If the photographs of a colourful local market is what attracted us to Sinaw, what awaited us was much more exciting.
It started as our usual Oman Trip, starting on a Thursday night from Dubai, reached Younis’ Farm around 4 in the morning. A power nap was much necessary as we carried along the tiredness of a working week.
Our story of ‘exploration of ruins’ in Oman.
We woke up to see the sunrays over the spinach farms. The quick thought was to rush to the market though we knew that we would miss the colours as Thursday is the market day in Sinaw. It was a bit disappointing to see that the market was gaining a modern face unlike the Nizwa Souq. There was the slightest memory of an old souq which we had read about and we were in search of that. Walking around, we ended up in the ruins of an old mansion. The mansion was rather an engineering marvel with the limited raw materials used, clay, rubbles and date palm products.
History racked and buried in earthen walls, driving us through the corridors of time. The only thing that reminded us about current times was the stinking animal waste and litter dumped into the corners of the building.
We continued our search for the Old Souq of Sinaw. It took us some time before we could arrive at the right point as many pointers were misleading. The souq, to our surprise, extended over many hectares of land, and was roofed and multi-storied. A comfort engulfed us as the mercury dropped inside the souq. The corridors were more like a maze and we struggled to find each other whenever we took different routes inside. With me was Shynil, with whom I have done most of the explorations in Oman, and Sahana, my better half.
It was exciting to fantasize a live market inside the souq building. Like Nizwa, this ‘souq’ too looked like it was plucked from Arabian Nights. We had no doubt about the colours, vigour and spirits that the walls have witnessed in its time of existence.
When hunger nearly paused our senses, we had to stop to go chase some belly-filling eatables.
In the evening our farm owner’s uncle took us to the nearby Oasis which too had the remains of an old building. He was kind to help us with a quick tour of the place and told us stories from the past when they grew their own food. Later that day, we barbecued a fish by the mountains and literally slept in the open under the star-studded sky.
The next morning’s breakfast was served with palette of honey pots. We could not hide the excitement of tasting that many types of honey with the farmer explaining of the varieties in origin, taste and medicinal values.
En route Dubai, we did a visit to the Al-Hoota Caves which hid a different habitat in itself. The caves reopened recently after three years of maintenance works. A 5-7 minute train ride took us from the small museum-office to the mouth of the cave. The caves are comfortably provided with secure stairs and platforms without disturbing the growing stalactite and stalagmite structures. Much to our satisfaction, it wasn’t lit brightly. Just right enough to see without affecting any habitat creatures. It also housed a natural pond of fishes that went blind thanks to evolution, losing what is not needed. We also suspect that the pond should take us to another opening or entrance which is not part of the tour.
As we returned with renewed energies, we realized that the trip was more for the soul than the camera.