Muscat, Oman – 16 March 2019 – Wetskills Water Challenge Day 1
By Bobby Leijgraaf (Water Authority Delfland) & Ajin Kuttithara Janardhanan (ARCADIS United Arab Emirates)
Not long after ordering a curry for breakfast at the restaurant near our hotel, Dr. Achmed walked in and introduced himself. Upcoming days he would be assisting us on behave of the Sultan Qaboos University. He gently told us to hurry, for the bus was already waiting upfront. Hastily we ate our plates and went outside.
It’s the first day of the Wetskills program and today we’ll explore some of Muscat’s surrounding scenery. In front of the restaurant the participants are starting to gather. Unacquainted with the majority of them, we meet and greet for a first impression. Once in the bus everyone gets the opportunity to briefly introduce themselves and their passion for water, after which Dr. Achmed enthusiastically urged us to mingle mingle mingle.
In the end of the day we would have visited Nakhal Fort and Hazm Castle, sparking our imagination on how life used to be in the old days of the Sultanate. Most of us have to get used to the warm and dry air, so we were happy to find some refreshment at Al Kasfah sping, or so we thought. A 60°C hot-spring with crystal clear water displaying a kaleidoscopic range of colours awaited us. Supposed healing powers lured us into learning a true Omani tradition.
Our final stop, Al Thawarah, provided us with stunning views of towering golden-brown mountains rising up from a largely the dried up riverbed. Truly amazed with the serenity of this well hidden oasis, we processed all days impressions while enjoying a nice cup of coffee. On the way back we mingled a little more, whereafter we called it a day. An exciting day!