A Travellerspoint blog

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)

Tiwi, Oman

sunny 93 °F

We've stopped for the day in the small town of Tiwi, having left Muscat this morning. We've been on a small coastal road for a while this afternoon which has been just beautiful and not much for other people. The big attraction near here is Wadi Shab which is a steep canyon with deep pools of water that help support vegetation such as palms, date trees, etc. We stopped and had brief look at it this afternoon but decided it is too hot to hike in the heat of the day so are going to stay here and tackle it in the morning. Apparently you can take a hike up the wadi to different pools with waterfalls and lush greenery along the way. A stark change from the miles of desert and craggy mountains.

We have yet to get our camping gear out as I have been feeling pretty rough. I have a nasty cold that just won't let loose so just haven't felt up to it. Hoping tomorrow or the next day as the beaches are starting to look pretty camp friendly!

Muscat was absolutely beautiful. Many traditional looking, white buildings instead of gawdy steel and glass modernity. Set up against the harbor as it is, we were really impressed. Oman in general seems to have retained a traditional sense about it. All the while the roads are excellent, services are very good and people seem to be very well off. You'd be hard pressed to find much in the way of litter anywhere.

We've done pretty well so far outside of taking several wrong turns in both Dubai and Muscat. Big cities are hard to navigate without getting taken down some rabbit hole you never wished for - just too many options I guess.

Kelsey is down at the beach right now fishing. It's anyone's guess what he might latch into! I think I will wander down there and supervise :)

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Posted by madpax 05:24 Archived in Oman Comments (4)

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