Thursday, January 3:  This morning, the beginning of our first weekend together in Oman, we pack up the car with warm sweaters and jackets for the desert, a cooler full of drinks, and bathing suits for swimming in the wadis.  Then we head down the road toward Ibra, where, just last weekend, Mario and I explored the ruins of Al Munisifeh in Ibra.  I figure these are the best ruins in Oman, so if my boys aren’t impressed, they won’t be impressed by any of the country’s ruins.  On the road, we come up behind a pick-up truck with a couple of camels taking a leisurely ride.

cruising camels

cruising camels

On our way, we stop in an aptly named “Restaurant,” where we drink sweet coffee out of red paper cups that say: OMAN CUP: Drive carefully as your family waiting you.

Having coffee in the Restaurant.

Mike and Alex having coffee in the Restaurant.

We walk around the ruins in quite a hurry, and I can see they’re not bowled over.  They’re more interested in proceeding to Wadi Bani Khalid and jumping off cliffs into pools.  I’m a little disappointed that they’re not as enthusiastic as I am about this once-wealthy village on the ancient Muscat-Sur-Zanzibar trade route.  While last weekend Mario and I spent 2-3 hours exploring the village, the boys want to zoom through in less than an hour.  Oh well; I guess not everyone is as fascinated by ruins as I am.

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

Adam does handstands, Alex and Mike climb up stairs leading to nowhere, and the pigeons in the rafters, who startled us frequently last weekend, are relatively quiet.  They must be napping.  We poke around in nooks and crannies until we come to the souq ruins, where two brittle dead trees are burning slowly.  Adam walks across the ashes to inspect the fires.  Suddenly he yelps and leaps out of the fire zone.  He jerks his shoes off as he hops up and down, quite a feat really.  “My shoes are on fire! Ouch!!!” Luckily his shoes are not on fire, but they’re extremely hot from walking on burning coals and ashes.

Yes, those pools in the wadis are looking mighty inviting indeed.

In Ibra, we stop at another ”Restaurant & Coffee Shop,” where we have omelets and vegetable biryani and banana juice drinks. I buy a fuzzy blanket at a shop next door, remembering how cold I was all night at Camp Al Areesh last January.  Then we’re on our way to Wadi Bani Khalid.