Thursday, November 22:  After lunch we head to the two abandoned villages of Wadi Bani Habib.  It is fall here and yellow leaves dangle from the walnut and apricot trees in the wadi.  Mario and I marvel: this is the first sign of fall we have seen in Oman.  Ever. Neither of us has been to the top of Jebel Akhdar in November, and we are pleasantly surprised by the cool, crisp autumn air and the sprinkles of gold on the trees.  The sun is low in the sky, so it paints a burnished light over the villages.  We walk down steps from the promontory, through the wadi, through one village, through the wadi again, and then into the other village. I’ve never seen this second village up close before.  We wander into a beautifully painted house, where we take pictures and Mohammed tells Mario, who is always a little devilish, that he is Mr. Innocent. We laugh and tease Mario.  Yes, Mr. Innocent.

Click on any of the pictures below for a full-sized slide show.

We have a hard time finding our way down the steep hill from the second village and through the wadi.   Mario keeps saying, as he leads the way, “I think” we walk this way, “I think” we go that way.  Mohammed tells him to stop thinking and tell us something for sure.

Mohammed is a real gentleman and keeps offering his hand to me as I gingerly step down some steep and gravely slopes.  It’s nice to have someone to keep an eye on me, as I have taken falls numerous times on steep, gravely slopes.

Finally, we make our way back up the steep stairs, panting and gasping for breath.  We’re exhausted, but, as Mohammed’s shirt says: “Victory.”  What a fantastic walk!  This is what life is about: friendship, laughs, fresh air, a shared experience of discovery & adventure, lovely surroundings.  Topped with a night of food and wine at the Sahab.  🙂