Archive for the ‘Oman’ Category

Oh man, I love Oman!

March 24, 2010

Oman has turned out to be a wonderful surprise! This country has an amazing feel to it. I don’t exactly know what it is, but I like it.

I arrived yesterday in Muscat and took a taxi to the Mutrah district (Muscat is basically three cities that all grew together). The people were incredibly friendly from the first encounter. They all pointed me in the direction of the Mutrah Souq (bazaar/market) and the waterfront. I killed a few hours shopping around and taking pictures, before grabbing one of the best meals of my life. I ordered a seafood plate (as it was pretty much the only thing that I could eat at this restaurant. What came was a pile of food. I’ll get the pictures uploaded as soon as I can, but let me tell you: Omanis love calories. I don’t know what the country ranks on the body mass rankings, but they aren’t small people.

This morning I went to visit the big mosque here in Muscat. I was told that it is the biggest mosque outside of Saudi Arabia. I’m not sure about that claim but it was incredibly impressive. There are two mosques actually. The first mosque was nice, but not over the top (this was for the women). The second, however, was amazing. It was big. The ornate decorations inside and outside were very detailed. Non-Muslims are typically not able to enter moques (especially special mosques such as this one), so I was very excited to hear that they allow foreigners inside. They lay a carpet down on top of the floor so foreigners don’t actually walk on the floor, thus making it okay. Again, I’ll try to get the picture up as soon as I can.

Tomorrow I head back to Dubai, this time to actually see Dubai! I am excited to see all the things there are to see in the UAE. I did (when trying to find the bus pickup site for Oman) catch a glimpse, through the haze, of the Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world). It is giant and looming. I’m excited…

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Dubai to Muscat

March 22, 2010

I made it back to Dubai and I am taking a day to relax before hopping the bus tomorrow at 7:00am to Oman. The idea was that today was going to be a relaxing day.
It took me about an hour to find a bus company, another 2 hours to walk there/find the place (it wasn’t as obviously marked as it should have been), and another 3 minutes to complete the purchase and receive my ticket. I’m going back to the hotel to go to bed early before my 6 hour bus ride…

Goodbye Africa

March 20, 2010

Tonight I am heading back to the Middle East for 9 days before returning to San Francisco. Erik left the night before last, and I feel like I have seen the sights of Addis. I’ll fly back to Dubai tonight and arrive around 1:00am, then tomorrow I’ll take a bus to Muscat, Oman. The drive should be 4 hours with no sights except sand to see. Oman is at the south-eastern most part of the Arabian Peninsula and borders Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and the UAE. I’m excited about getting to see more of the Middle East than just Dubai. It’s kind of like the equivalent of going to Las Vegas and believing you’ve seen the US.

Yesterday I went to find some liquor. I love bringing home local libations. Whenever you want to travel the world, you can hop a flight to your liquor cabinet. The idea was to score some Tej (next time you want a laugh, ask me to try to pronounce it!). After some rangling with the taxi drivers, they took me to what looked like an Ethiopian speakeasy. They asked me if I brought a water bottle (in hindsight this is telling). I had to pay extra for a bottle, which they filled with the sauce. Tej is a wine brewed out of water and honey. Think back to your english literature classes from high school (it was called Mead). Apparently there are no national brands, or even properly bottled brands. You simply show up to the place they brew it, and they fill up your bottle. Beacuse the bottle they gave me is leaking and doesn’t hold liquid, I have no idea how I’m going to get this stuff back on the plane. The last thing I want is to land in San Francisco and discover a backback full of clothes covered in honey.