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Published: September 8th 2007
Sultan's Palace sidewalk
Fernando's geometric passion!
Crossing the border gave us a strange sensation, after a burning-hot sun in Yemen we arrived in a cold, foggy place. We couldn't see more than 20 meters away. What made us wander around a lot until we could find the Oman immigration office. The place was almost deserted. Besides the police officer we could find only some Saudi's going for the Khareef season in Salalah or a few Omanis going to Yemen to enjoy some Qat, which is forbidden in Oman. After spending around 6 hours in the border trying to get a lift to Salalah (Saudis are not hitchhiking friendly)
we surrender to the only and expensive bus that crossed the border that day. Salalah is the heaven on earth for the Arabs, the monsoon coming from India during the 3 months of summer, brings to the region a cold and foggy clima - Ahhh, the weather is so nice, I come from Riyadh every year for my holidays! - Told us a Saudi Arabian with a big smile in his face (I imagine what would happen if he visits London...)
Oman has an impressive history. When the actual sultan (Qaboos) came to power 30 years ago, the
Muskat old city gate
Until 30 years ago used to be closed every night!
country had only 10 km of paved roads, two hospitals, two missionaries' primary schools and no secondary school. Changing the trend of the previous Sultan of only accumulating for himself the money from petrol revenues, Sultan Qaboos invested in his country. Today Oman is impressive, the road network is remarkable, schools, universities and hospitals are all over the country. People are getting better educated and with a better life standard day by day. Crime is somthing very rare. - Who would still a car in Oman? - Laughed the attendant when we trying to rent a car asked about the insurance.
Salalah was a quick visit, after just one day we headed to Muscat in an overnight bus.
Due to our delay, Maria, that we were supposed to meet in Dubai, had to come to meet us in Muscat (We are never on time!!)
. Our Emirates visa, that we tough was easy to obtain, was a nightmare. But gave us extra time in Oman, that we profited by visiting more of the country. When we realize that rent a car and go bush camping was cheaper than the cheapest accommodation, we didn't think twice. Even more with Omani fuel
Sultan Qaboos’ Palace
Claudio and Maria over the super shinning granite floor! How do they keep so clean???
prices, US$0.30 for the litter. We rented a car for 3 days and went exploring the country's east.
By the coast line we drove to Wadi Shab, exploring during hours this amazing valley and its beautiful river and rock formation. The water was clean and we couldn't resist swimming, in stunning turquoise color natural pools.
After the Wadi we drove to Ras al Jinz, arriving right on time to watch the sea turtles digging their nests and laying their eggs. They are huge, and the holes they leave on the beach, makes the scenario in the next morning look like a battle field with bomb holes and tank tracks all around.
The day after camping in the turtle nature reserve we went to explore the desert. We were very cautious in the sand with our little 2wd sedan until we met Bas Snoep (Netherlands) and his french friend in their 4wd Land Cruiser. With their support, we were brave enought to drive more than 8km into the desert and over the sand dunes. Thanks to Bas full equipped car we had one of the most luxurious camping ever. Tents, table, grill, stove, carpet, fire and food, lots of food.
The Sultan Palace
Hey girls, take the chance, Sultan Qaboos is single!
Delicacies like Mediterranean olives, beef steaks, etc.
Next day we returned to Muscat, to collect our Iranian visa and to discover that we would have to fly to Dubai, once the f... Emirates e-visa couldn't be used at the land border.
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