Blogs from Oman, Middle East

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Middle East » Oman » Dakhliya » Nizwa April 18th 2014

This fortnight, being a school holiday gave us the opportunity to explore beyond Muscat and it’s neighbouring settlements. We decided to move inland and visit the souk at Niswa, Oman’s second city. To get the best from your visit you need to arrive at a time normally reserved for breakfast and an early shower, so we decided to stay overnight in a local hotel to make the early start more comfortable. We were not disappointed. The hotel was more than comfortable, with a clean and inviting pool, in which to relax, after the journey from Muscat. On the way we stopped off at Wadi Qari, which promised to be a gem of a find. In order to access the wadi you must walk along the falaj. Normally this would not be a problem, until it crosses ... read more
The falaj.....
A bridge too far........
The Fort at Bahla.....

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......

Middle East » Oman » Muscat » Muttrah March 29th 2014

Any drive along the new highways of Muscat will provide evidence of one of the strong features of this growing country. The city is expanding at a rapid rate and new building projects, with tall, spindly cranes dominate the view from almost any angle. The urban architecture is characterised by grand buildings, with strong lines of symmetry and bold shapes that thrust into the sky. Simplicity is the key to these designs. The completed buildings host a range of businesses, hospitals, clinics and government offices. Standing proudly on their own plots, these shining new additions to the urban landscape are often surrounded by ample parking facilities, which are often dusty and ironically, without much form or design. This morning we visited one of two prestigious buildings, here in Muscat, the Opera House. Access is easy via ... read more
Cool, covered walkways....
Shade from the sun....
Lavish decorations....

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Middle East » Oman » Muscat » Muttrah March 21st 2014

The night air is still. Sounds carry and drift across the darkness. The rhythmic chirping of the cicada forms a quiet background against which the night is set. The light from the citronella candles casts a soft glow across our balcony that looks out across the new golf course to the sea. It has been a good day. It is acknowledged by quiet contemplation and the normal “catch up” via WiFi of all things that matter in this digital world. Later we will head for sleep and the next day. For me, a glass of Scotland’s finest beverage, whilst a glass of rich, red wine suffices for others. Together, they ease the pressures of the day from our tired bodies. We achieved a major milestone with the issuing of our Citizen Cards, without which, so little ... read more
Minarets ......
Ancient doors......
Ancient towers and forts......

Middle East » Oman » Muscat » Muttrah March 17th 2014

The promised storm did not materialise. There is disappointment as there is some curiosity to see the wadis suddenly fill with water and turn from dry bed to a flowing river. Geography studies at school had covered such events, but up until now there had been no direct experience. Here, such events are taken very seriously and can often be a threat to life if appropriate precautions are not taken. It is not unusual for schools and roads to close when it rains, such is the ferocity of the storms and the danger they bring. We are in a constant loop trying to achieve some normality. The arrival of more furniture on Friday means we can now occupy our lovely home. We abandoned our apartment with some joy, not that it was inadequate in any way, ... read more
The Beach
Ancient Fishing Boats
Mountains and Sea

Middle East » Oman » Muscat » Muttrah March 11th 2014

Home Delivery - Oman Style The furniture for our new house is starting to arrive and once a critical point is reached we shall be able to abandon our temporary apartment and take up residence in our new home. That should start to feel a lot like normality. As you move forward, you inevitably takes steps back and the last two days provide a perfect example. The delivery date for dining room furniture had been agreed. I waited alone for the van to arrive. I suppose it doesn’t help that there are two streets with the same name in close proximity. As time went on doubts started to swirl in my head. Did I understand the man at the pay desk in the store? Did I enter the correct details into the diary in my phone? ... read more

Middle East » Oman » Muscat » Muttrah March 9th 2014

The days die quickly in Oman. The soft pink glow of a late afternoon that bathes the city soon descends into the total blackness of night. Towards the end of Saturday afternoon we made our way by foot towards the Beach Road, a popular location for local families seeking the pleasures of the the seaside with a wide sandy beach complete with umbrellas and other beach furniture.We chose the road that led from the roundabout that climbs past what I have named Fisherman's Cove, to the hotel that sits upon the cliff at the end of the bay. We sat outside on the terrace, sipping drinks as the sun set behind the circling mountains and hills. In the ... read more

Middle East » Oman » Muscat March 9th 2014

I’d fancied a trip to Oman for a while. From afar it seemed to have the good points of the Middle East without the bad. Apparently, ex-pats who live and work in this part of the world do indeed know Oman as “Middle East Lite”. But that title is perhaps not doing it justice. Oman has enough qualities to make it worth a visit and not just because it compares well to its neighbours. What attracted me were Oman’s high and spectacular mountain scenery, its beautiful sandy desert, and fantastic diving among lost shipwrecks and stunning reefs. Unfortunately I never got to see any of that. So this blog is a story of what might’ve been and wasn’t. The plan had been to hire a car, drive around the country, see the sights; we never did ... read more
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat
Muttrah Corniche, Muscat
Oman Dive Centre, Muscat




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