Water on Tap

Trip Start Jul 28, 2009
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Trip End Aug 10, 2010


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Flag of Oman  , Ash Sharqīyah,
Saturday, February 6, 2010

It was interesting to hear about Oman’s ancient falaj system.   It is as sophisticated as any Western water mains but without the pipes and U-bends.  The channels are cut into the side of the mountains, running across miniature aqueducts and tunnels, and are responsible for most of the oasis in Oman.  The precious water is diverted first to drinking wells, then into Mosque washing areas and then to the plantations where it siphoned proportionally among the village farms.  There are over 4000 channels in Oman, and some were built over 1500 years ago.  The longest one is said to run for 74 miles (120km) under Sharqiya Sands. 

We decided to take a bit of a detour before heading to the desert.  We drove up high into the Eastern Hajar Mountains.  We zig zagged through some spectacular colorful rock formations, they said the green color is from the copper oxide and the rust red is from iron ore.  There were many natural springs or “ayn” along the way.  We then headed down the mountain and drove through the small town of Al-Kamil and followed the well posted signs towards Wadi Bani Khalid.

We only walked around a short time as we needed to get to the gas station to get picked up for our Desert safari.  We found mostly locals hanging out by the water pools.  It was beautiful there and we wished it had been warm enough to take a dip.  My camera was starting to fail and only seemed to work when it wanted to, so I didn’t get any photos here.  What a bummer!
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