Oh Man...Oman is really nice!

Trip Start Jun 25, 2006
Trip End Aug 01, 2007

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Flag of Oman  ,
Tuesday, September 26, 2006

He Said:

Like the UAE, Oman is very much an unknown to most Americans. Until we were planning for the trip neither of us knew much about it, and Katie couldn't find it on a map. It is a sultanate, meaning of course, that it is ruled by a Sultan. In ancient times it was the sole source of the highly prized frankincense (remember the gifts of the Three Wise Men) and a regional trading hub. I won't bore you with the litany occupations, colonizations by various foreign powers, and intermittent homegrown leaders that checker its past. When the current ruler, Sultan Qaboos took power in 1970 the poor, civil war torn, pariah that was Oman began to change dramatically. The Sultan took it upon himself to bring Oman into the modern world while still keeping its traditional roots intact. What has been attained in just a few decades I would consider nothing short of a Renaissance.

In the last two days here, I've been really impressed with how modern, clean, and friendly this country is. Far different than what I'd originally expected. We've yet to see any graffiti, roadside trash, or decrepit buildings. Most of the streets and sidewalks look clean enough to eat off of. We spent yesterday driving though the stunning desert mountains of northwestern Oman before finally arriving in Muscat. We are again using frequent guest points to stay at a Sheraton Hotel. This one has clean water and is absolutely spotless, but...it looks like it has not been updated since it was built in around 1970. It could very easily be used as a movie set for an Austin Powers film! I love it; Katie is a bit less enthusiastic. Anyway, we spent today driving around and seeing the sites of Muscat. Not a lot to see, but I'm regretting that we didn't plan on staying longer. There is supposed to be good SCUBA and the 4x4 off-road driving through desert canyons is supposed to be unbelievable! Anyway I have a feeling we will be back in Oman in the not too distant future.

So tomorrow we drive back to Dubai then on Thursday we fly to Mombasa, Kenya. Who knows what the Internet access will be like once we are in Africa, so I'll get the next update out as soon as we are able.

She Said:

Muscat matches the mental image of what I'd expected Casablanca to look like... rugged, rocky mountains right up to a teal blue ocean, pristine whitewashed buildings, extremely clean and modern streets, palm trees and landscaping everywhere, and interesting buildings with uniquely Arab architecture. In fact, this is the first truly modern Arab looking city we have been to on this entire journey around North Africa and the Middle East. Dubai did not feel like a Arab city, and we didn't think the cities in Morocco or Egypt really passed the "modern" test. It actually feels like a suburb of some California city, like outside LA or something, except with a Muslim culture (everyone here is driving fancy cars - BMWs, Mercedes - and it is illegal to drive a dirty car!). All the signs are in English, and we haven't encountered a single person that doesn't speak at least some English (even gas station attendants and Pizza Hut employees).

In addition to all of the modern infrastructure, there are many more women in the workforce here (but all seem to be in service jobs), which is quite different that our experiences in Morocco and Egypt. However, there is a rather strange policy that is worth mentioning and that bothered me for at least half of yesterday. If I wasn't with Todd, I would not have been let in the country! As a tourist, lone females, and females traveling together are not allowed to cross the land borders without a male. What is that about?? In fact, I was supposed to get a different stamp than Todd, but the passport control agent made a mistake and gave me the "male" one. Needless to say, his supervisor wasn't pleased, and maybe this is the start of the women's lib movement in Oman!
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bath mateus on

Wow it's nice posting, I like it.Adding more information it will be better....

Farah on

I'm Omani and study in Dubai

I drive alone or with a friend every weekend in and out muscat..never heard of that law! maybe ur mixing Oman with KSA!!

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