I went today with my host family to a beach and then for a drive through a much less inhabited region of Oman. Still in the Muscat governorate, I could see an incredible contrast between the city and the country of this relatively small region. Muscat (city) has no real suburbs to the south. You're in the city, and all of a sudden you aren't. Then there are no remaining streetlights, the traffic thins out, the roads become less well maintained, and the mountains loom heavy over your head. It's really quite beautiful, driving through the country.
We went, first, to the beach for a barbecue! I learned how to make delicious Omani BBQ and also that one should never set one's grill up too close to the water, because the tide will likely come up and you'll have to move three or four times!
Here are some pictures of the beach where we had our barbecue. I wish I was a good enough photographer to capture the magic of this place... these pictures don't even begin to show how beautiful it was. At the beach was just my host family and a few Indian men there for the day. The area we went to, south of the city, is mostly composed of a coastline of a beach, interupted by a mountain, followed by another beach, and so on.
We also went for a drive through the mountains and a few small villages. These villages were a whole different world. Goats and donkeys wander around them freely. Houses are much smaller, and the animal's pens are makeshift structures attached to the houses. The villages are skirted by small farms, where dates--the only food that grows aplenty in this region-- are grown. People live much simpler lives, and only the wealthier people have cars. It's such a different lifestyle than the one we live in Muscat. I hope that I'll get to see this style of living sometime in more detail than just driving through.
The next few pictures prominently feature goats and donkeys on the road. While the goats are only in the towns, you see donkeys several kilometers away from the towns!
Beautiful scenery on the road!
We saw quite a large football game taking place in one of the villages!
More donkeys in the main square of one of the towns we saw.