Hot! Damn Hot!

Trip Start Oct 22, 2005
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Oman  ,
Wednesday, July 12, 2006

We have found Dubai to be a little too commercial and a bit unfinished as it's basically a huge construction zone. Being so close to the Sultanate of Oman we decided to take the opportunity to see a little more of the Middle East and caught a bus across the border. The previous night in his dorm room Rick was chatting to an Egyptian gentleman about his family and where we had traveled. The man was helpful in giving us directions to the bus station as we had tried asking the hostel and they claimed to have no idea. Luckily Rick's new friend offered to give us a lift on his way to work, down at the docks repairing shipping containers.

Getting up bright and early we packed up, grabbed a quick breakfast and jumped into his car. During breakfast there was a bit of commotion with Rick's new friends getting yelled at in Arabic by the hostel's chef. Apparently the Egyptian was taking away the hostel's money by giving us a lift even though the hostel was less than helpful when we asked how to get to the bus station. Luckily we got out of there shortly after with no more problems. Strange. Only about ten minutes down the road we saw a bus with a couple of people standing next to it. Our new friend made sure it was the bus to Muscat by asking in Arabic and we quickly said our goodbyes, purchased a ticket and jumped on board. Leaving Dubai we drove through the desert and rocky hills, the surroundings reminding us of a quarry. At the border they performed the obligatory search of our bags and on the Oman side gave us a three week VISA. We didn't have to pay anything even though everything we've read said we'd have to. Unfortunately as its summer and the tourist low season the tourist office at the border was shut. Driving on the arid landscape lasted pretty much all the way through to the outskirts of Muscat, where we swapped to another local bus.

Arriving in Ruwi (we found out Muscat is really three interconnected towns - Ruwi where the business district is, Muscat where the government is and Muttrah located on the bay) we didn't really know where we were so many a helpful taxi driver was on hand to take us to the hotel with the largest commission. We were unable to find a hostel though we had heard there are some here, we just couldn't find them or any tourist information places. Jumping in one taxi we got some local currency and headed to Muttrah, evidently where the hotels are cheaper. After wandering around to all the local hotels we found the cheapest and grabbed a room. At this stage we were both exhausted and sweating profusely. Muscat is definitely the hottest place we've ever been. It's so hot and humid, but then what do you expect from the Middle East during summer hey?

The next day we had a huge sleep in to recharge the batteries before hitting the town. Outside the temperature was hot, damn hot! We walked along the Corniche, which sweeps along Muscat Bay towards Riyam Park and the watchtower that is shaped like an incense burner. Arriving at the park we had to climb the fence to hike to the top of the watchtower as it appeared to be closed for repairs. The views from the top were fantastic and it gave us the opportunity to relax and dry off in the sea breeze (at this stage we were dripping in sweat!). We then headed down to the beach were Megan cooled off her feet while being stared at by local boys. Continuing into town we passed the Muscat Gate Museum, closed for the midday break, as basically everything is closed between 1 to 4.30pm as it's so hot, and walked on to see both the Jalari and Mirani Forts. Grabbing some Indian for lunch and a large bottle of water we waited to cool off before getting a taxi in Ruwi to try and organise a tour into the desert. Finding the only tour place in town we decided that the tours we a little bit too expensive as they are a lot cheaper in Dubai and we'll do one there on our way back to the UK. In Ruwi there was a main town square and not much else to see so we headed back to Muttrah and the famous Muttrah Souq. Megan enjoyed the shopping and we had some dinner of a chicken sharwama and a beef pizza - yum!

One of the things we've noticed in Muscat is the extreme temperature and humidity. We've never experienced anything like it before. It's a concern sweating so much, drinking a couple of litres of water and still not having to go to the toilet for a pee! The culture is also a bit of a shock to the system. So far Megs has been hissed at once, ogled by boys and men many times and been the recipient of many a disapproving stare from old women. She has resorted to wearing one of Rick's long sleeved shirts and a long skirt but even that is not enough to keep the locals happy! Apart from that people are very friendly and always willing to help.
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bath mateus on

Wow it's nice posting, I like it.Adding more information it will be better....
Bathmate

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