A Weekend in Oman

A Weekend in Oman

Last July I spent a weekend in Oman. This was a sort of last minute holiday that I agreed to go on with a friend of mine that likes to go scuba diving. It wasn’t somewhere that I knew a lot about, nor was it somewhere I’d ever thought about visiting. Actually, when Craig suggested the holiday to me, I had to Google Oman to see where the place was. I’m sure you’re much more clued up than me, and that you know exactly where it is. But, if you haven’t been, I’m betting you probably don’t know it like me. I want to tell you about my weekend in Oman; you never know, you might fancy popping over on your next holiday. I hope you do. I also apologise in advance, because neither myself nor Craig are much for cameras, so I don’t have any photos. Hopefully I can paint you a vivid picture with my words.

Thursday Night –‘ The Kebab’

Thursday afternoon had been a sweaty, sleep-addled nightmare on the plane journey over from London Gatwick. So mine and Craig’s first night was always going to be a slightly slower affair than the rest of the holiday. The first thing that struck me when we got off the plane was the heat. It’s pretty extreme, but a lot more comfortable than the humid heat I experienced when I was in Mexico. We were starving – so we went to the first restaurant we found (which I’ve forgotten the name of, I’m sorry) and didn’t even look at the menu at the door. It turned out to be a Turkish restaurant and I had the best kebab I’ve ever had. I wish I’d remembered the name of the place, because I’d love to go back. But we’d went there at the start, before I knew what we were doing, so I can’t really remember how we found it. We went for a short walk around the incredibly picturesque city centre, before heading back to the hotel for the night.

Friday – Life Aquatic…

Scuba diving was the main reason why Craig wanted to go to Oman. He’s been all over the world snorkelling and scuba diving, and he’d been to Qatar last year and had heard that Oman had some of the most beautiful dives out there. We spent the morning on a sort of training thing in a swimming pool and the whole afternoon was spent either on a boat, skirting about the little islands around the coast, or in the deep blue, marvelling at all the weird and wonderful things. I really enjoyed it, but I’d only sort of scuba dived once before, so I don’t really have much to compare it to. Craig said it was brilliant, and that it was different to anywhere he’d dived. He didn’t say it was the best place he’d dived, but I think he liked it a lot. You can read a bit of information about scuba diving in Oman on Surfacewatch.

Saturday – Aimless Wandering at its Finest…with a bit of culture

Craig had another day of diving set up for himself, but, being a beginner, I was left to explore Muscat and get a feel for the place. In the morning, I just lazed around the hotel as I was knackered from all the swimming the day before. Then, as hunger struck I ventured out to a restaurant called D’Arcy’s Kitchen that the hotel concierge recommended to me. The food was lovely, but it’ll never beat ‘The Kebab’ I had on Thursday. Then I visited the Omani Heritage Gallery, which was right beside the restaurant. I was running low of money, but luckily Travelex came to the rescue. They really are everywhere. You can have a look at the exchange rates for the Omani Riyal to see how the pound, dollar or euro is doing. Wallet filled, I pottered about the beautiful city and bought a few souvenirs before meeting up with Craig back at the hotel for 5. This was our last night, so we decided to take a big walk around Muscat and really get a feel for the place. We were starting to know our way around, and my wanderings earlier had made me the tour guide. We found another random Turkish place with an inferior kebab and we went back to the hotel. Our flight was early in the morning.

I loved my time in Oman, and it sticks in my mind as this strange little place unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been. If you like scuba diving, then it’s definitely worth a visit. I suspect it might get a little boring if you were there for 2 weeks, but I definitely could have stayed a day or two longer and seen a bit more of it.

The Harbour at Muscat, courtesy of http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Oman_Muscat_Muttrah.jpg

The Harbour at Muscat, courtesy of http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Oman_Muscat_Muttrah.jpg

With Aesop Tales and Arabian Nights in Dubai

Vast desert land with hot sand beneath the feet and hot sun above the head, some date palms here and there, and a camel wandering alone in the desert, this is Dubai. The scenes from the Aesop tales came into my mind when the company asked me to pack up for this city for an official engagement. The unforgettable experience of reading Arabian Nights also came back into my memories. I was quite thrilled to visit this mesmerizing desert land.

Being an official trip, the first step was to purchase tickets with low fares. Being an international trade center and a prominent tourist place, especially for shopping, there are a large number of visitors coming to the city throughout the year. Hence the major global carriers like Air France etc are operating in this sector.

When moving from the airport to the city, I witnessed the developments that have happened in this desert city in past few decades. The streets that are lighted with neon lamps, beautifully decorated hoardings and the blinking lights of the vehicles on the street together created a heavenly look for the city. Though the land is considered a bit orthodox by the westerners, I could see people who were wearing latest fashion apparels and leading modern lifestyle. Today, this destination has become a most developed city in the world. Tourists coming here through cheap flights to Dubai love to enjoy their vacations in this city.

There are many cheap tickets plying their services to this city from other parts of Arabian land. We decided to visit some close by places that are also popular from tourism point of view using these airlines.

As I went to this place on an official mission, the first few days had to be spent on work. Still I was quite able to enjoy the city life in the evenings. I really enjoyed being a part of the crowd that flows through the streets of Dubai. Most of the people are coming here for shopping. With quite a good number of duty free shops, things are quite cheap here and the stringent law insists to maintain certain level of quality for the products being sold in this city. Thus it has become a perfect place for shopping from all over the world. After the introduction of cheap tickets to Dubai by many airlines, more and more people are coming here from all parts of the world for shopping. Thus tourism also contributes a major amount to its economy along with the petrodollars.