Oh man, oh man, oh, David and I are going to Oman tomorrow.
The country is exquisite, as reported by everyone who visits. Allan went last spring for a long weekend and to reenter the U.A.E. on a new visitor’s visa–and that’s exactly why David and are going. My job should begin in mid-October at which time we’ll get resident visas (Allan now has one), but my current visa is on the verge of expiring as is David’s. Expats here often do this “visa run” by taking short flights to Muscat.
I’m actually glad my work was delayed because it has given me time to get oriented in Abu Dhabi. I don’t think I could have managed a new country and new job in one fell swoop. And now I have the privilege of taking my son to the Sultanate of Oman for fun while Allan jets of to the Kingdom of Thailand for work.
Oman sits on the Arabian Sea which flows into the Indian Ocean and is said to have some of the best snorkeling and SCUBA diving in the world. The country is also famed for its abundance of Frankincense and Myrrh, as well as its stunning coastline, jagged cliffs and sweeping desert dunes.
The Omanis ruled the Sultanate of Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania, in the late 17th century. I never made it to Zanzibar when I lived in East Africa, so I am particularly eager to satiate my interest in the Sultanate state, which simply means “ruled by a Sultan.”
Oman is much more than a “visa run” kind of place and it is starting to make the lists of great, yet still untouched, travel spots. My go-to guide book, Lonely Planet, says that “Bedouin values remain at the heart of an Omani welcome. With an abundance of natural beauty…Oman is the obvious choice for those seeking out the modern face of Arabia while wanting still to sense its ancient soul.”
A journalist for The Guardian reported that Oman “is wild country, a place where the British army fought a forgotten war against communism in the 1970s…Its people are the Jebali, hardy, semi-nomadic camel-herders whose mother tongue is not Arabic but an ancient South Arabian language related to that once spoken by the Queen of Sheba.”
David and I have a lot of history and sun to soak in before we return to Abu Dhabi on Monday. Extremly high on our list is a dhow cruise into the stunning blue-green seas to see the “fjords” of Khor Sham.
Oman isn’t known for having reliable internet service, so we may be delayed in sharing accounts and pictures of our visit. Instead of lodging in a fancy resort, we’ve decided on taking a simple room in a seaside villa. I want to stay in character with the peaceful haven of Muscat, a city whose name means “safe anchorage.”
LawreNance of Arabia