Oman

Here is another entry from Dr. Kiracofe. Thank you!

The flight to Oman left Kuwat about 10:30, full to capacity, stopped in Dubai to let some passengers off and take on some more, arrived at Muscat, Oman at about 2:30 am.

The airport at Kuwait for those not flying first class is not a pleasant experience, for those in business or first class there are some very comfortable lounges. Economy class passengers may use them for a fee, about $25, full internet, elegant coffee service, and etc.

In Oman I was greeted as I got into the airport building, before passport check, by someone from the hotel who walked me through the visa process (for a fee of 45 euros) and made the whole process of arrival absolutely effortless, smooth as silk, perfect, and then whisked me away to the really beautiful and nearby Park Inn Hotel. It is new, only open for a few months, but very lovely and thoughtfully designed with warm, welcoming staff (even at 3:00 am…) Rooms are in a modern idiom, using teak wood and colorful fabrics in a way suggestive of a beach hotel, and we are not far from the beach, I can see the sea from my window. The hotel also boasts fine dining in a number of styles and has an attractive and enticing room service menu. I was delighted to find cold beer, wine and even some whiskey in the icebox. I will leave the whiskey alone, but a cold beer was most welcome, indeed!

Breakfast was one of the best ever in a hotel, and it is prepared in a modern luxe show kitchen visble behind the serving counter, all dishes carefully prepared and presented, very tasty… charming, attentive staff, right there with coffee, and what ever else one might want. My driver/guide was waiting for me when I came down stairs. He speaks perfect,and refined English, and knows all about the various statistics that one might want to know and about the history of all the buildings. Like many in the tourism business in this part of the world, he is from India. We visited the most interesting and photogenic fish market (especially busy on a Friday) the corniche, then on into “downtown” Muscat where the Palace is. Beautiful new big white Toyota land cruiser, spotlessly clean inside and out (there is a fine here for driving a dirty car).

It is really not a big city, more like a big town, charming and intentionally beautiful with flower beds blooming fragrantly everywhere. The whole place has a relaxed pace, people are friendly, don’t drive aggressively, are courteous to one another… in all a most pleasant introduction to a really fascinating and spectacular country, we went to a beach area where unusual rock formations run right into the sea, yellow golden colored stratified layers of stone at steep angle running into the blue, blue waves… the color of the water here is more a saphire or aquamarine blue in contrast to the more turquoise blue of the shallower Persian (Arabian) Gulf…

The company hosting my tour has an office here in the lobby of the hotel, so i will ask them if they can help work out a better connection for me to Riyadh. Gulf Air changed the time of my connecting flight in Bahrain so if I can’t make a change I will spend the day in the airport at Bahrain instead of seeing some interesting historic places in Riyadh… so I am going to work on arriving in Riyadh earlier either on another Gulf air flight or some other airline… will have to wait til Sunday which is like our Monday… fairly sure I can work something out…

This is such a pleasant place (this time of year) that there are many tourists, mostly from Europe. In front of the Sultan’s Palace here in Muscat (he has several, including one that floats, a huge yacht like an ocean liner) I heard a distinguished looking Omani guide, in traditional dress (incluiding a turban) giving a lecture in perfectly inflected German to an attentive group of German tourists of a certain age, some of whom were taking notes…

now for a nap on the roof terrace under a huge umbrella by the pool…

more of Barry’s adventures in Arabia soon,
best wishes,
b

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