Thursday, May 2: This week in Oman has been surreal. It’s been raining some part of every day for over a week now. In the entire 19 months I’ve lived here, I’ve never seen it rain this much or for this long a period of time. Many students didn’t show up for parts of last week. They were unable to get from their villages to Nizwa because of flooding wadis.
On top of the rain, we have been given a 3-day weekend this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Oman, as of May 1, is shifting its weekends from Thursday-Friday to Friday-Saturday. I understand this shift is happening in order to line up Oman’s weekends with the weekends observed by the other Gulf countries. After this weekend, we will have Friday and Saturday off each week.
Finally, since the weather has been hot, humid and threatening rain, since traveling is dangerous (people are often killed in Oman trying to cross flooding wadis), and since I sold my GMC Terrain and am now driving a tiny Suzuki Celerio, I cannot go out exploring wadis on this three-day weekend. On top of that, I’m trying to save every penny for my month-long trip to Spain and Portugal on my way home to the USA at the end of June. I consider going to Muscat this weekend to spend the day at a pool or the beach, but as rain clouds are still darkening the skies and money is in short supply, I decide against it.
So, what to do?
I decide to do some experimenting with my camera at Nizwa Fort and Souq. To reflect the dreary day that it is, I take photos with the sepia setting. Surprisingly, I find I like the atmospheric photos, which make the souq look like it’s in the middle of ancient Arabia, except for the modern-day cars.
When I arrive at the souq, I find the parking lot is slightly flooded. The air is heavy and damp, unlike Nizwa’s usually dry air. Cars are barreling through the flooded parking lot, and Omanis, Indians, Pakistanis & Bangladeshis are riding their bicycles through the water or rolling up their pants legs or pulling up their dishdashas to cross the water. I go into Nizwa Fort and climb to the top to take some photos of Nizwa mosque and the town. I walk through the souq and stop for a cold Lipton Peach-flavored iced tea.
Then, when I am thoroughly drenched in sweat, I return to my air-conditioned flat, where I put on my pajamas and hunker in for the day.
Yes, it’s a sepia kind of day in Nizwa.