Wednesday, December 19:  Tonight I take my colleague Malcolm and his lovely wife Sandy, who has arrived from Britain for the holidays, to Jebel Akhdar.  We go up the mountain late in the afternoon, after work, and I show them Al Aqr, the village of the roses, and Wadi Bani Habib.  There is no time for walking before the sun sets, but it isn’t really our intention to walk.  They’ve never been to the top of the mountain, and I just want to give them a quick overview of my favorite places.

After our little drive, we head to the Sahab Hotel.  Being Brits, they have brought their bubbly to drink.  I have my bottle of red wine.  We take numerous pictures of the sunset, the mountains, the Sahab, the aloe vera and each other.  We shiver and shiver, and then, after having a drink or two, we stop noticing the cold.

Despite warming up slightly on our insides, we still opt to eat dinner inside, where it’s nice and cozy.  We talk about our grown children and what a challenge they can be sometimes.  Malcolm and I talk about our novels in progress.   We enjoy our smoked salmon and chicken kebab appetizers, along with Arabiatta and mushroom soup.  We eat our main courses; mine is less than stellar, but Sandy and Malcolm enjoy theirs.

I share some of my wine with a German couple sitting nearby and get into a long conversation with them.  There is a big piece of natural wood near their table and, stupidly, I trip over it and fall flat on my behind.  Fun times. 🙂

Later, we drive down the mountain, switching back and forth, curving down and down at precipitous angles.  We’re guided home by the lights of Birkat al Mouz and Nizwa below us, a sparkling toast to a lovely evening.