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Friday, May 17: This morning, a small group of us meets at Mario’s house in Izki at 6:30 a.m. for a day trip to Wekan, a small village perched on the side of a mountain at the end of Wadi Mistal in Al Batinah.

Anna and I drive in my turquoise Suzuki Celerio because I have to return it Budget Renta Car at the airport on our way back through Muscat.  I had a flat tire last week and found out from the person who helped change the tire that ALL the tires on the car are bad. Now I’m driving with no spare. Besides that, there is no crank for the jack.  I am returning it this afternoon for a different Suzuki.

Mario and Gavin drive in Gavin’s 4WD; he’s the one who will drive us off the beaten path through Wadi Mistal.  At the clocktower roundabout at Al Rusayl, I leave my car and we all get into Gavin’s car for the rest of the drive.

When we arrive at the entrance to Wadi Mistal, we are pleasantly surprised to find 18km of the paved road into the wadi is now complete.  We only have to drive an additional 12 km on a dirt track.  That makes for a smoother and more pleasant drive.

When we arrive, Gavin brings out a plastic container of muffins to fortify us for our hike through the gardens of Wekan.  It’s quite hot today, about 106 degrees Fahrenheit, but up on this mountain, we find it’s a wee bit cooler, thank heavens.

the view of Wadi Mistal from the village of Wekan

the view of Wadi Mistal from the village of Wekan

shadow play in a building near the entrance of Wekan that looks like it was once a ticket booth

shadow play in a building near the entrance of Wekan that looks like it was once a ticket booth

the watchtower at the entrance to Wekan

the watchtower at the entrance to Wekan

Heed the sign!

Heed the sign!

Wekan is quite an exciting village for those of us living in Oman because it is one of the few places with a lot of green.  Our first sighting is of some green ornamental grasses.  We don’t see too many grasses in this country.

some pretty grasses near the entrance to Wekan

some pretty grasses near the entrance to Wekan

the field of onions that seems to have been harvested already

the field of onions that seems to have been harvested already

a budding pomegranate

a budding pomegranate

We come across some Bangladeshi boys who have picked a bunch of apricots and Mario shells out a couple of Omani rials to buy a bag of them.  We all enjoy the snack of fresh fruit right off the trees.

a collection of apricots

a collection of apricots

It seems the whole mountainside is lush with grapevines.

trellises of grapevines

trellises of grapevines

figs

figs

beautiful red and yellow leaves from the grapevines

beautiful red and yellow leaves from the grapevines

a makeshift fence

a makeshift fence

another pomegranate

another pomegranate

the fuzzy bush in the foreground is an asparagus plant.  I never knew asparagus looked like this!

the fuzzy bush in the foreground is an asparagus plant. I never knew asparagus looked like this!

I’m especially captivated by the smattering of red and yellow leaves on the grapevines.  As I haven’t experienced autumn in two years, I feel compelled to capture them in a photo so I can look at them and dream of being back in the USA this fall for my favorite season.

red and yellow grapevine leaves

red and yellow grapevine leaves

I love the colors of this leaf

I love the colors of this leaf

I love this delicate little weed

I love this delicate little weed

looking across the wadi to the mountains on the other side

looking across the wadi to the mountains on the other side

Looking down on Wekan from the gardens above

Looking down on Wekan from the gardens above

some harvested Omani garlic.  We can really smell it!

some harvested Omani garlic. We can really smell it!

view of Wekan from above

view of Wekan from above

another view of Wekan

another view of Wekan

going up the Persian steps in Wekan

going up the Persian steps in Wekan

Gavin, Anna and Mario

Gavin, Anna and Mario

grapes, not quite ready for harvest

grapes, not quite ready for harvest

figs

figs

more grapes

more grapes

grapevines on trellises

grapevines on trellises

more grapes

more grapes

date palm and the Western Hajar Mountains

date palm and the Western Hajar Mountains

more tiny grapes

more tiny grapes

another interesting weed

another interesting weed

partly shaded Persian steps alongside the pomegranates

partly shaded Persian steps alongside the pomegranates

shaded steps and the falaj alongside

shaded steps and the falaj beside them

date palms and the mountains above

date palms and the mountains above

the falaj and the Persian steps

the falaj and the Persian steps

more of the Persian steps

more of the Persian steps

Wekan

Wekan

a picture of an Arabian Oryx drawn on a wall

a picture of an Arabian Oryx drawn on a wall

a pretty onion, according to Mario

a pretty onion, according to Mario

I always feel like a walk through Wekan is like experiencing a bit of paradise.  With the running water in the falaj humming a soothing tune and the slight, though warm, breezes on the mountain, it’s a little escape from the miserable heat down below.

As it takes about 3 hours to get to Wekan from Nizwa, I don’t think I will be returning to Wekan again before I leave Oman.

Fare thee well, Wekan!  You’ve given me many happy memories. 🙂

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