Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I did not like "And the Mountains Echoed" - too disappointed.

I started reading And the Mountains Echoed by the talented Khaled Hosseini over a month ago, and I just finished it yesterday. A good novel, a good book takes me less than four days to finish - this one took forever because I was not hooked to it. But I was also not going to abandon it in the middle. I still wanted to know what happens in the bigger, main story.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Musandam, Oman Photos - Tour through the Gulf of Oman

The second day of our vacation in Musandam, Oman, we had a 4-hour tour through the Gulf of Oman. Here are some pictures.

Friday, July 18, 2014

That moment in Musandam (Oman) when I jumped into the Gulf of Oman

The highlight of not just our time in Musandam but also of this whole summer was today, Friday, July 18th, when I, a new swimmer and not yet excellent, decided to jump off the boat into the Gulf of Oman.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pictures from Musandam, Oman

I'm currently visiting Musandam in Oman, which required a 3-hour van and a 5-hour ferry ride. It's been so wonderful so far I feel like I'm in heaven, alhamdulillah! This place is so beautiful I wanna live here forever!

The hotel is beautiful, and the people are really nice. It's really cheap because it's new, so they're giving out great deals to guests. They even provide courtesy rides to and from the hotel to anywhere want around here, like restaurants, the port, etc.

I took a lot of pictures in my camera, but I unfortunately forgot my USB for the camera at home so cannot upload the pictures, BUT! I also took a few pictures in my phone, and here they are.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Today for iftar

Today for iftar, a local Omani friend of mine and someone at our institute - God bless him infinitely - told me his mom would like to send me some harees. So I had harees with my iftar. God bless generous people!! Also, she make the best harees ever, mashaAllah!

Then later, someone brought me some fruits for iftar. Said person has brought me iftar a couple of times before, but either I'm away from the apartment for the moment or am at host family's so never received it. This time,  I was home, and the person didn't know if I'd be home or not so just brought fruit and said I'll have real food on Saturday once we've returned from Musandam. How does a heart not smile at such kind gestures?!?! Beauty is real! Humanity is real! Indeed, Ramadhan kareem.

The last visit to the host family

Some pictures from our last visit to the host family.

Their farm

They said I could take as many as I want. God bless them!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

More good Iftar food

I'm sorry if this sounds arrogant and all, but I really don't mean to imply at all that I'm more well-fed than anyone else out there.  I understand that more people in this world go hungry daily and many starve to death, and this isn't fair to anyone at all - but I suspect that  those who have access to internet are most probably not suffering from a lack of food. Still, my well wishes to everyone out there!

Alhamdulillah for all this food and these opportunities to try out iftar with generous local Omanis.

It's almost iftar time here, and I'm starving, so. A couple of days ago, I was invited for iftar to a friend's house, and I just might have had the best harees (traditional popular Omani dish) yet! We also had a great pasta dish and lots of halawiyaat (sweets). As is the tradition here, we went over to visit the family's relatives after iftar, and thank God for big families - I got to talk a lot and meet more wonderful people AND!!! I got to feel like I was fascinating enough for children to sit around me and marvel at my existence. Bless. Hamdallah for good humans, hamdallah for Ramadhan.
Before iftar, we were shown around the house and because of my obsession with houses, especially Omani houses, I was granted permission to take photos and post them on my blog. So here. Foods in the end.

Friday, July 11, 2014

My Omani host family's farm

All right - we finally now talk about my host family's farm (animal and plant). 

So we ate a boosboosa and headed out to tour the huge farm. I'm not gonna label all of the photos below because some of them, I don't remember what they are anymore. (I know, I should post pictures like these almost as soon as I take them. InshaAllah next time.) But they have the following in plants:

grapes, grapefruit (or something like it that's big and green but red on the inside), mangoes, bananas, apples; olives, mustard, coriander, other spices; various flowers; plenty of date trees (they're called nakheel in Arabic); figs, eggplants, okra, red and green pepper, lemons and limes. Other plants that I don't remember anymore.

For animals, they have goats, sheep, cows, chicken. 

MashaAllah 'alaihim. God preserve them, their wealth, and their farms - aameen.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The visit to an Omani farm (animals and plants)

Some weeks ago, we visited the family farm of an Omani family here. As you've probably figured from my previous blog posts, most families here seem to have farms - animal and plant. I'll share photos of my host family's farm soon as well. 

It's been a long time since I took these photos, though, so I don't remember the names of most of some of the plants, but we can look them up if need be, ei!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The trip to a falaj (stream) and Bat, Oman

A few Saturdays ago, we visited a UNESCO heritage site called Bat (بات) here in Oman. The same day, we also visited a falaj (a stream used for irrigation purposes) in a village called Zahir al-Fawaris (قرية ظاهر الفوارس). Oman is crazy hot, as you know, so it's quite refreshing to come across a small, even half empty, body of water and some greenery. As tends to happen to me wherever I go, I fell in the water. *Insert heart icon here.* But I didn't get hurt, so no worries. The water's source is the mountain nearby, and where it meets the mountain is where it's the cleanest, so people use that water as drinking water. I filled up a couple of water bottles there. After a little bit, my tummy wasn't feeling good so I'm not sure that was a good idea, BUT I didn't get sick or anything. It was prolly in my head because I was fearing it might happen, hah.

Then we went to a family farm (pictures of that another time - and, yes, I remember that I still owe y'all pictures of my host family's farm). We had a wonderful huge meal at the family whose farm we visited (God reward them for their kindness and hospitality, aameen!) and afterwards, we went to Bat. I didn't take many pics in Bat because it's pretty much the same view all throughout, but a couple of things about Bat: It's a necropolis - that is, a huge and ancient, historical cemetery. The way these tombs are built reveals much about the funeral practices (and the evolution of those practices) of the people who lived in the Omani peninsula during the Bronze Age (3000 BCE). Bat is the most complete known site of the time period. In 1988, it became the second site to be included in the World Heritage list.

I'm going to paste from about the different tombs from different time periods in Bat:
"In the southern part, the site is a collection of graves built on the lines of those found in Um AnNar, while in the northern part, the graves look like beehives and date back to the third millennium BC. The architecture is similar to the tombs built in the Hafit period. Another cemetery containing 100 tombs built of stone was also discovered, where the evolution from the beehive style to cemeteries built during Um AnNar period is apparent. While the beehive cemetery contained between two to five tombs, Um AnNar cemeteries were mass graves. A similar cemetery of this style was discovered containing 30 burial chambers. The historic significance of the Bat site is that it is located at the crossroads of an ancient trade route. Caravans loaded with goods heading to other nearby destinations passed through Bat. Included with the Bat settlement in the World Heritage List are two other sites: Al Khutum “Al Wahrah” and Wadi Al Ayn Tombs."
Feel free to google it up for more information and for better pictures and all; here's a good start - a video. It can give you goose bumps, provided you visit in a non-hot time of the day. We were there between, I don't know, say, 2:30pm and 4? The sun is cruel that time of the day, so.

Below, I'll first show photos of the falaj and then of Bat.

The Falaj

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