Monday, September 24: Tonight, my friend Mario and I go up to Jebel Akhdar to see the pomegranates, now at their prime, and to have dinner at the Sahab Hotel. The last time we were here was in mid-June, in the heat of the summer, at which time the Green Mountain was a cool reprieve. Tonight is no different. The weather is breezy and perfect. The waning light of sunset makes for some lovely views.
We take a little walk through the village and the plantations, but we get shooed away by a lady when we try to wander into the pomegranate garden. This is the time when the pomegranates are ripe for picking, and Mario is especially excited about getting some good photos of ripe and juicy pomegranates. So, we are disappointed we can’t get up close. Later, as we wander closer to a pomegranate farm, we find someone is hurtling rocks in our direction. We’re afraid to proceed any further, but then we realize they are boys trying to knock something out of a tree, possibly a walnut tree. They are not really aiming at us (we don’t think!), but it just so happens the rocks are flying in our direction.
Oh well, the sun is going down anyway. So we wander back and drive to the Sahab Hotel. Once again, we have the entire place to ourselves and we pick a seat between the pool and the cliff overlooking the terraces. It’s cool and the sky is dramatic with clouds and sunrays and beautiful light.
We share some of a bottle of wine we brought ourselves (no wine is served as Sahab, but they do allow you to bring your own). We order some Arabic foul soup (delicious), some smoked salmon bruschetta and chicken skewer appetizers. We share an Italian salad. The soup is definitely the highlight of the meal.
Later, as we are driving down the mountain, we come to the police checkpoint. They wave me down and ask to see my license and mokia (registration). In all the times I have gone up Jebel Akhdar, I have NEVER been stopped on the way down, night or day. They ask me to park the car and get out. A very nice Omani man, not in uniform, tells me that when you approach a police or military checkpoint, you are supposed to dim your lights!! I had no idea of this. Now that I know this rule, I will certainly be more careful next time around!
To see more photos of our evening on Jebel Akhdar, I invite you to check out the slideshow.