So, it was kind of on a whim, but I convinced two friends to take a day trip with me to Muscat, Oman during the recent holiday weekend. Actually, it was more like a friend and I decided on a Thursday that the following Friday, if we found a great deal on airfare, we’d fly to Oman for a twelve hour adventure! It wasn’t until the night before while I was having a little get together at my place in the Corniche Tower Ajman that we got another friend on board and the three of us headed off to Dubai International the next morning for our hour-long flight to MCT!
It was fairly easy to decide on a day trip instead of an overnight hotel stay, and quite cost efficient. We figured, why not fly in with enough time to eat, take a sightseeing tour of the city, and find something to do in the evening? That way when we got back to our respective homes at 2AM, at least we had all day Saturday to recuperate! And that’s exactly what we did. I researched a few places to eat and found out the Grand Hyatt Muscat has a fabulous “Beverly Hills” brunch with international cuisine, cocktails and DJ! We were really impressed by the tasty selections and I’d suggest checking out this blog, Andy In Oman, where I got my information if interested in a Muscat brunch one day while in town.
After brunch, we caught a taxi to a nearby location on the Sea of Oman where we waited for the red, double-decker Big Bus Tour to come around and pick us up for a bit of sightseeing (Side note: I love taking the Big Bus Tour in any city because they’re so informative and you really get the lay of the land). Because it was late in the afternoon when we left the Hyatt, we caught the last bus of the day, but had we gotten an earlier scheduled tour we could have taken advantage of the Hop On/Hop Off option. The two hour ride-and-listen-only option, however, was perfect for us because, with the weather being nice and breezy (albeit a hot breeze!) and the sunset unfolding over the course of the 10-stop ride, we really got a beautiful and peaceful mental snapshot of Muscat while sitting atop the bus. (Side note: Moving forward, I will try to take more tours at sunset, as the view is awesome!)
One of the best moments of the trip was when, at the end of the tour, my friend realized that she’d left her nice jacket sitting on a seat out by the Sea of Oman promenade where we’d been waiting for the bus almost three hours earlier. We convinced the driver to take us all the way back to the other side of town, which may have cost a small fortune if we’d gone by taxi. He dropped us off in the vicinity and the three of us hightailed it over to the area. Sure enough, her jacket was still sitting there, untouched! We attributed this small miracle to the Lord above, the nice people of Oman, and, well… honestly, nobody is stealing a long sleeved zip-up in the desert during summertime! 😀
Once we got the jacket back, we caught a taxi to the luxury Shangri-La Resort for dinner, which turned out to be another brunch. Since we were somewhat full from the first one, we only tasted some of the options, though everything was very nice. On the way, the taxi ride provided a spectacular view, one we didn’t have access to during the Big Bus Tour. The resort grounds are at the top of one of Muscat’s mountains overlooking the Sea of Oman. Taking this uphill drive at night with a speeding cabby blaring Bob Marley definitely upped the ante in the way of adventure. I loved every minute of it though I think my friends in the back were holding on for dear life! At one point, however, things got a little bit testy when he pulled over, close to the edge of a dark slope, and insisted that we get out and take in the view. This was somewhat alarming, considering we were three ladies in the middle of a dark Middle Eastern mountain (sans simcard/cellphone access to the rest of the world) just trying to get to dinner, and our driver is eagerly insisting we “get out and look at the beautiful view.” I recall thinking, “Okay…. If SOMETHING is about to go down, WE NEED A PLAN OF ESCAPE!” ….I’ve never scaled the side of a mountain before, and probably didn’t have the equipment with me to do so in that moment, but every possible escape plan of action crossed my mind! 😀 By the grace of God, though, he really DID only want to show us the view! He even pulled the car up facing the rail directly and flipped on the high beams in a futile attempt to illuminate the view for us. Then he turned up Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds, and grinned, “Don’t worry!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
When we all got back into the car, still facing the railing (on the other side of which made way for plummeting access to the sea!), I said, “Okay now, Mohammad… I need you to make sure the car is in REVERSE before you accelerate and start moving the vehicle!! We don’t need any mishaps on the other side of that rail!” He laughed and turned the music up! “…..Every little thing is gonna be alright!” he sang. And so, -DON’T WORRY- became the running theme of the trip!
Overall, I’m glad we got a chance to see a little bit of Oman, if only for the day. The land’s simple desert beauty and Arabian flare is similar to the UAE and Qatar, though the rolling hills and mountains along with the modest architecture seem to set it apart. I’m really glad we went and would recommend taking a trip to anyone in the region, if only for the day!