A Travellerspoint blog

Du bye bye

sunny 80 °F

Our flight doesn't leave until 2am Sunday morning so we stayed in our hotel room until the last possible minute today and then took the metro train downtown to see the infamous Dubai Mall. We had great intentions of taking in the aquarium and walking around a bit but the reality is that we walked in and became so completey overwhelmed that we found the nearest exit and got the hell out of there. It wasn't just that it was busy, it was just the sheer size of the thing. Perhaps some people's idea of good fun but it seemed really obscene and over the top. But I guess that is the point.

It was kind of fun to walk along the front entrance where some of the higher end cars that had been valet parked were. Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Rolls, Bentleys, etc. We walked down the street to a corner cafe that had outdoor seating and just watched traffic for a while. There wasn't a cycle of the stop light that went by that we didn't see some outrageous looking supercar being rodded down the street. With the pristine boulevard, manicured greenery and amazing buildings it felt like a movie set.

We were going to go up in the Burj Khalifa (tallest building in the world) until we found out we would have to go back into the mall to buy the tickets. That was NOT going to happen so we admired it by walking around and looking way, way up. We were at least a block away when I took this picture and still couldn't get the whole thing in the frame.

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We are at the airport now and still have two hours before they will even allow us to check in. Then another three hours before our flight leaves. It's going to be a long couple of days getting home but looking forward to seeing the kiddos and thankful for the experiences we have had on this trip.

Posted by madpax 09:07 Archived in Oman Comments (1)

Back in the UAE

sunny

Leaving Salalah, we took the interior road and whoever wrote that it was the most uninteresting drive on the planet was right. It took 9 hours of non-stop driving to reach Nizwa. Nine hours of flat, windy desert. Nothing to look at other than the occasional small village.

From Nizwa we poked around the mountains to the northwest - driving up to the "Grand Canyon of Oman" and walking around a small heritage village called Misfat. That night we camped in a dry wadi somewhere around Bat and their elusive beehive tombs. It was really beautiful, surrounded by rocky monolith mountains. Probably one of the quietest places we've been in a long time.

We crossed the border back into the UAE yesterday afternoon and stayed the night just north of the crossing in Fujairah. This morning we will pack up and head to Dubai which looks to only be a couple of hours away. We desperately need to find a car wash before we turn our rental back in.....it is a mess both inside and out.

Our flight leaves very late on Saturday night - looking forward to seeing the kiddos. Will post photos once we get home and have a chance to download them all. Love to you all.

Posted by madpax 19:46 Archived in Oman Comments (2)

Headed North

sunny 85 °F

Spent the day exploring a bit around Salalah. We drove southwest of town toward the Yemeni border just past Mughsail to see some of the most beautiful, secluded beaches we have ever seen. The sand was like powder and the water bright turquoise - picture perfect really. Then you look back inland and see the sheer cliffs and barren land knowing the Empty Quarter is just beyond - such contrasts! The road getting out there was pretty fun...the sealed portion leading to Mughsail crossed an enormous wadi with cliffs 1000 meters high so the road was a long set of very steep switchbacks leading in and out of it. Once past Mugsail we turned off the sealed road and onto a rough gravel road for 6km of more steep switchbacks leading down to the perfect beaches I mentioned. Really worth the few hours it took to explore and didn't see another person save for a lone camel herder.

Went to the Frankincense Soug (thank you Bob for directions!) and had lunch at a traditional Omani restaurant where we had to wash our feet in the sink before eating and seating was on rugs arranged around a small private room. I wish I had a picture of Kelsey hoisting his foot up to the sink for a good washing. Finding traditional Omani food is harder than it sounds as most restaurants here serve primarily Indian cuisine. Never would have guessed it.

Not much to report on the fishing front (or camping for that matter) as the wind has been pretty terrific the last few days. The are having big sand storms north of here which makes going out in a boat (which we had hoped to do) not possible. Or at least not a very good idea anyway.

Kelsey has gotten my cold so it is his turn to not feel very well. Hopefully it won't last long. We are leaving early in the morning to head back north. We are taking the interior road this time which is said to be one of the most uninteresting drives on the planet so will have to stock up on Mt. Dew (they love that stuff here). If we are lucky we hope to make Nizwa tomorrow night - there are a few sights in and around there that we may try to see.

Haven't been able to talk with the kids since entering Oman (only text works) as the government has blocked FaceTime and Skype. Apparently Omantel is the only phone carrier in the country so has a monopoly on communications. I am going to keep my opinion about that whole thing to myself.

Hope everyone is doing well and thanks again for keeping tabs on us. We love reading your comments :)

Posted by madpax 07:08 Archived in Oman Comments (10)

Salalah, Oman

sunny 90 °F

Masirah Island was worth the trip even though the wind was just shy of gale force. There is a good road that circles around the perimeter of the island with dirt tracks that shoot off in all directions, either up into the interior or down to the sandy beaches. Fishing is obviously the main source of living for most people and tourism seems pretty undeveloped. The main town of Hilf in the north (where the ferry is based) is really the only place on the island to buy supplies of any kind. We ended up camping in a beautiful sandy cove with big black rocks on either side of us, and thousands of feisty ghost crabs all about. The stars were as bright and plentiful as I've seen in a very long time.

We left took the ferry back to the mainland and headed south along the "coastal" highway. This term is used lightly when referencing the bit between Muhut and Shalim which is where we stopped for the night last night. It was a very long day of desolate flatness and the coast was not within our sight. Even the goat/camel sightings became far and few between. We had a gallon of Mountain Dew and a Kit Kat each for breakfast/lunch so that kept us alert.

We managed to find a room in Shalim which we considered ourselves very lucky as we hadn't seen any rooms all day and Shalim is a very small little town. Had a huge dinner of chicken, rice, spicy dal and some raw veggies. Slept really well after that day!

Woke up this morning and embarked on what has so far, been one of the most beautiful drives we've even seen. Starting in Shuwaymiyyah the road hugs the coast but climbs steeply up and down through huge wadis (canyons). The road appears to be brand new but there isn't hardly a soul on it. We drove for two hours and encountered two vehicles. Stopped in a village called Hadbaran to boil some water for coffee and Kelsey to fish off a jetty that was calling his name.

Just arrived about an hour ago in Salalah and planning to stay for a couple of days after doing a lot of driving. Hoping to get some laundry done and check out one of the souqs tomorrow. Bob - you probably know your way around Salalah....where is the best souq?

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Posted by madpax 04:13 Archived in Oman Comments (2)

Masirah Island, Oman

sunny 90 °F

We arrived on Masirah Island yesterday afternoon after a stroke of good luck having rocked right up to the car ferry just minutes before it left. There was a truck in front of us who turned out to be too big to fit on in the last available space so they took us instead. Otherwise the next sailing is when they fill the boat up so hard telling how long you need to wait.

Drove yesterday through Sur and south along the eastern edge of the Wahabi Sand Dunes. Lots of small, shanty type fishing villages along the coast there so imagine the fishing must be good. Bob - you were right about the road changing! Didn't manage to get the hike of Wadi Shab in as I still wasn't feeling so good. Feel like I may have turned a corner today though (I hope!).

Getting ready to go into the village to get some firewood and bait and then will be camping at the southern tip of the island for the next couple of days. We got some great information about where to fish, where to camp, etc. from a really nice young man at the restaurant last night. He is actually from Goa and works here most of the year. He goes home during the month of Ramadan as everything here is closed during that time. Nice kid.

Won't have access to wifi for a couple days but will post again when we do. Thanks for all the comments and sending our love to you all!

Posted by madpax 20:25 Archived in Oman Comments (4)

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