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My little trip to Oman

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:04 pm
by Klara
Waldos was asking about Oman on the other branch, so I thought I'd post a few pics.

First of all, I'm a single mother with a child, travelling on a budget and without a car. You could say I'm not your typical visitor to Oman, and most of you would probably do things differently, but we'd end up seeing the same places, so it doesn't really matter.

We started our trip with an easy beach day at Muscat's most famous beach, Qurum beach. We hadn't slept all night and we had to get used to the heat first anyway. It's a nice beach, as city beaches go.
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The next day, we went on a dolphin watching/snorkeling cruise from Marina Bandar Al Rowdha. We saw tons of dolphins (I've only got videos), but didn't manage to snorkel much due to poor visibility.
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We saw the coast around Muscat, though, which I enjoyed a lot. It's not the kind of coast I'm used to.
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Then we went to Muttrah, which is the touristy bit of Muscat. The souq's here, so it can get pretty busy with tourists.
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The next day we went to the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. I loved it. The architecture, the gardens, the grandeur of it. You have to cover up, though, so it gets hot.
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We took the bus to Sur later that day. Now all the buses I'd seen in Oman (which tourists don't use, for some reason) looked great, but the one we actually took was pretty bad. Still, it got us there an hour ahead of schedule, so can't complain.
We went to Sur for several reasons. One of them was the fact that several of the things we wanted to do were considerably cheaper to do from Sur than from Muscat.
This was our one star hotel. I didn't expect to pay as little €21 for a room in Oman, but there you have it.
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This is kind of a long story, but when I booked this hotel, I read quite a few reviews on booking.com because it just seemed too inexpensive. One of the people mentioned the hotel did tours, so I emailed the hotel through booking.com and asked about the tours, and they sent me a phone number and told me to whatsapp them. So for the next month or so I whatsapped with a guy from the hotel and we basically became friends. He was one of the tour guides and he helped me plan quite a few things. A guy was waiting for us at the bus station when we arrived and took us to the hotel, where my friend Nasser was waiting for us. It was all very sweet and we felt very welcome.
This was our room. It was super clean.
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The next morning we went to the local beach and walked around town for a bit.
Compared to Muscat, it was very very peaceful.
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Then Nessar took us to one of the wadis and to the desert.
Fist, we stopped at Sur castle. It's small and pretty.
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This is a pretty dry area, but you do see some greenery occasionally. This is sort of a suburb of Sur.
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The we went to Wadi Bani Khalid, a series of natural pools, basically. This is a pretty popular wadi, so we were not there alone, but it's easy to get away from people.
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Then we had lunch in the middle of nowhere (note to women: it's impossible to pay for your male Omani friend's lunch, so don't bother trying), and then went to Wahiba Sands. We were there roughly at sunset. It was very windy and just beautiful.
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This was when we got back from the sands, but basically, you park where the road ends and walk as long as you feel like it.
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The next day, Nessar arranged for Mohammed to take us to another wadi, and then back to Muscat.
This was Wadi Shab, possibly the most popular thing to do in Oman, so I wanted to be there early. Basically, there are three natural pools, and once you swim til the end of the third pool you enter a cave. My son is a shitty swimmer, so I wasn't sure how we were going to do this.
There's a bit of a hike before you get to the fist pool, though.
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We were the only people there because we were so early, which was great.
But a local guy who was with us on the little boat at the beginning of the wadi started following us, and then talked to us and said we could hike a bit further and get to the cave from the top, which I didn't know you could do. I didn't know who the guy was, but he clearly knew his way around the wadi, so I thought, why not. Because if we got to the cave from the top even my son could see it and that would be great. So we hiked together.
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After quite a bit of climbing, which we couldn't have possibly done without the guy, we finally got to a shallow pool above the cave.
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The guy knew my son was a bad swimmer and always kept an eye of him, which seemed odd. But also nice.
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We left my son in the shallow pool and went down to the cave, and I dived into it while it was still completely empty and it was just awesome. Absolutely amazing. This was my 41st birthday, by the way.
Then he made me swim into some tiny tiny caves under the big cave, and while it looked amazing, I started feeling a bit claustrophobic so I got out. We climbed up and then he took my son down to see the big cave.
I asked him to climb back up to where we left our stuff to get my phone so I could take a pic of the cave, but by the time he got back the first people had swum in from the third pool.
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The we all climbed back up and hiked down to the first pool for a swim.
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We didn't know what to do about the guy,though. When we got back to Mohammed, who was waiting for us at beginning of the wadi, I asked him if we were supposed to pay the guy, but he said no. I felt a bit guilty just leaving him at the boat, actually, also because he'd cupped my arse when he was trying to get me up a tricky bit of a rock wall, and I later accidentally saw his penis when we were climbing up something else, so I felt like we should probably get married. But later that night when I was whatsapping with Nessar again, it turned out he had called the boat people and told them to get us aguy who would take us to the cave and look after my son. Aw. So that's how the guy knew my kid was a shitty swimmer.

