For those who are first time visitors to my blog home, We live in Arabian Ranches in Dubai. However, being a travel bug all these years, its strange that I have not logged anything about the many travels that we have made in the past.
Well, let me start with the most recent one.
We celebrated Eid Ul Adha or the Celebration of Sacrifise this Friday. More than 3 million muslims gathered in Mecca to commemorate the journey and sacrifise that Prophet Abraham PBUH was ready to make, when tested by Allah swt. Strangly enough, almost all the rituals in Hajj are in rememberance of Prophet Abraham PBUH (peace and blessings be upon him) and not Prophet Mohammed. Needless to say, Prophet Mohammed PBUH himself comes from the same genetic tree as that of Prophet Abraham PBUH.
That is when we muslims, around the globe, celebrate Eid. Muslims have only two occasions of celebration ~ one being Eid ul Fitr and the other being Eid ul Adha.
Eid ul Fitr is celebrated after the holy month of Ramadhan. After we have completed the 3o fasts of the month of Ramadhan. And Eid Ul Adha is celebrated in the Islamic month of ZilHaj, when muslims perform Hajj.
This year, we decided to make the animal sacrifise in Aligarh instead of here in Dubai, as we would have, otherwise. So after the second day of Eid, Sam decided to take us to Muscat. Although nothing was planned ~ we have done plenty of road trips to Oman in the past, however, ever since Sam’s surgery, this was our first trip. My Yukon truck was in good condition and the boys were super excieted coz they had not been out since our trip to Turkey.
Oman has three borders with U.A.E. We have the Hatta border, the Buraimi border in Al Ain and the border which is further ahead of Ras Al Khaimah, on the way to Khasab. We used the Hatta border to enter Oman and surprisingly there was’nt a huge traffic. The Muscat Expressway Route 1 takes you all the way to Muscat. Nearly 400 kms of travelling absolutely straight. Some of the major cities enroute are Sohar, Saham, Barka, and Seeb. It took us nearly 4 hours to reach Muscat.
Sadly Dubai is not blessed with many mountains but is layered with sandy dunes while Oman has fewer dunes but for the most of it, they are almost completly sourrounded by the Hajjar mountain range, gorgeous blue beaches and numerous Wadi’s. These dark roughed mountains against the beautiful blue oceans are ~ absolutely breathtaking.
The picture underneath is in stark contrast ~ An deserted fisherman’s home on the right and one of the more contemporary villas on the left. Also underneath are pictures of a well, that we came across on our way to Yiti beach.
In this trip we stayed for 3 nights at the Muscat Dunes Hotel. A new hotel with studios, one and two bedroom suites. Although it is always adviceable to book in advance, having been to Muscat umpteen number of times, we decided to take a risk and luckily, we got the rooms totally by fluke since they had a couple of no shows ~ The hotel itself was excellent. Very efficient service, very large rooms with kitchen, kettle, iron stand AND WASHING MACHINE !!!! Yes, you read right, Washing machine !!! I was totally blown away by the comfort in the room. The pool was simple but good sized ~ We had to virtually drag the boys out of the pool every morning. Our room rate included breakfast which was a sumptous continental buffet.
Ofcourse on the first day we visited Yitti/Yiti beach and so enjoyed the landscape, swimming in the beach, collecting sea shells, playing in the sand etc.
The little hill popping out of the sea was a real treat. During low tide, you can actually picnic there. However come hightide and we have a totally different story to tell. Our little beach was happily sourrounded with crabs and slugs ! None of whom seemed to bother us. Its a totally family beach and less popular than the city beaches.
Yitti beach bought back many memories of a time 7-8 years back, when we had visited this same beach and our four wheel got stuck just when it was about to turn dark and the tide started to rise !!! Those days, this was an isolated place with only a tiny fishermen village at a far distance. Sam was getting so frustrated with the truck just digging deeper in the sand and perhaps what irritated him more, was that I was video shooting the whole episode !! Out of the blue, a land cruiser spotted us and two local boys in their kandooras (white long dress) popped out and most graciously toed the car out. We had the Suburban those days, and although it was a HUGE truck, the boys took total control of the cars and manoevered the sticky situation. All my tiny boys were strapped up in their car seats, oblivious of what was going on. These boys even asked us to follow them out till city limits since there were no street lights and the road just kept on twirling for miles. Such is the hospitality and generousity of true muslims !! I know in my heart, that day Allah swt sent these angels to get us out of the mess. My boys were just around 2,3 and 5 then !!!
And today we were there again ! But things have changed. More people visit these beaches and it didnt seem so secluded anymore and yes there are lights on the road !
Oman is alot like Dubai. However the pace of life in Oman is still relaxed and not exhaustive unlike Dubai. Oman has been blessed with super amazing topography ! Its a tourist paradise in terms of landscape. This year, we were so pleased to see the brilliant network of road system the Government has established. Its made travelling so much more easier, convienient and less time-consuming. However, I just wished they had a more efficient road mapping system. The road signs are not exactly tourist-friendly.
What really made the stay further enjoyable were :-
- Good network of roads
- 24 hours convieniently placed fuel stations with food marts (and yes, fuel is cheaper than Dubai )
- All the regular fast food joints like Hardees, Mcdonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut and Pizza Inn.
- In addition to these food outlets, they also had Al Safadi and Automatic restaurant also !
- Ofcourse, the presence of Lu Lu Hypermarket and Carrefour make life so much easier !
- Although Arabic and swahili is spoken commonly, most locals speak English.
So that was our first day in Muscat ~ well spent on two different beaches and long drives ! We had shawarma ~ which is probably the most consumed “meal” in the Gulf. We seemed to have some dark clouds which bought so many hopes of some showers !
We turned in early since we had to leave early the next day for Wadi Bani Khalid.
I’ll continue about Day 2 in my next post.
I’d like to join the following parties to share this trip with them :-
I hope you found this post informative and interesting. Where ever you may be living, Oman is surely a place worth a visit. You’ll be surprised how much it has to offer !
Have a beautiful day !