Blogs from Muscat, Oman, Middle East

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Middle East » Oman » Muscat » Muttrah June 22nd 2014

A dull ache reaches into every corner of my body and is a constant reminder that the previous two days were spent attending a sailing course. It needed active participation, in what I consider to be some quite gruelling physical activities. By contrast, those lucky enough to attach the word "youth" to a description of themselves, found it quite easy. It just shows you what age does to a body. Determined to experience the delights of sailing again, having been given a taster when, I was, indeed a youth, I had signed up for a course to learn to sail Laser Dinghies. For those who know their sailing, they would probably agree, these small boats are very light, easy to manoeuvre and when handled correctly extremely fast. This also means, that in inexperienced hands they are ... read more
Not a lot of wind.....
Through the surf......
Yeah, I know.....

Middle East » Oman » Muscat » Muttrah June 16th 2014

It has been just over 12 months since first setting foot in Oman and four months since coming to live here. Twelve months ago, although excited about the prospect of the project, there was still a great deal of reservation in our minds. In fairness, this was largely based on our previous experience in what we thought was a similar country. Of course, in realty it turns out to be quite different, which only goes to prove the old adage that you must judge each case on it's merits. We have been made most welcome by our host country. A sense of calmness, dignity and honesty ripples through every aspect of life here. There are some parts that perhaps cause a challenge but it's easier to deal with these by remembering that if you make an ... read more
Wadi Arbiyyin
The beach at As Sifah
Tough trees

Middle East » Oman » Muscat » Muttrah June 2nd 2014

Some months ago, when visiting the cemeteries of the Great War in northern France and Belgium, it was difficult to know precisely which country you were in, as there were no customs, or check points in the border areas. On many roads, there wastn't even a sign to indicate your transition from one country to the next. The counties of England make more of an effort as you are welcomed into Kent or Essex or wherever your travels take you, from one administrative area to the next. But here in the Middle East, the border crossings on the roads are marked with elaborate buildings and even more elaborate procedures. We were about to find just how elaborate as we headed north along the coast out of Muscat towards the border with the United Arab Emirates (UAE). ... read more
Life in the desert.....
The long and winding road....
Ugly or what......

Middle East » Oman » Muscat » Muttrah May 22nd 2014

So sang the great Otis Reading, and here I sit, perched on a wicker chair, under an a bamboo awning, facing out to sea, reflecting on the scene that unfolds, just as Otis did, all those years ago. In the distance, slightly to the right, sits the magnificent island of Al Fahal. Shaped like a home made baked loaf of bread it's uneven shape catches the sun to create light shades of yellows, pinks and browns, whilst the shaded areas are, by contrast characterised by deep shadows which define it's unique shape. ... read more
Catching the sun.....
The sun has gone......
Riding at anchor......

Middle East » Oman » Muscat » Muttrah May 16th 2014

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking. These powerful and evocative words by the former Poet Laureate, John Masefield paint a clear picture of the salty spume, gently rolling and rising bef... read more
That's some rigging......
In sepia.....
Wood and rope.....

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Middle East » Oman » Muscat » Muttrah May 2nd 2014

If I had been asked before leaving the UK what I expected to see once outside of the built up areas of Oman, I think my answer could be summarised by the words, desert and sand dunes. Whilst such terrain can be found inland and further south, it is the arid mountains with fertile wadis that greet the visitor as you travel south from the capital. The road south from Muscat hugs the coast until you eventually reach As Sifah, an ancient settlement at the end of the coast road. Effectively, no further progress can made in a southerly direction from this point. To travel further south in Oman, you need to drive inland to pick up the main road, and this connects Muscat with the rest of the country. As Sifah has recently seen the ... read more
Hotel by the marina
Dhow in the marina
On the beach

Middle East » Oman » Muscat » Muttrah April 25th 2014

By seven p.m. it is pitch dark. Only the floodlights illuminating the cliff face gave any light upon the bay, now given over to the turtles and their needs. Where earlier, families and couples had relaxed on the wide grass bank that backs the sandy beach at the hotel resort, it was now silent save for the breaking waves that lapped the shoreline. We picked our way past empty sun beds and redundant umbrellas, to the steps that access the beach and felt the soft sand sink, as our footsteps marked our trail across the beach. We found an empty sun bed and sat and waited. The light shone on the wet sand at the water's edge and ... read more
Turtle

Middle East » Oman » Muscat » Muttrah April 15th 2014

It took some courage to finally place a brand new camera into the sea. Of course that is what it is designed to do so it really shouldn't be a problem, but the actual moment was still a little daunting. But success. No bubbles emerged and it did what it said on the tin! Having established that it was indeed fit for purpose the stage was set to take some fish photographs. The sea was filled with a range of brightly coloured swimmers who didn't care so much for the imposition of the photographer and swam away as soon as you spotted something worthwhile. It will take a bit of practice to master the underwater shots that are designed to create images already in my mind but are proving much more difficult to secure in reality. ... read more
Turtle 2
Turtle 3
Turtle 4

Middle East » Oman » Muscat » Muttrah April 13th 2014

As the sun starts it’s slow descent towards the horizon the heat of the day dies too. Reaching 37oC today, such a high temperature starts to impact upon how you manage the day. The local custom of rising early to conduct business, before taking a long mid day break, followed by an active evening, becomes a necessity rather than a quaint custom that can be ignored if you’re not from round here. By late afternoon a family had made it’s way to the beach, two young twin boys, their older sister and parents set up station just a few years above the tide line. Here the sand was perfect for all the things young children desire and a series of essential toys spread before them, waiting their pleasure. The heat was now fading, and the sea ... read more
The Palace of Al Alam....
Neat and tidy
Surrounding Jebels...

Middle East » Oman » Muscat » Muttrah April 5th 2014

Being a Friday, it has been strangely quiet as the building sites that surround us lay still and silent for the weekend break. We decide to abandon any further progress on building up our home, in favour of seeing something of this mystical and charming country. Consulting a map we decide on a route and after a slow start to the day we head for the mountains. First, we must travel north along the coast road and past the airport, to find the road that heads inland. The traffic is lighter than normal and this makes for a relaxed start to our adventure. As we make our way towards the mountains we cross the Tropic of Cancer. There ... read more
The river of life.....
An Oasis in the desert.....
Families......




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