As I've mentioned in other threads, we were staying at ExPatFromHell's place in Muscat, which is one of the reasons I was even able to afford this trip. He's a very generous (not to mention good-looking) host and I'm very grateful he let us stay in his spare bedroom.
On Friday, he took us hiking to Jabel Shams, but first we stopped at Nizwa to see the Friday goat market. They sell sheep and cows as well, but mostly goats. It's a pretty big deal.
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*fans self*
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And then we went hiking. I met someone from my hometown at the beginning of the trail, by the way. Small world and all that.
The views are pretty exotic if you grew up in a super green place such as Slovenia.
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On our way back to Muscat we stopped at Nizwa again to see the fort.
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We flew back the following night, so we had an easy day of shopping for fridge magnets and relaxing at Qurum beach.
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Actually, this pic was taken at Sur beach, but I like it, so I'm gonna post it anyway.


So, all in all a great little trip.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:18 pm
by Jim-2012
Schöne Fotos, Klara.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:21 pm
by lolasf
Your son is so cute.

Also, I would love to swim in those pools, it looks amazing! I'm not very familiar with that kind of super hot dry weather, it would take some adjusting for sure.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:25 pm
by Klara
Oh you wouldn't find it super hot this time of the year at all! It was around 30 degrees most of the time. But it was like -10 when we left home, so we struggled with the huge difference for a bit.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:34 pm
by VinnyD
Very nice. A lot like Saudi except for the headgear and the pools. There are some small pools in the Saudi desert in the spring of most years, but nothing yu could swim in.

Your son is a good looking kid.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:50 pm
by Klara
Thank you. He's also a great travel companion.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:14 pm
by Annotated
VERY surprised you didn't get kidnapped and sold into slavery.

You lucked out this time.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:19 pm
by Klara
I'm 41! Who'd want a 41 year old slave?

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:22 pm
by Annotated
A-rabs are perverts. They'd fuck a 41-year-old camel.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:33 pm
by Stan In Maryland
Thanks for sharing. Great pictures. Look at this way, the boat guy got his pay, he saw you in your swimming suit and got to grab your ass. And he didn't have to turn any of that over to his wife.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:37 pm
by leela
That's a great trip report, Klara. And lovely stories of kind locals. I've really enjoyed the photos. Thanks for sharing.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:48 pm
by Bill Barilko
Well posted!

Did you buy a hat?

They're cool looking hats.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:09 pm
by Ledbetter
Great pics Klara! Is Nessar sniffing your garments?

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:03 am
by DCComic
Cool. Nice job. You and your son are lucky to have one another.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 3:38 am
by ExPat From Hell
Those are amazing photos. I can't believe the ones from the goat market turned out so well.

Klara is an amazing house guest. She brought me bottles of wine from Slovenia! And she is the first from this board I have hosted. A very very high bar she has set indeed. I am certain any future guests from this board will be judged accordingly...and found wanting.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 4:43 am
by cummy
klara: omg, what beautiful pictures! the pics definitely show what a wonderful time you and your son had. and what an amazing travel opportunity for him. i am a strong supporter of showing kids the world.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 5:55 am
by Lost Soul
Excellent trip report, Klara.

The terrain is somewhat similar to the northern Gulf of California, except for the mosques.

Could you buy a beer anywhere?

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:05 am
by Klara
If I liked beer I could have bought it at a couple of posh hotel bars or on the black market. I don't drink that much, so I didn't miss alcohol at all.
ExPat and I did have a couple of glasses of wine for my birthday, though.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:12 am
by Klara
ExPat From Hell wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 3:38 am
Those are amazing photos. I can't believe the ones from the goat market turned out so well.

Klara is an amazing house guest. She brought me bottles of wine from Slovenia! And she is the first from this board I have hosted. A very very high bar she has set indeed. I am certain any future guests from this board will be judged accordingly...and found wanting.
Thanks! We tried not to be in the way all the time.

I love the photos from Nizwa market! I have plenty more, but I didn't want to make certain posters too excited.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:14 am
by Klara
leela wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:37 pm
That's a great trip report, Klara. And lovely stories of kind locals. I've really enjoyed the photos. Thanks for sharing.
You're welcome.
I learned so much about Omani culture from those men.
Well, I'm still learning from Nessar. He's a very patient man, he answers all my silly questions.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:38 pm
by dBrother
Some nice places in Arabia, never would have known .
Excellent pics and trip report, glad you got off the beaten path and had a good trip..

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 2:11 pm
by Lincoln
Really excellent photos Klara...you have a talent for sure.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 4:33 pm
by Stephen_Dedalus
There is a film on Film 4 here tonight which I think is right up your street, should you ever get the chance to watch it

Wadjda

A 10 year old girl's intent to own her own bicycle, in Saudi Arabia

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 7:20 pm
by Chip_Oatley
Great pics!

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:38 pm
by rezuar
Great trip report and photos, Klara!

