Day 3: Coastal Cruising

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We started off the morning today with a pre-breakfast presentation by Maggie, our tour guide. Maggie has been living in Oman for 7 years guiding tours and helping students and adults learn about the people, geography, and culture of Oman. Maggie explained to our group about what we were going to see during the remainder of the trip, as well as what her favorite parts of the country were. Some highlights included the desert and of course, the people!

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After having a nice and relaxing breakfast with a gorgeous view of a sunrise and the ocean in Wadi Shab, we headed off to Dhow boatyard. On the way to the boatyard, we made a short stop at the ancient city of Qalhat. It is the oldest ancient city in Oman. We were not allowed to go into the city because it was fenced and was not ready for visitors. The city was home to one of the first great trading ports in Oman – visited by famous explorers like Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta. We then stopped at the boatyard and took a look at the boats. This yard is the only place that has workers making traditional Omani Dhows in Oman. These boats were historically used for trading and military ships but are now used mainly for tourism. The wood used for the ships is from Malaysia and workers from Oman build the boats by their hands.

– Sharon K. ’18

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We had lunch in Sur, the city in at the northeast coast of Oman. After we drove to the Green Turtle Nesting Beach, we were able to enjoy some time on the beach on the Arabian Sea we had an Italian dinner with a large grilled fish, pasta, potatoes and more. Oman is home to several beaches where many types of turtles, such as the Green Turtle, come to lay their eggs. Thousands of sea turtles come every year to lay their eggs on the sands of Oman. Since it is not quite the season that sea turtles would nest on the beach, unfortunately, there were only a few wild turtles on the beach. However, after waiting for an hour, on our way back to the hotel, we got the chance to watch one large turtle. We shut off all our flashlights and were able to see the large turtle caring the heavy shell and dragging itself back to the sea. Generally, the turtles get out of the water, dig a hole on the beach with their tips of their paws and bury their eggs with sands. After laying their eggs, turtles go back to the sea. After about 55 days, baby turtles begin their journey, pushing their ways to the sea and trying to protect themselves from the predator. To protect the sea turtle species and their habitats, it’s necessary for us to protect the beaches and the nature.
Good things worth to those who wait.
– Lucy W. ’17
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Day 2: Chasing Waterfalls

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Today our group traveled south from Muscat to Wadi Shab. A wadi in Arabic is a valley that is typically dry, except during the rainy season. Wadi Shab is one of the most popular destinations in Oman because it typically has water in in. We were also treated to a traditional Omani lunch!

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Time ran really fast today. Since most of us were still suffering from jetlag, we started a little bit late today and we left the hotel at 10. We first stopped at the Bimmah Sinkhole, which was a beautiful way to start our day. Then, we were very lucky to be invited into an Omani home for lunch. One of our guide Maggie’s friends invited the whole group to have lunch in his grandmother’s house. We had our lunch at a big greeting room where all Omani people usually use to serve their guests. The greeting room is bigger than the other rooms. It is decorated with really nice carpet and cushions around the room.. At lunch, we had an Omani tradition meal, chicken, fish, rice and salad. It is their tradition to eat with their hands. After lunch, Maggie’s friend gave us some hot tea with special Omani spices.

– Maple S. ’17

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Today we went hiking in the Wadi Shab, which was an amazing experience. First, we took a boat to go to the other side of the Wadi, then we walked for a while, the view was beautiful and the fact that people lived there a million years ago made the experience even more interesting and exciting. We also swam in the Wadi for like 15 minutes until we got to the cave, inside this cave there was a pretty waterfall. I was very proud of myself because I didn’t know how to swim but I pushed myself and I got all the way to the cave. I was a little bit scary but I didn’t give up and I had an amazing experience I don’t regret any second of it. It was an exhausting day but it was my favorite because I had an amazing time in Wadihadi Shab.

– Arlet R. ’18

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Day 1: Ancient Cultures and Major Religions

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Today we visited the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque and were given a tour of the Mosque by Syed, our tour guide. After having a great lunch, we headed to the National Museum of Oman, where we were met by Dr. Jeff Rose, who is a prehistoric archaeologist and has been digging in the south of Oman for the past seven years. Jeff explained to us about the prehistoric civilizations that were in Oman and how they developed over time. We also talked about the incredible maritime culture of the Omani. Oman was situated in the middle of major civilizations around the world and often were trading partners of these civilizations. The Omani people were a major part of the Silk Road, connecting the East to the West. It was amazing to hear about this topic from an expert who is in the field learning about this subject! We ended the day with many of us taking a visit to the beach and watching the sunset.
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Today that we went to the mosque and I learned a lot of thing. I wasn’t expecting such hospitality from the Omani people, I thought they were so nice to us even though we were foreigners. Our tour guide, Syed was talking to us about the religion and customs of Islam, he was so nice and he was engaging a lot with us, he even talked to us about personal experiences and he made us laugh.
Then when we went to eat the dates and the omani coffee, I felt very welcome by all the Omani people and I notice that the people there wanted to show us the real Middle East not the one we see in the news. The women that talked to us was really kind and I appreciated her personal opinion about the dress code in Muslim countries. I learned so many new things about Islam and it made me gain a new view about the middle east. Now I feel that I can tell people and teach them about Islam, Muslim countries and the real Middle East.
– Adriana B. ’18
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After the long flight, we finally arrived at our hotel in Oman around 1:00 am. We all had some sort of jetlag this morning but we still enjoyed visiting the Grand Mosque of Oman and the National Museum. Although we were tired, there are a lot of things we learned! One thing I was most curious about Muslim culture is why Muslism women need to cover their body, and by talking to a Muslim woman at the mosque I got an answer! They need to cover their bodies because showing their skins and bodies distract men’s thoughts even though they are considered as beauty, men need to marry with someone who have wonderful thoughts and kindness.
– Taito S. ’18
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Four Days at Home – Checking In!

For our Field Academy trip, we are going to Oman. We leave on Thursday afternoon and stay on campus until then. Since Monday, we have been working on our pre-trip presentations. Each student was giving a topic about Oman to research and present it to the group. We had in-class discussions about what makes Oman the safest place to visit in the Middle East and how it remains a neutral country regardless of its location. We also had an introduction to the main religion of Oman, Islam, and we completed a written assignment about it. We saw an extremely interesting documentary about two English men who walked through the Empty Quarter desert. In the documentary the men shared their previous thoughts about the trip and it was interesting to see how their perspective changed once they finished their adventure. Everybody is very excited to travel, so far we have been gathering a lot of information about the trip and it’s going to be great to actually see everything we have been talking about since it is so different from the reality most of us are used to. I believe this trip is going to expand our wold view and meet amazing people.

– Melissa I. ’18

Welcome to our Blog!

 

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Welcome to the Oman Field Academy blog! We are so excited to go on this adventure and see a part of the world that many of us have never seen before! This week we will be on campus learning about Oman, it’s history, it’s culture, and it’s people. We will also be studying a little bit of Arabic so we can better communicate while on the ground. We are excited for a great week and getting anxious about leaving on Thursday.

Follow along with our blog for the next couple of weeks, as we will be consistently updating this site with pictures, videos, and recaps of our adventures from each member of our group.

Thanks again for following along and we hope to hear from you in the comments!