About one month ago, my friends and I decided to take a break from our routine and leave Kuwait for a few days. Where to? Oman! Only 2 hours aways from us, the most precious pearl of the Middle East was opening its arms to a bunch of girls looking for some peace and quiet.
Oman’s history is fantastically rich. It’s one of oldest Arab states, if not the oldest. Their influence reached as far as Zanzibar (now part of Tanzania) over the 19th century. Today, and contrary to other GCC countries, Oman’s fortune does not rely only on oil but on tourism and trade of fish and agricultural products mainly.
But I know it’s not what you really want to read! What did we do during 4 days in Muscat, Oman?
Well, we relaxed, relaxed and… relaxed.
After taking our quarters at the Coral Muscat hotel for quite a reasonable price for a 2-bedroom apartment, we left early in the morning to go watch the dolphins a few kilometres away from the shores. An exhilarating experience at first, but the excessive number of boats chasing at the same time changed my overall perspective on it. The animals could not wander in peace and the noise must be a permanent nuisance for them. Even if I was happy to see dolphins from up-close, which was a sight I wanted to see for such a long time, I absolutely regret not realising how unethical it is. But it’s part of the tourism business and I can’t blame people for working hard.
Our other activities mainly consisted in finding the best places to eat and go out at night. It’s how we ended up at Trader Vic’s where a wild salsa party got everyone jumping and dancing on the dance-floor. Living in Kuwait, I was quite surprised by all these carefree people aligning the best salsa moves I have seen in a little while!
The following day, we landed at the Cave, a restaurant and bar complex with difference ambiances at each floor. I enjoyed a wonderful retro dance-hall / r’n’b / hip hop session while sipping on a yummy Caipirinha. I have to say, Oman knows how to receive guests!
What I really liked about Oman was the amazing landscape. There are no skyscrapers, no tall buildings to block the view… anywhere! Muscat is surrounded by mountains and it makes a real difference. Kuwait being a flat and dry surface, it was a welcomed change.
I am also very curious about Salalah. It’s the capital of the southern province of Dhofar. The scenery looks incredible from the pictures I have seen. Salalah is known for its hiking activities and beautiful greenery and waters. Summer being upon us, it won’t be my next destination, but maybe this September.
Oman has another distinctive sign: all of the taxi drivers over there are Omanis. If it might seem anecdotal to you, you must know that Oman has a 100% nationals employment policy. When, in other GCC countries most locals have the choice to work or not, Omanis are required to.
Oman is definitely a place I would like to visit again… and maybe live in. I completely fell head over heels for its landscapes and adorable people. One of my best memories since I moved here! If you ever get the chance to, do not hesitate to go visit, it’s absolutely worth the while.
- The khanjar is the traditional Omani dagger.
- You can still see the remnants of the fortress built between 1507 and 1650, when Muscat was taken by the Portuguese.
Photos are from Flickr. You can visit the original galleries here: