Muscat: Oman is known worldwide for its hospitality and the warmth of its people towards outsiders making the country an obvious choice for tourists from across the world. ‘Hospitality’ and ‘cordiality’, therefore, find a place of pride in all tourism campaigns that Oman launches to promote its tourism sector among enthusiasts across the world.
During the Eid Al Adha holidays in Oman, I also got a taste and flavour of Omani generosity and affection on a visit to Jab Al Akhdar recently.
Though a resident of the country for over 10 years, I got an opportunity to visit the Green Mountains during the Eid break this year.
Hardly a two-hour drive from Muscat, I decided to beat the city heat and get a glimpse of the famed mountain range.
As my friend had been to Jab Al Akhdar many times in the past, he parked his car at the entrance of the pomegranate orchard and asked me to move on if I wanted to see the fruit-laden trees.
With curiosity in mind, I proceeded towards the rows of pomegranate trees situated in the V-shaped valley having serpentine pathways with a network of Aflajs alongside for nurturing the orchards.The foliage of pomegranate trees covers the entire stretch and is so dense that even during daytime the sunlight can hardly pierce through. And the steady flowing cool breeze revitalised me giving me a heavenly experience. I felt like sleeping mid-way in my walk.
Red flowers on trees and small green fruits presented a wonderful sight and for the first time in my life I got an opportunity to eat yellow juicy apricots plucked straight from the tree.
But while returning along those winding pathways, I could see my friend’s car, but not him. A few citizens standing there and pointing towards my car and his shoes, asked me, “Are you searching for your friend?” I said, yes.
Greeting me with a smile, they took me to their drawing room where my friend was having Kahwa with freshly plucked apricots and dates. Some pears and apples were also kept on the carpet for guests.
I also enjoyed their company and their hospitality for a while and thanked them from the core of my heart. Treating a complete stranger like one of their own and showering them with their warmth is an unmatched quality seen in very few countries around the world.
Though I left the place, the kind gesture of the citizens left an indelible mark on my mind. I realised now why Omani hospitality is known across the world. Even the ROP personnel manning the check-post at Barkat Al Mouz, greet you with a smile and give tips for safe driving.
The roads built to world-class specifications with exits after a few hundred metres for emergencies, make your drive safe and smooth.
As you descend from almost 2,000 metres to your starting point, only the change in temperature from 20 degrees Celsius to around 37 degrees Celsius gives you a jolt on an otherwise hassle-free breathtaking trip.
Truly a memorable trip with unforgettable memories in mind!