Shaquel al Balushi gets back into the driving seat with a visit to Wadi Mayh –his favourite wadi.
Oh, what a wonderful world we live in. No, I’m not being sarcastic or anything. I have just been more appreciative of life and the beautiful country that we live in ever since I was given the go-ahead by my doctors to get down and dirty in my weekly Destination trips.
If there is anything that I have learned over the two months that I was off work (due to an injured shoulder), it is that nothing must be taken for granted.
I may be wiser now but in reality it was my grandmother who actually impressed this notion on me. But then, as a youngster, I didn’t actually take time to heed her precious words. Mind you, which youngster does, right?
Even before my shoulder injury, though, I must highlight one particular event that changed my course of thinking: it was the cyclone Gonu that hit Oman in 2007. And I still remember one of the areas that really took a thwacking: the wadi at Mayh.
Today, it happens to be one of my favourite spots. Why? Well, time for a quick history lesson. You see, as a youngster (mostly during my teenage days), I used to head to Wadi Mayh for camping with my friends.
We used to head there so often we even forgot to appreciate how beautiful the wadi was, and how instrumental the location was in helping us friends bond.
But then, the dreadful event happened: Gonu struck the Sultanate and everything was taken away.
Sitting here at Wadi Mayh as I think about all this, today, I cannot help reminisce and feel nostalgic about the good old days.
Today, most of my friends aren’t as close as we once were. Many work outside Oman while others are stuck in 10-hour jobs that bind them with daily duties.
So, I’m alone here today.
But there’s a general sense of calmness and tranquillity in me as I stare down at – what I like to call it – the spoils of war. Broken slabs of concrete, severed trees and scattered rocks still litter the surface, but today I decide to see the beauty that was brought into existence by the wrath of nature.
Mind you, things have started to take a turn for the better, now. Today, the verdant environs of the region, and wildlife has slowly started taking over.
And, despite the fact that it is only 5am in the morning, I still feel like one with the surroundings. I’ll tell you this: there’s something oddly satisfying about spending time in solitude with Mother Nature.
And just as I sit on my portable chair and ponder that, the sun begins to rise from behind the mountains, thereby casting a strong shadow on me and the surroundings. The only thing lacking is music and food.
Wild berries are scattered all around but I’m still not sure if they are edible, so I stay away from them.
The temperature, however, is what steals the show: it is only 25-odd degrees-Celsius, and the humidity isn’t as prevalent as it is in the city.
In all, it is just a very nice place to relax. For those of you interested enough to visit the wadi, I suggest you come in an SUV. Normal sedans can take on the gravel roads, too but it is always good to err on the side of caution.
The ride to Wadi Mayh is also a mere 30 minutes from the capital. You take the twisty road towards Al Amerat and break off at the exit towards Quriyat. Once you head there, the board to Wadi Mayh should guide you to the location safely.
I would advise you to travel in a group, though, as the terrain is treacherous, and there is still shrapnel from the cyclone lying around. Also, stock up on adequate water and food supplies as civilisation is a good 20-minutes away. You don’t want to be driving – or even worse – walking there while thirsty or hungry.
Nevertheless, my experience at Wadi Mayh, as always, is truly splendid. Not only do I go home with a smile on my face, I also have a beautiful story to reflect upon; not to mention the hundreds of hours of childhood and teenage years that flashed before my eyes.
From Muscat, take road 17 through Al Amerat towards Al Hajar. Take the exit for Al Hajar and go left at the first roundabout and straight over the next two. This will bring you directly to the point where the road gives way to a dirt track.