One day last month, after visiting Nakhal Fort, we ventured just a bit down the narrow twisting road to Ayn A’Thawarah – a small hot springs which originates in Jebel Nakhal. Ayn means “spring” and thawarah means “boiling”, but the water is just pleasantly warm. It is said to have medicinal properties. It flows through a series of small pools, and then onward through the village where is provides water for both the people and the date palms for which the town of Nakhal is named.
In the pools we found hundreds of tiny fish… which were only too happy to indulge us in the latest rage…. a fish pedicure. You pay for the privilege of dangling your feet in a fish tank while the fish (toothless) nibble off all the dead skin. And we got it for free, just by wading into the water. It really tickles. I had a photo of my feet with at least 50 of these 1 1/2″ fish working hard to give me lovely, soft tootsies…. alas, the photo was on the camera that I lost.
We finally decided enough was enough… even for free, and began to make our way back to the cars. As it was a Friday, it was pretty crowded with bathers and picnickers alike, relaxing and enjoying the lovely day. We stopped to talk to an Omani family. The young man insisted that we take a photo of him and his small son… and a brother or cousin or something joined in as well. The men and children love to have their photo taken, but the women stay clear, usually. They laughed with us at our few words of Arabic, and tried to teach us more.
And then, as it was about lunchtime, they gave us a heaping plate of Maqbous, a traditional Omani dish of rice and chicken and saffron, cooked together. It was delicious. I’m afraid that by the time the plate got to the men, it wasn’t heaping any more.
Thanks to Dawn Ewen, again, for her photos. They follow in a slide show.