Blogs from Muscat, Oman, Middle East

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Middle East » Oman » Muscat January 20th 2015

This morning we woke to watch the sunrise over Jebel Shams, a mountain range 3000 meters above sea level in the Western Hajar mountains, the peace and serenity is to die for! We have had a trendous time in Oman and being our last blog, we have decided to include various highlights from our trip here. We returned to the Sultan's Palace and did a wonderful day trip to Al Seifa, a seaside village and tourist spot with my Uncle. With a friend, my Aunty and I visited the Grand Mosque in Muscat, but we were deemed inappropriately dressed, as my sleeves were too short and Aunty Bern's white trousers too see through! Hmmm! This being the case we had to hire abajas and of course it is always necessary to wear a scarf when you ... read more
Sultan's Palace
The Grand Mosque
Dressing up with Aunty Bern

Middle East » Oman » Muscat December 21st 2014

We momentarily left UAE and headed to Oman. We are in Muscat, a gulf city on the coast, enjoying beautiful weather, gorgeous architecture, fantastic food and more shopping than you can shake a camel stick at! Our visit to the Old Souq at Mutrah turned into a day long excursion that included people watching, strolling along the corniche and lots and lots of shopping. The wares consisted of the usual suspects: jewels, pashminas, tacky souvenirs and "handmade antique one-of-a kind" items that seem to be in every shop. Omani currency is the Rial, and 1 Rial is the equivalent of about $2.60. Prices were reasonable and food seemed somewhat cheaper than in the Midwest. Despite the reasonable prices, cash turned out to be a barrier in Oman. We had money, but it was almost impossible to ... read more
Too Many Choices
Arabic Coffee Pots
Pottery Among the Bedouin Carpets

Middle East » Oman » Muscat December 21st 2014

Muscat Started with a visit to the magnificent Grand Mosque. It’s quite new and has a stunning main prayer hall with massive chandelier, beautiful tiles and the world’s second largest Persian carpet that was also beautiful. The outside is vast, many shady courtyards and big lawns, a peaceful place. Mutrahis the heart of the traditional area with its corniche that goes between the souq and Old Muscat. Had lunch at an old watchtower on the corniche, (later to discover that these are absolutely everywhere in Oman). Walked along the waterfront into Old Muscat, not at all lively, government buildings and a big palace. On the rocks that create the harbor for the palace there’s writing dating back centuries from ships visiting the harbour, clearly some British HMS … Apparently this is called the “Sultan’s Visitor’s Book”. ... read more
View from watchtower
Qantab
Muscat from hike int he hills

Middle East » Oman » Muscat December 20th 2014

It has been a strange struggle trying to acces technology on this trip. The technology itself is readily available--wifi and internet services abound. The unexpected situation has been trying to access our accounts. When we arrived in Abu Dhabi, we nonchanlantly thought we would check our emails and quickly realized we were denied access. We tried logging in on Kyle's iPad and again on the computers provided by the hotel, but each time we received a message we could not log in because we were using a device or logging in from a location we had not used before. This has never been an issue on any of our previous trips, so we are unsure if this is a new practice or if this was related to our location. We were instructed to complete a survey ... read more
Toto, I don't think we are in Kansas anymore...

Middle East » Oman » Muscat December 19th 2014

Arriving The journey to Muscat was easy once we were in the airport, but dealing with Doha’s new airport did not prove the simple task we had anticipated. The problem lay with the very new and free long-term parking. Despite being completed only a few months ago it was full. We couldn’t quite believe the security guards who told us this, so drove up and down every row until quite convinced that there wasn’t one parking spot left for us. Dilemma; drive all the way home and call a taxi, oh but wait taxis normally say they’ll be with you in 3 hours time, if you’re lucky, or pay for short-term parking which is priced per hour. Quick thinking on the mad dash out of the airport was to park at he Marriott Hotel just outside ... read more

Middle East » Oman » Muscat September 18th 2014

Currently in transit waiting for our connecting flight to Kathmandu. Oman airline is the best airline I have ever flown with. Staff are so friendly plane was comfy (helped it was empty) loads of freebies and the food was good too. Currently in the Plaza lounge at Muscat airport it's 10am here (7am back home) we've had a nice hot shower have a free buffet and as many drinks as we like. Was able to have a 3 hour sleep on plane and an hour snooze here in the lounge. I'm managed to get a towel as I forgot to pack one! Drip! Flight for Kathmandu leaves at 12:35. Xxxx... 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

Middle East » Oman » Muscat » Muttrah May 14th 2013

After all the glitz of the United Arab Emirates it is such a contrast to arrive in the sleepy Sultanate of Oman. This fairytale kingdom is ruled by Sultan Qaboos bin Said who has done a good job of preserving the unique essence of the country while slowly moving it into the 21stCentury. Oman was a closed country until the mid-1990s. Now education is encouraged and Oman has one of the few Arabian female ministers in its government. The Sultan maintains good relations with both the United States and Great Britain. Omanis are in a dither though because their 72 year old monarch has no heirs to the throne. So it is uncertain who will carry on the Said dynasty. We arrived on Friday which is a holy day for Moslems so we had to make ... read more
MUTTRAH FORT
BEAUTIFUL BAZAAR OFFERINGS
SULTAN QABOOS' YACHT

Middle East » Oman » Muscat April 17th 2013

April 16th, cruised all day and night and a half day on the 17tharriving in Muscat, Oman at 1:00 pm. It took us a day and a half to cross the top of the Arabian Sea and then into the Gulf of Oman. What a mountainous, bleak, arid looking land off the port side of our ship. I had expected flat desert; instead, it is volcanic jagged peaks right down to the water line. Oman’s civilization dates back 5,000 years. In Biblical times, it was the center of the frankincense trade, which was more valuable than gold during the time of Christ. We pulled into Muscat, the capitol of Oman, where we had about a 7-hour stop to look around. The small bay we docked in gave us the impression that Muscat was a small city ... read more
1304-227 Flour factory near port
1304-228 Gates on highway going out of town
1304-229 HSBC's bank in Oman

Middle East » Oman » Muscat » Muttrah December 12th 2012

RUBBISH A friend of mine who has spent a deal of time in this region described the Omani people to me as "the hippies of the gulf". I didn't notice any peace sign neck chains, dreadlocks or groups of locals sitting around eating bird seed and smoking numbers whilst discussing the kaleidoscope of colours on the domes of mosques. I do however see some merit in the simile with the general kick back nature of the populace. There's no wild antics, animated gesticulating or hints of aggressive behaviour, as if they have been inhaling a few of those less than licit substances. There's even a semblance of sanity in the traffic. Good news is no news. That's why you have probably never seen Oman occupying the headlines of international media. Flying under the radar is a ... read more
Mutrah souk
Wadi Tiwi
The Corniche Mutrah




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