Category Archives: TRAVEL

Are all oases this breathtakingly beautiful?

We got lost.  Not once, not twice, but multiple times on our quest to get to experience an oasis for the first time.  Our family who lives in Oman had told us this was a must do on our trip.  Magazines, newspapers, and travel bloggers concurred.  However, Wadi Bani Khalid seemed to be playing a game of cat and mouse with us.  Each person who we stopped to ask for directions, appeared to send us on yet another path.  We saw multiple signs and yet the target proved elusive.  I could not be more grateful to our relative who patiently persisted and finally got us to this absolutely breathtaking location situated about 200 kilometers away from Muscat.

So, call me naive, but when I heard the word “oasis”, I was envisioning a bunch of palm trees surrounding a body of water.  That’s what I had read in books and seen in paintings.  But what I saw is really hard to put into words.

Nestled among the magnificent Eastern Hajar mountains, with majestic rock formations and boulders, Wadi Bani Khalid has the clearest, most gorgeous oasis where at any given time, the water appears to cover the entire spectrum of green and blue hues.  It is not an easy hike to traverse the wadi, your leg muscles get a workout for sure, but what you end up seeing and absorbing will stay with you for a lifetime.  We saw tourists come, spend just a tad bit of time, take pictures and leave.  Please don’t do that.  Plan to spend a half a day, hiking the area, swimming and just sitting back, enjoying a nice lunch al fresco before heading back to city life.  I’ve tried to capture our adventure in pictures below.

Since we had family living in Oman, we chose to drive here from Muscat.  You could rent a car and drive out on your own or take one of the tours offered by the many local tour companies.  The only risk, as we discovered with driving, is that the mountains interfere with the GPS signal and you need to allocate plenty of time to get here.

If you choose to take a tour, here’s a link to one from Viator:

Visit Wadi Bani Khalid

 

Ten ways the San Francisco MOMA made me weak in my knees and fall in love at first sight!

It is quite a disservice to any museum, but especially one as rich (defining rich here not just by the collections, but the thinking that went into the design) as the San Francisco MOMA to pick just a few things as highlights.  Isn’t beauty in the eyes of the beholder? What holds appeal to me may not be “the” thing that attracts another person. However, given that this was love at first sight, I can’t help but gush about a few things that struck me. So here in no particular order, is a photo essay (with captions) capturing how the SF MOMA wooed me over.

Pick up all you need to know about the SF MOMA here.

Walking the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco; A Photoessay

She is an undisputed beauty, one that has been a constant presence in welcoming me with her outstretched arms from up in the air and down on land, during my many visits to San Francisco.  So, it was just a matter of time before I showed my respect and gratitude by arriving at her doorstep.

With family ensconsed in the area and more frequent visits, it was time to propel this iconic visit to the top of my bucket list.  So on a beautiful August morning, armed with just the right amount of Golden Gate Bridge tips, we ubered it over to the South End of the bridge.

She is a beauty up close for sure.  Yes, all those jaw dropping pictures of her, omnipresent across social media are real! And she is indeed proof of being one of those perfect places where the marvels of engineering meet the gifts of nature.

The books and websites caution you to keep aside several hours to traverse her length and to turn back halfway if you don’t have enough time.  My personal take? Please don’t turn around.  Please take the time to walk the entire length of the Golden Gate bridge.  As you can see from the pictures below, this is “THE” way in which you can marvel at the wonder and beauty created by the juxtaposition of one of the most beautiful man-made objects set against the jaw dropping beauty of the city of San Francisco.  There are some beautiful pictures to capture here, but if you are not carrying a spare battery for your phone, you may want to space your picture-taking along the walk.

We took our time, pausing to admire the views, staring intently at the power of the cables holding the bridge and of course soaking in the conversations and energy from families, intense joggers and laid back bikers sharing our walk.  It was a beautiful experience, almost surreal, and I hope I was able to transmit the feelings of contentment and gratitude to the icon who has been a constant on my visits to the area.

We’d love to hear about your most memorable bridge crossings on foot, bike and beyond!

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