Blogs from Oman, Middle East

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Middle East » Oman » Sharqiya June 28th 2014

The eve of Ramadan being a Saturday gave the opportunity to travel out of Muscat once again and explore a little more of this fascinating country. It is now very hot and in just a few days we will be heading for the UK for much cooler climes. We see on the UK TV that temperatures in the Midlands have been as low as 12, 13 and 14oC this week, with heavy rain showers. Quite a contrast to the heavy heat here in Oman, which drenches you with the humidity as well as baking you in the heat. Somehow with acclimatisation and air conditioning, the expected challenge of the summer heat has not been the ogre once feared. We also know, that we can look forward to some very pleasant weather, come the months that follow ... read more
Ancient doorways.......
Not sure what we see here......
Timbers fall.....

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 » Dhofar » Salalah May 31st 2014

I wish I could say I slept better, but the hard beds caused me to wake around 3 am. I had to get up and walk around my room for a while. I was looking forward to seeing the stars, but it was quite hazy out. If I were ever to come here again, I would love to go into the mountains to see the night sky... In the morning, I woke and tried to book my return flight from Dubai to Doha and what a nightmare that turned out to be! I stood on the balcony one last time to listen to the waves and see the beautiful beach and I noticed a man in orange coveralls, picking up all the trash on the beach. We had seen a similar guy picking up the trash ... read more
Frankencense Trail
Mughsayl blowholes
Crashing waves

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Middle East » Oman » Dhofar » Salalah May 30th 2014

"Do you hear that?" "Hear what?" "Exactly! Silence! No beeping!" One of the things we noticed about Salalah, and one that speaks volumes of the people there, was the complete lack of beeps. No cars honking, nobody tailgating you and flashing their lights trying to run you off the road. People were very content to wait and to let you find your way. I tell you, if you have not experienced a daily commute in the Middle East, you don't know how touching this small token of hospitality is. We commented constantly about it, like when we would go around a roundabout three or four times trying to find the right road. Or when there was some kind of procession on the major freeway at night, there were no beeps - people waited their turn to ... read more
Camels actually swimming!!!
Camel ridge
Private beach

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.....

Middle East » Oman » Sharqiya » Sur May 11th 2014

The last time the word "brutal" was used in this blog to describe the weather, we were in the deep freeze known as New England and it was the depth of winter. Yesterday, the same word was used to describe the complete opposite weather conditions. We were experiencing the intense heat of the mid day sun in the Arabian peninsula. The breeze that did exist, only made it feel like a fan assisted oven. Maurice Jarre, the French composer, who penned the music to David Lean's film, Lawrence of Arabia, entitled the piece that accompanies Lawrence across the desert, as The Anvil. Yesterday we felt those conditions. We were located on the coastal plan, a flat, arid landscape that links the coast with the towering mountains that parallels the coast south towards Sur. The bare earth ... read more
The rocky coast line.......
Sink hole with.....
The perfect spot for......

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




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