After a long absence, I want to get back to my story.
A word of explanation first: Since returning from Oman I have been in school, having started a Master of Arts program in Middle Eastern Studies. So much has changed in the 30 years since I last darkened the doors of a school room.
When I was finishing up my doctorate, I had been the very first person ever in our department to take my comprehensive exams on a computer, and that “personal computer” measured about 40″x40″x40″ – I think it was called a Data I Word Processor. It was about the size of a clothes washer but shorter. I was so proud then to be at the forefront of technology.
Now absolutely everything is done on the computer – everything darn conceivable thing! Thankfully, on my first day of struggling with technology, I was surrounded by a sea of computer experts who had been whipping computers into submission since they were in diapers – literally. My arabic class sounded benign enough, but on that first day of class we sat at computers and were told to take a moment to sign into D2L. It went down hill from there and would have been a disaster but for the computer wizard sitting next to me that offered guidance at strategic points.
I had started school a couple of days late. This already was stressful; my habit had always been to have read ALL my textbooks before classes had even begun. I hate being behind. Two days before, I think, I had left Oman, flown to Tucson where I spent the night in the hotel – it was after midnight and I didn’t want to drive all the way up in the mountains only to return again early the next morning. When I went to class the next morning, I was weary and thoroughly jet lagged. That was Friday – classes had started on Wednesday.
It was two weeks before I got past the time-zone sluggishness and that weary-to-the-bone, post-vacation exhaustion. Then, it was another two weeks before I felt I had caught up with classes, and only today, a month and a half later, that I felt I could take a little time to again return to the story of our trip to Oman.
Regrettably, with the passage of so much time, I know I will have forgotten much of the detail that made the trip so rich. Using photos, I’ll try to recover as much as possible. I left the story up in the Jebel Shams at a remote mountain camp where we would be spending two nights.
That day we had visited Nakhal Fort and I had taken an unplanned plunge in Ain a’Thawwarah hot springs. We had taken an awesome drive up the Wadi Bani Auf. We had driven past terraced villages, the entrance to Snake Gorge, and through ancient villages, such as Balad Seet. Existence in these mountain villages was made possible only by the little mountain springs in the cliffs above that provided drinking water and enough extra for farm animals and their marvelous date palms.
With the increasingly high winds and dropping temperatures, we were so very happy to have our solid, stone cabin with a space heater in addition to central heating. Sunset had been glorious, with glowing skies swathing the undulating mountains in warm colors. We had enjoyed dinner with our guide, who had entertained us with amusing stories of his two wives. I hung out my wet clothes from my plunge in the wadi pool and thankfully covered myself even over the top of my head.
The next morning we were to visit the village of Al Hamra.