shanlung (shanlung) wrote,

Riamfada - Summer is here // Wadi Bani Khalid and seeing stars and space station with Riamfada

In last entry, I mentioned of the knives I brought back from Taiwan and to be part of Riamfada outfit. But of course, there is no need for very good blade. In the past in Oman, I just carried a simple box cutter in the fanny pack. But I do like the feel of a good blade. And that old saying that the safest knife is a good sharp knife.

I had to make use of that knife on three occasions since I got back.

In the past, Riamfada would make direct flights in straight line to me. With her increasing familiarity, she indulged herself in weaving flights or looping flights. I tried to give her leeway for her exuberance. But there were times she misjudged. She overflew me once when we were on neighbourhood walk and in looping around back to me, her line caught on a tall shrub and she drop over the wall into a neighbour garden. He was watching and good naturely, invited me into his garden. I went in to recover Riam on that bush, flicked the Schrade folder open and cut that line after I got a good hold on the harness leash. The line was reeled in and reattached to the Hawaiian clasp and Riamfada made safe again.

With that reel/line holder, we took to doing longer and longer distance recalls in our neighbourhood walks. Twice more again, I had to use the knife to cut that line to make it easier to un-tangle the line. I do believe that Riam also understood better the practical limitations of her flights especially near trees and bushes with no problems in the last 3 weeks. She might weaved and curved, and if the cats were near, she would deliberately swerved to overfly them before landing on me.

I fixed up more perches out on the patio. We would sit out there after the walk with cold juices. We grew sunflower heads just for Riamfada, as organic as could be. Riamfada love nibbling on the seeds ripping it out of the heads

(home photos - more in folder below)


wild IRN that came often into my garden for sunflower seeds.



Riam eating the seeds off the sunflower head.

With the coming of summer and the increasing heat, wadis were becoming less comfortable places to go to unlike the winter colder months.

The first weekend after we got back, we did go to this Wadi Al Felaij, but that was more because there was this dam there. We were told of heavy rains and floodings just before we came back to Muscat. I was curious if a lake would form behind his Al Felaij dam. Dommie came with us as Katie disappeared that morning.

The photos would show you how much water was behind the dam. Perhaps it needed nothing less than a typhoon deluge to fill this dam and not just a mere heavy rains and floodings

photo folder here



Many weekends found us up at Jebel Akhdar, especially when we discovered this delightful picnic ground well shaded with trees and nice and cool at 2000++ meters.


picnic area at Jebel Akhdar


It wasnt just Jebel Akhdar all the time. We made a trip up Jebel Shams.
I saw a guy with backpack on the road to Jebel Shams. I thought of my earlier days when I wandered far and wide with backpack on distant roads. So I had to stop to give him a ride. I forgot his name, but he was from Holland and working in Qatar and decided to check the sunrises and sunsets in Oman for a couple of weeks. And he was determined to get up to Jebel Shams on foot even though I was going to drive all the way up. I thought he was crazy, but then, I been on crazier places so I should not judge sanity of other people.

Even more respect to him and I hope he made it and got back to Qatar safely.

photo folder


That Dutch guy getting ready to walk up to J Shams



Me and Riam up at Jebel Shams

Wadi Bani Khalid.
photos folder here

I have heard of Wadi Bani Khalid many times, and the photos I seen of this place made me want to see this place for a long time. I procrastinated until the day my wife went with her lady friends to Ibra. They decided to check out the ladies souq. She told me that souq allowed ladies only, and not a souq where ladies were sold and bought for harem. Ibra was only 30 km from Wadi Bani Khalid but they did not continue to there.

So it was on Apr 24 that I decided we should drive to Wadi Bani Khalid. We took that road to Izky and Nizwa and turned off to a winding road to Ibra where we had our lunch. That was the first time Riamfada had lunch in a restaurant.

We continued to Wadi Bani Khalid.

At that turnoff to that Wadi, a guy with a backpack got himself a ride from us. He was from Turkey, and he had decided a bout of travelling was good for his soul. He travelled extensively in Iran and now he was in Oman and said he was going on to Yemen. He prepared himself by first learning Persian and then Arabic. I could not catch his name, but I think it was Jehan.

I had not realised this wadi was up in the mountains. The signposts to Wadi Bani Khalid brought us up spectacular mountain scenery the likes I had not seen before.

And then we were in the Wadi.


With Jehan




At 700+ M altitude, it was not as warm as those wadis on the plain of Oman. Lots of people were at the wadi enjoying themselves.

It was late in the afternoon and had a long ride back. We said goodbye to Jehan and drove off.

I did not want to retrace the road we taken and decided to drive on to Sur and then get back to Muscat on the new coastal road not officially opened to public yet.

It was 645pm when we reached Sur and twilight setting in. The sky turned to such an enchanting purplish deep blue with black coastal mountains etched against it that I had to stop the car to spend some moments taking all that in. I pulled off the road and shoulder and left the flasher on for safety while I took a break from the driving and had Riamfada on my shoulder.

She was getting to be a seasoned traveller. During the first few times when we drove out with her, she was unhappy when it got late and dark. But that was not on this trip. She looked around and took in the sight of that deep twilight on that coastal road. Then a car stopped. An Omani asked if we were ok and needed help. That was touching. I assured him we stop for the scenery and to take a break from the drive.

Then we got on back to the road again. The twilight was over. My wife looked back at Riamfada on her perch and told me she was so alert, looking out of the windows at other car far distant lights.

An hour later, I made another stop at the last toll gates before the descent to the plains. The highway was not opened officially, so there were no one at the toll gates.

I pulled off the road, off the shoulder , and deep into the side just in case other cars might have thought we needed help.

ALl lights were off, and we were surrounded by the stars. Riamfada showed no discomfort at all and seemed to enjoy this new experience for her.

My wife then asked me what was that fast moving point of light up in the sky.

I could not see what it was among all the stars. Then I noticed Riamfada was looking intently at a direction. With her on my shoulder and using her stare as a guide, I then saw a moving point of light.


I had been trying to see that for a few years now. I even got onto the space station website to get the timings but always been defeated by poor skies.

I watched a while more to be sure. That point of light was steadily moving from West to East. I then told my wife we all were looking at the space station high above us. It was not flashing as a high altitude plane would. At that time of the night, it was high enough to reflect the sun light that could reach it and be that bright point of moving light.

It slowly dimmed and faded completely.

We returned to the car and continued on our way home.


If what I wrote help you and you like to help, give a thought
for the wildlife sharing our planet.
Do write that cheque to Gerald Durrell wildlife trust

or to any wildlife conservation body of your choice


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