Beautiful Salalah

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Middle East » Oman » Dhofar
November 7th 2019
Published: November 9th 2019
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It is 25 degrees and rising and it is only 8am. We are in Oman at the huge port of Salalah. We stood on the quayside as the waiting coaches and cars pulled away. We had booked this tour ourselves on line in the UK and were worried no one would come. Our driver and guide for the morning, Abdul, finally arrived at 9am. He whisked us through the port and drove down town to the heart of the city which is being slowly modernised by a progressive Sultan who has introduced free education and health care for all. Since he came to the throne in 1970, he has achieved a lot and is loved by his people. Our first stop was at the Grand Mosque which is only 8 years old and took 4 to build. It is built of lovely pale coloured stone and has a huge green patterned Persian carpet inside. After this Abdul decided to drive up into the mountains to see Job's tomb. The countryside is much prettier than in Egypt and Oman is envied for its greenness especially in April. This attracts many visitors from the other dry arid Middle East countries. We have to stop many times to allow camels to cross the road. They are all munching on the trees at the side of the road. Job's tomb is not that impressive but it is worth going to just to see the countryside. After we descend back into the City and briefly see the Palace on the way to a stop at the Sook for a bit of shopping. Oman is famous for its Frankincense, which it exports all over the world. We didn't buy any though every stall was selling it. Our final stop was at the Al Baleed Archaeological Site. We were supposed to be taken round on a golf cart. We hung around for a while but no one came to take us so Abdul persuaded a security guard to drive us and Abdul did the explanation. It is a huge site a lot of which still has to be excavated. It was a very large ancient city which was discovered accidentally. There is a museum attached which contains many artefacts that were found and explains about the Maritime history of Oman and it's Frankincense trade. Abdul showed us one of the trees from which the stuff is taken. It was time to return to the ship. Our lovely guide didn't even expect to be tipped. All the Omanis we came across during the morning were friendly and helpful and we felt this was a safe country to be in. This fact was borne out by some guests who had lived here in the past. We are now bound for Dubai via the Straits of Hormuz. Sadly our SAS guys have left the ship now we are out of pirate country. The good news is that we finally came first in Trivia and we had a Team dinner to celebrate.

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