Thursday, May 10: This morning my friend Tom and I get an early start to explore the ruins and plantations at Birkat al Mouz. Birkat al Mouz, in Arabic, means “Pool of Bananas,” and bananas are in fact grown in this lush oasis, along with date palms galore.
We go mainly to explore Old Birkat, just east of the town center, an abandoned village with ruined mudbrick houses stacked in a hodge-podge up a steep hillside. There are actually what appear to be two towns separated by a small distance. We start up the pathway to the less famous village, climbing over rocks and fallen debris to make our way up the hill. When we get near the top, we can see plantations of date palms spread out over the horizon. A small watchtower on a rocky hilltop keeps guard over the village.
In one of the old houses, we find some cool paintings of date palms.
We wonder about the electric wires strung out over the village; they don’t seem to be connected to anything and the village has been abandoned for quite some time.
At one point, from the top of the first village, we can see the other village perched on a neighboring hillside.
We climb back down through the village, looking into rooms where the roofs have caved in. Several times we walk on the top of buildings, a little worried that the roofs might cave in under our feet. Tom says that will be something to write about in my blog, when I break my leg and he bursts out laughing. I say, Or vice versa!! 🙂
After a walk through the lush green gardens, we head to the other small village. We run into a Pakistani man pushing a wheelbarrow full of plants from the garden. I’m not sure if they are weeds or edible plants, but I feel they must be edible because of the care he’s taken with them.
We climb up to the second village, where the views are amazing, just as they were in the first village.