Thursday, 12 March 2009


Today's word over at HSMSHS is "drink" which is perfect for the next instalment of my holiday pictures as it is the day we spent at Sefeer Beach.

Feb 16th 2009

I couldn't believe it when we got to the beach and saw this it couldn't have been more perfect. We had gorgeous blue skies, blue sea and a stunning beach.

For the boys we had rock pools to investigate.

This little guy made Pete jump out of his skin and squeal like a girl.

I spotted this dead fish when we were beach combing.

and then accidentally kicked this poor little puffer fish as I was walking past. I say little but he was rather on the large size as you can see by my footprint below him.

After a lot or searching we eventually found an empty spot to set up ready for our picnic

ready for the locals to drop by for a spot of lunch.

Whilst sitting we saw this.

After lunch it was time for a little walk along the coast where all the shells seemed to move.

Just to show that we did put him back and no wildlife was harmed in the making of this blog

The beach was littered with coral.

We clambered over some rocks at the far end of the beach and came across this

The boys did a lot of this

and Pete did a lot of pebble searching

and throwing. I will add here that it was hot he just doesn't strip off due to the fact he burns easily and with the immuno-suppressants he is on he has to be extra, extra careful in the sun.

These are the only other people we saw all day

The journey home was equally as spectacular

A couple of days later I read the local paper and there was an article in it about Sefeer Beach. Unfortunately it has been earmarked for development and in the very near future 4 hotels, a golf course, some residential flats and many other things will be springing up along that beautiful beach it really is a crime.
It went on to say that they need to get it right unlike Dubai. Apparently Dubai has grown so quickly that the infrastructure is not sufficient. Sewerage over there is collected and transported to the sewerage works via tankers. Oman has green, yellow and blue tankers for fresh water, used water and sewerage. In Dubai the amount of sewerage has grown but not the works so the tanker drivers, instead of queueing in large queues, have been piping it out to sea to save time. Consiquently the waters around Dubai are now contaminated and will remain so for many, many months to come. They are now looking in to starting a flag scheme for their beaches similar to the one we have over here.

Monday, 9 March 2009


Be warned this is a very photo heavy post mainly due to the fact that I couldn't choose between them and the day I am blogging about was fantastic. And of course the pictures tie in with today's word of "Travel" and yesterdays word of "consume" over on HSMSHS.

Feb 15th 2009

At 7.30am we were sat in Roberts car at a petrol station while it was being filled up with petrol, no self service here you understand a little man sits on his chair waiting to fill you up even at the Shell garages. The grand total for a huge 7 seater 4x4 filled from empty? An amazing £16, unbelievable.
I will mention at this point, seeing as I am on the subject of cars, that while we were over in Oman Robert cleaned his car no less than 3 times. The reason for this is that it is actually illegal to have a dirty car, it was during the journey I am blogging about that, Robert told us that a friend of his had been pulled over by the police and fined for having a dirty car!!!

Our first stop was at this abandoned village called Birket Almuz.

This house is still lived in.

We climbed up through the village in the heat.

Until we reached the top and found a falage. The breeze block building over the falage in the distance is a bathroom that is still used daily!

I mentioned before about the lack of health and safety. See the roof? We were walking on that.

But the views were more than worth the risk.

We spent about an hour at the village wondering around before we carried on up the mountains to Nizwa. Where this amused me.

The shop signs are all very obvious we saw "Sale of Chickens", "Repair of Car Batteries", Fauq Money Shop" and many more.
It wasn't only the shop names that amazed us. This bridge is being repaired after the typhoon that hit in 2007. Amazingly enough the car park we were in, the road, in fact everything you see is on a Wadi bed and is devastated when it rains. I just find it very strange that they still just rebuild everything back where it was.

Our next very brief stop was to take pictures of another abandoned village with a working plantation next to it.

Further up the Jabals we needed to stretch our legs, amongst other things. So we stopped in the middle of nowhere and to our amazement found a football pitch. That light patch on the left of the picture about half way up, it has goal posts and everything. No sign of a village or anything!

Pete very kindly took a picture of me trying to find a bush. I can tell you now that they are very few and far between in Oman!!

Eventually we reached our destination Jabal Sham. Jabal Sham is about 2800m above sea level and the last leg of the journey saw my knuckles turn white as it was a very steep dirt track.
We parked up, got out and started to walk towards the viewing spot when I looked down and spotted this.

You can't tell from the picture but the round bit it larger than your fist and they were everywhere, all over the floor.

At this point Margaret (my mother in law) was more sensible than we were she sat down and watched from a distance. Notice the wry smile on her face - she knew what was coming.

Pete of course had to get as close as he could to the sheer 1000m drop. Not sure how I managed to take pictures as at this point I was close to panic.

At this point I was nearly wetting myself.

And by this time I was yelling at them all and as soon as the camera was put down my arms started to flap in panic.

While we were up there we did feel the effects of the altitude as if we tried to move quickly it was a struggle. We couldn't believe that people actually live up there in this village.

When looking down over the ledge Pete took a picture of this abandoned village half way down the rock face. Don't worry I can only see the terraces too but I am assured that there is a village there somewhere.

Right down at the bottom, 1000m away Pete zoomed into this village sat right on a Wadi.

We then moved across the mountain a tiny bit where the locals decided to join us for a picnic. I swear there was not a goat to be seen until the cool box was opened and then within minutes we were surrounded by loads of the greedy little buggers.


On the ground we had the goats surrounding us trying to get food and above us we had some Egyptian Vultures circling us trying to get food. It was worse than being at home with 2 dogs coming running every time you open a cupboard.

