There is a long and involved history of Oman and its tribes. Stories involving wars and the slave trade; water and oil. Building, destroying and now the presence of guest workers rapidly building roads seemingly to nowhere. A country which was not interested in tourism prior to 1992. A country steeped in traditional dress and traditions.

A country where there are a lot of camels. Camels which seemed to be more interesting to the rest of the passengers on my small tour bus than anything of landscape, history or narrative. As all compelling as elephants seem to be in Africa even when you know how large, destructive and horribly smelling they are. Camels which seemed to hold interest even among people told repeatedly that cute was not the issue – biting and spitting was.


was our first stop – repaired castle/fort/residence of the 1800s

from there it was on to
Sumhuram Archeological Park
and the center for Frankincense trading for the eight centuries encompassing three hundred years before the common era and five hundred more after . The sap being collected from trees sequestered far up in the Wadis and carefully hoarded, collected, traded and finally brought to this location. We were told that the permanent residents of the keep numbered only about 300, almost all devoted to the trade or security of the precious treasure of the incense.

The walls were (and are) built of stone, the openings small, the floors of sand. Inscriptions persist till the present day while the location is set on a protective bay; a hillside possible to defend.

I did mention camels – didn’t I?


The stop at a small mosque/memorial reminded us all of the bare land. Of a nomadic people who buried their dead where they were and moved on. Culture and the facts of daily living meaning that a return ever to this grave was neither possible or necessary. Women were buried with three markers, men with two. The Suni tradition with hands held next to the face in prayer helping to identify the head of the grave.

oh, yes – and goats. Can’t forget the goats at home even in the middle of villages


From there it was a quick look at caves the Beduins used seasonally as living quarters (the current presence of water is manmade) with some now made accessible for the tourists.

the land looks dry – this is not the monsoon season and the camels graze where they can and seem no more bothered by the thorns on the various acacia trees than were the giraffes of Tanzania

which made our first glimpse of the coast, water, gleaming sand that much more surprising in contrast.


We saw formations left from their volcanic origins, areas where the sea would spray up through blow holes when the tide was in. Open faces of rock and areas thinly covered with sand and soil, sturdy and stubborn plants clinging precariously to the steep slopes.

A wadi high in the hills

home to the trees the source of frankincense which was harvested by repeated cutting and scraping at the trees

and, of course, camels

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About Holly

fiber person - knitter, spinner, weaver who spent 33 years being a military officer to fund the above. And home. And family. Sewing and quilting projects are also in the stash. After living again in Heidelberg after retiring (finally) from the U.S. Army May 2011, we moved to the US ~ Dec 2015. Something about being over 65 and access to health care. It also might have had to do with finding a buyer for our house. Allegedly this will provide me a home base in the same country as our four adult children, all of whom I adore, so that I can drive them totally insane. Considerations of time to knit down the stash…(right, and if you believe that…) and spin and .... There is now actually enough time to do a bit of consulting, editing. Even more amazing - we have only one household again. As long as everyone understands that I still, 40 years into our marriage, don't do kitchens or bathrooms. For that matter, not being a golden retriever, I don't do slippers or newspapers either. I don’t miss either the military or full-time clinical practice. Limiting my public health/travel med/consulting and lecturing to “when I feel like it” has let me happily spend my pension cruising, stash enhancing (oops), arguing with the DH about where we are going to travel next and book buying. Life is good!
This entry was posted in Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.