the gorge for 5 km, with increasingly sheer cliffs looming alongside us. We eventually get to Wadi Qashah and the village of Al Far, where we park the car and walk along the path and through the village. This little isolated village is fully inhabited by working Omanis living in small mud buildings. Colorful clothes are hung in the windows and dogs bark to scare us off. Several village folks direct us down the not-so-clear path down into the wadi.
Because of the huge boulders strewn all about, we start talking about the movie 127 Hours. That film is about real-life canyoneer Aron Ralston, who became trapped by a boulder in an isolated canyon in Utah in April 2003, and was eventually forced to amputate his own right arm in order to free himself. We keep saying, “You better watch out. You may have to amputate your leg, your arm, your head, etc.” Pretty goofy stuff.
Clambering over and under rocks is the order of the day, and we pose for lots of silly pictures and just enjoy the lush and dramatic setting and the lovely weather. Finally, we return to the car and on the way out of the wadi stop on a huge boulder for a picnic of hummus, pita bread, fruit and tabbouleh.
We return home, where the boys make lentils and rice for dinner and we all take nice long naps.