We left the Jabal and drove to a cave (can't remember the name and I can't find the leaflet). We were supposed to get a train to the entrance but the damn thing had broken down so we had to walk in the heat instead. When we got to the cave we were told that cameras were not allowed so we had to hand them over to be put in a box. I can tell you the next 45 minutes were panic stricken for me, worrying about my baby. We did see some rare bats flying around and some blind cave fish, the cave as a whole was pretty impressive too. Pity I couldn't get any pictures.

After another stop in Nizwa, a drink and a snack in a hotel we headed home seeing some wonderful views on the way.

Saturday, 7 March 2009


Today is SPS on HSMSHS which means Self Portrait Saturday so I thought I would tie this in with the next day of our holiday as there are plenty of Self Portraits or somebody else's portraits to choose from.

Feb 14th 2009

This day was to be a quiet day as Robert had to go into work. Saturdays in Oman are like Mondays in the Western world. So we spent the day shopping and then looking out on this view from the beach at PDO for a couple of hours.

It was then time for us to go and get ready for our first ever hash. Pete's parents have been hashing for donkey's years and were not going to miss out on one because we were there so we were taken along too. A hash is a fitness / drinking / socialising event. Basically we turned up in the middle of nowhere to follow a trail of flour. As soon as we got there the boys ran up the first hill they could find, I don't think they realised that they were going to be doing that for the next 90 minutes.

I looked on nervously wondering how on earth Pete was going to manage to do this and then carry on with the holiday. We all had to sign in for safety reasons - basically they would know what name to call when we got hopelessly lost in the wilds. Health and safety is not top of the agenda in Oman.

Then we were all off, about 40 of us in total. See the man in the yellow stumbling well that's what I thought you had to do so of course I followed suit and ended up on my bum on top of a thorny dessert plant.

So for the next 30 minutes I was picking spikes out of my arse. In fact I looked last night (not a pretty sight) and the marks are still there 3 weeks later!!!

After we got back to the cars, knackered, hot, thirsty, dusty and in my case sore it was time for the circle. Well it was when everyone else got back I am pleased to say we did not shame our selves as Matt and Kyle were first back to the camp with Pete and I not far behind. Everyone then had to stand in a circle while announcements were made which highly amused the boys as everyone has a hashing name. My inlaws are known as "Techinical Fornicator" and "Easy Wider" also there were "Dr Death", "Testicle Chicken Legs", "Where the **** are we" as you can imagine this is an adult hashing group, we had been warned and decided that the boys heard worse language at school so didn't have a problem with it. It was then our turn to stand at the front and be handed a drink each. Matt was nominated the spokesperson so he said a few words on our behalf and told the group we were staying with "them 2 over there" after the laughter had subsided everyone started singing and we had to down our drinks in one and put the cups on our heads. We all got a T-shirt with the date and event on it and I got a single red rose along with all the other lady hashers. We left in the dark very tired but looking forward to our next hash in a weeks time.

Since our return we have found a local hashing group which isn't just for adults and we are hopefully going to go and try it out tomorrow.

Friday, 6 March 2009


This picture taken from inside Nakhal Fort while we were away is perfect for today's prompt over at HSMSHS so I thought I may as well join in today.

I'm struggling with my holiday photos, all 1500+ of them, as I just don't seem able to find the time to sort them out and share them. I will get there eventually and don't panic I'm not going to share all of them just a select few.

Monday, 2 March 2009


FEB 13TH 2009

We woke up this morning to clear blue skies, sunshine and less dust in the air. The boys jumped into the pool before breakfast again while Margaret and I got a picnic ready to take with us on our trip out.

There were plenty of pit stops to grab more drinks from the cool box and stretch our legs. During the climb up this Jabal to get some photos I managed to get a thorn stuck in my forehead much to everyone's amusement.

Our first call was at a place called Nakhal where we visited the Fort which stands proudly surrounded by plantations.

In Oman the different districts are called Wilayats and the "Governors" of these areas are called Wali's. The Wali would have once lived, with his wives, in the Fort, now they live in beautiful and large houses.

After wandering around the amazing Fort we headed up through the very narrow, very crowded streets, due to the Mosque just closing, up to the hot springs for our picnic.

The people in the foreground are bathing and washing clothes in the warm water

We found our spot in the shade ate our picnic and hunted for fish in the warm water and found some along with a frog.

A bit further on we ran out of "black top" and dropped down into the Wadi Al Abyad to continue our journey. Wadi's are dried up river beds that become full when the rains come. It can be years between rain falls and a relatively small amount of rain (a days worth in the UK) can cause devastating flash floods filling the whole Wadi (all the grey stone in the picture).

We got out on the Wadi bed and listened to absolutely nothing, total silence like I have never heard before and played about in the small amount of water still there.

A bit of local wildlife taken from a moving car through the window

Before heading home we drove up to Barka to watch the bull fighting. The bull fighting here isn't like we know it instead it is bull against bull. They turn up on the back of pick up trucks to be unloaded and tied to a post to wait their turn. We are not sure how the bulls are chosen as it all seems a bit random. Two bulls are lead into the centre of the "ring" to face each other, the men let go of the tethers and the bulls fight. Each bout lasts only a matter of minutes before the bulls tethers are caught and the bulls removed from the ring. As far as we could work out it was rather like Bull Sumo and the bull pushed out of the ring lost. The spectators were all male and they seemed to be there more for the social aspect than the sport. No one cheered or clapped during the whole time we were there - very bizarre indeed.