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:20 pm
by northern_goddess
Haha, I was going to say "Great trip report and pictures!" but I see rezuar beat me to it.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 2:07 pm
by polardude1
Nice trip.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:28 pm
by Klara
Thanks.

dBrother wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:38 pm
Some nice places in Arabia, never would have known .
Excellent pics and trip report, glad you got off the beaten path and had a good trip..
It's not particularly off the beaten path, mind. Tons of Europeans there, including Slovenes.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 8:17 pm
by Bill Barilko
She must have not bought a hat and is now avoiding the question altogether because she feels embarrassed and because she knows she should have.

If she ever does answer she'll tell us she and/or her son never wear hats or something equally silly.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:18 pm
by veronica_inheels
I love those pools! Was the water cool or warm?

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:08 pm
by Klara
They were probably a bit warmer than the rivers and lakes I'm used to in central Europe, but they were not warm as such so we still cooled down after hiking in the heat.
Bill Barilko wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 8:17 pm
She must have not bought a hat and is now avoiding the question altogether because she feels embarrassed and because she knows she should have.

If she ever does answer she'll tell us she and/or her son never wear hats or something equally silly.
I did not buy a hat, Bill. They look really really cool, but they look really really cool on Omanis. We'd just look silly in them.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 2:35 am
by Steve_in_Exile
Klara wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:04 pm
note to women: it's impossible to pay for your male Omani friend's lunch, so don't bother trying
It's just about equally hard for a male traveler to pay for anything in some Arab countries. Excellent trip and photos, mom! Awesome to see you take your kid on a trip like this.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 3:03 am
by Bill Barilko
Klara wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:08 pm
I did not buy a hat, Bill. They look really really cool, but they look really really cool on Omanis. We'd just look silly in them.
Ah Yes lest we forget Euro-Gravitas.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 4:12 am
by Klara
Would wearing an Omani hat count as cultural appropriation on your side of the Atlantic?

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 4:32 am
by Bill Barilko
Klara wrote:
Fri Mar 02, 2018 4:12 am
Would wearing an Omani hat count as cultural appropriation on your side of the Atlantic?
No just fun even cool-we like hats.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 5:05 am
by ExPat From Hell
Cultural appropriation in Oman.

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Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 5:35 am
by Klara
Haha great pic!

I wore my head scarf most of the time, but I wear it at home as well. I'd wear hats, but I think I look less ridiculous with a head scarf.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 5:37 am
by veronica_inheels
your tongue tells me you have health problems. spleen, stomach, damp heat issues.

let me repeat my question:

was the water cool or warm in those pools?

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 5:38 am
by veronica_inheels

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 5:54 am
by Klara
veronica_inheels wrote:
Fri Mar 02, 2018 5:37 am

let me repeat my question:

was the water cool or warm in those pools?

Klara wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:08 pm
They were probably a bit warmer than the rivers and lakes I'm used to in central Europe, but they were not warm as such so we still cooled down after hiking in the heat.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 6:15 am
by veronica_inheels
thank you

i didnt read the thread , just glanced at the photos.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 4:27 pm
by VinnyD
Probably a good idea, after you ask a question, to read the posts by the person you asked.

I was going to say what Steve said about paying for Arabs.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 5:32 pm
by Klara
The lunch incident was pretty funny, actually. We'd been in the car together for several hours that day, and I'd aksed him a million questions and he patiently answered all of them, and added his opinion on stupid rules they have etc.
But then when I tried to pay him lunch, we had this friendly yet passionate argument and I called him STUBBORN! and he said that I WAS A WOMAN! and that THEY HAD RULES! and I pointed out that HE HATED THEIR RULES! but he said IT DIDN'T MATTER IF HE HATED THEIR RULES!

Anyway, he now says I can pay him lunch next year.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 6:33 am
by cummy
i know where that tongue has been. oh, did i say that out loud?
ExPat From Hell wrote:
Fri Mar 02, 2018 5:05 am
Cultural appropriation in Oman.

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Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 1:31 am
by Scrubb
I love the pics and the report. Looks like a fantastic trip, and now I want to go there!

My goat hasn't arrived yet, BTW.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:48 pm
by DCComic
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05zmfkj
Watched this on TV last night - nice shots of rocky arid landscapes and some very pretty goats.
It didn't end well for the goats.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:27 pm
by 5waldos
Nice- now I want to go to Oman again. Looks like a great trip- thanks for the beautiful pictures.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:29 am
by Nines
Beautiful trip report, Klara. Thank you for sharing.

Send your boy to swim school. You won't regret it.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 6:16 am
by Klara
You're welcome, Nines.

He'd hate going to swim school, though. He'll get better at it in his own time. It's not like he can't swim, he's just not as good at it as he should be at his age.

Re: My little trip to Oman

Posted: Sun May 13, 2018 7:50 pm
by simon_in_exile
A bit late to the thread, but what a great report.
Those rocks shredded my shoes when I went hiking in Oman back in the day - it’s an amazing place.