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Letters from the Oman Trail – Rain

Letters from the Oman Trail – Rain

Rain is a source of great excitement for the local people here. For kids it means playing in the puddles, for adults it means hopes for their crops.”

oman wet wadi
Oman Wadi after the rain

When in Arabia you simply never ever check the weather forecast. Hot and sunny is the norm, day in and day out. Sometimes, if lucky, you will see a lone cloud drifting in the sky. To see a few flying together is a true rarity. It also tells you that it might rain, something that never happens during summer. So when a few drops hit my windshield it feels like I’m day dreaming. It is still sunny, it is still boiling hot, but it is raining ! And before you know it, it’s raining hard. I would like to stop and admire this brief phenomenon, but I’m in a wadi and it’s pretty narrow. Not the place to be at all under such circumstances, and it’s too late and too far in to turn around. Let’s just hope I get out of this before it turns ugly.

After a few minutes of a very intense shower, I see a small stream of water starting to flow down the wadi. My heart is beating fast and I begin to sweat despite the aircon blowing at full speed. It is urgent I find an elevated area within the escarpments before this turns into a full torrent and washes me and the car away. I see a safe spot on my left. It’s an old plantation with a ramp leading up to it. I’ll park here for now and wait till the “storm” stops. The good thing, showers like this only last a few minutes. It is not going to rain all day. Might be other short showers during the afternoon, but they too should be brief. While I wait I’m searching for the rainbow in the beautiful blue sky, but can’t manage to spot it. And when the rain stops the dry wadi I was in has transformed itself in a shallow mountain river. I have always been a big fan a water crossings, the rest of the drive is about to become very interesting !

Rain is a source of great excitement for the local people here. For kids it means playing in the puddles, for adults it means hopes for their crops. As I reach further down the wadi and get closer to a small village, I see its entire population enjoying the temporary river. Mothers are bathing their small children. Blankets are laid down, food and coffee are brought along for an improvised picnic. For some it’s an opportunity to wash their cars, now all parked next to each other in the middle of the stream. Further away, goats, donkeys, dogs, cats, birds all converge to the river to drink. It reminds me of those African savana documentaries on Discovery channel.

I will camp near by, safely, and enjoy the refreshing air, sitting on a rock my feet in the current.

Wet Wadi Oman
When the trail becomes a river
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