I am so grateful that a dear friend who is an amazing, creative artist has allowed me to use her photos. She lived in Dhofar for several years and really captured the spirit of this beautiful region.
I work with words but images are essential because if you want to understand a place, you need to see it from many sides with all the senses. Dhofar is the sight of frankincense trees, the smell of frankincense burning, the call of the ladies at Haffa souq telling you to come see their beautiful majmars (frankincense burners), and the sometimes smooth, sometimes bumpy feel of the hardened resin.
Dhofar is the taste of kebsa, basbousa made with coconut, Chips Oman, fresh lime juice with mint, warm paratha with processed cheese, freshly-caught grilled fish served with white rice and dates, coconut milk drunk from the coconut and tea drunk near the edge of Jebel Samhan looking out to the sea. Dhofar is the groups of old women sitting around a plate of stuffed vine leaves talking over all the news and the groups of old men sitting in their daily meeting place surveying everyone who passes and talking over all the news. Dhofar is everyone saying, “it’s qumariya [full moon] let’s have a picnic!” and picnicking in the drizzle of khareef.
Dhofar is the sound of the call to prayer from mosques, the ublow-holes at Muqsal, the howling of winter winds, the thumping bass of a shabab’s car, the squawking of gulls at the beach and parrots in the guava trees, the bellowing of camels standing arrogantly in the middle of the road tossing their heads and refusing to move, the bleating of goats, the lowing of cows, the rustling of palm trees, the low humming of ACs and that odd chirping of lizards.
Dhfoar is the shine of the gold shops, Lulus’ electric neon at night, the warm yellow glow of the fancy streetlights, the flash of bright yellow as a weaver bird wings by, and the scents of dozens of perfumes wafting in the air. Dhofar is hard-packed sand roads along the beach and the rocky roads in the mountains which lead to scenic overlooks, the perfect silence of the Empty Quarter, hot May days, cool January nights and the lovely surprise of seeing a gazelle.
Landscapes and Plants