As we headed
nervousness was due to my ignorance, of course.
After coming in from visiting
was just so different from
The merchants were actually very friendly and not overly pushy. We ended up buying the traditional dress and hat worn by the men for Steve and Nikolas. Steve and the merchants were trying to convince me to buy the dress and scarves that the women wear to cover their bodies and their faces but I just refused. I truly respect their religion and their beliefs but I still have a little bit of a tough time understanding the way women are treated in this part of the world. It’s so amazing to look at these women as they walk around in the scorching heat with these layers of black material. Some have just their eyes exposed and when you look in their eyes you can really see how truly beautiful they are. They say that the women must stay covered in public so that they don’t tempt other men. Well, when I look at these women they looked very mysterious with just their beautiful eyes glancing out from under the veil.
to catch a cab and we asked him to take us to the actual city of
Steve decided to head out on his own to take some pictures and look for an
internet café. He had an interesting
experience and I will let him tell you the story. We were supposed to go back out after he came
back but I decided not to and unfortunately that’s it for our experience in
us, our friend Hala had made arrangements with a
driver she had met in
Hala went into the police station that was located right beside the gate and started asking them about the possibility of getting a van to drive us around. There were 10 of us and we wanted to travel all together. One of the police officers said that he had a relative with a van and he called him and said that he would be by to pick us up shortly. Well, the taxi drivers got wind of this little plan and were a tiny bit pissed off about the whole thing. You see, the police officer was taking their business away and this was not sitting well with these guys. Nikolas, me and Danika decided to wait in the police station because it had air conditioning and it was just scorching hot outside. We were able to witness the arguments as one by one the taxi drivers entered the station and started screaming at the police officers. We had no idea what they were saying but we were absolutely sure that they were not happy at all. Finally, the police officers decided enough was enough and starting handing out tickets. This certainly did the trick but you could tell these guys were furious. I was really concerned that they were going to block the road so the van couldn’t come and get us, but I was wrong. We piled into the van and off we went, exploring!
speaks Arabic so she was our interpreter.
Our driver was a wonderful man named Ackmad
(spelled phonetically). He said that he
would drive us up into the mountains where we would have a great view of
We got back in the van and he took us to the side of a mountain that was filled with caves. Just at the base of the caves was a beautiful lagoon. It looked so refreshing and there were two local men swimming, telling us that the water was perfect. Steve walked back to the van and changed into his swimsuit and was just about to jump in for a refreshing swim when we spotted this huge sign. It warned against swimming in the water due to the prescence of these snails and their feces have worms that can cause this very serious disease if they get in your skin. He certainly changed his mind and we quickly scrambled back into the van and drove away.
had gone to a fabulous restaurant in
We piled back
into the van and we made a quick stop at a souk. We bought some T-shirts because we are pretty
sure we will never be back to
back to the ship and made it with just five minutes to spare. This is a little too close for comfort
because if any crew member is even 30 seconds late they are punished by missing
the next 2-3 port days. That is they are
not allowed off the ship for the following 3 port days. Since most of the crew does this job solely
for the traveling, this is not something they take lightly. When we got back on time and the crew ran on
board we strolled through the tables set up with some of the local people. There was a group of musicians there and they
were playing some interesting instruments.
The most surprising being the bagpipes.
As I’d mentioned before we were traveling with a couple from
We got back on board and hopped in the shower and as we sat down for dinner we reflected back on our day and were so pleased that everything had turned out so wonderfully. Thanks to Hala and her expertise travel planning!
My side of the story:
Steve and Nikolas both told the story of the mayday call from the freighter. My side of the story explains my feelings and is completely more dramatic than theirs. I know, it’s hard to believe.
Well, we had just gotten ready for dinner and as we were walking to the restaurant the captain comes on and says that they are presently in contact with a freighter not far from us that have sent out a mayday call. He says that it has been difficult to understand what the problem is because their English is all but non-existent. He said that they sound very panicky and that we are going to slow down and stop and see if we can be of any assistance. Well, right away my heart starts beating faster and of course all these thoughts start going through my head. Is this just a plot to get us close to a ship before they blow it up? Are they pirates? Is it really a freighter? I start talking to one of the friends we have met on board, Bea, and she starts to talk about exactly what I am thinking about and of course we get each other all worked up. We head up to the Upper Deck and everyone is looking out the windows, trying to see this other ship. I see it quite a ways ahead of us and I see that it is turning around. Pretty soon it is turned right around and it is coming straight for us. Steve had gone back to the room to get the camera and I was standing there with the kids starting to really panic. The captain comes over the system again and calls for his Chief Officer to come to the bridge immediately. I was so petrified. There were a couple of crew from the casino at the window and I asked them if this is normal. They also looked a little worried and they agreed with me that it looked like the freighter was heading straight for us at a considerable speed. I started to grab the kids and was walking them to the back of the ship just in case. When I looked at the ship, to me it looked like it was on fire. I saw huge clouds of black smoke coming from the top. Later I realized it was just their normal exhaust. Steve told me that I was just being paranoid and he convinced me to come back to the restaurant and to try and relax. He took Nikolas with him and they both went outside to see what was happening. He came back and told us that our ship had lowered on of the life boats and just as he told us this the captain came back on and said exactly that. He stated that one of the crew on board the freighter was seriously injured and that we were sending our doctor and a few others to see if we could be of any assistance. I started to feel a lot better until the captain came on again with the unfortunate news that the crew member had succumbed to his injuries and that the doctor and life boat were on their way back. I felt very sad about this as I was thinking that a family will be contacted about this terrible accident and they will be receiving some horrible news. It made me feel embarrassed with myself that I was so worried about myself when someone was in serious need of some help. I talked to a lot of people afterwards and I wasn’t the only one that was very nervous. Unfortunately the events of 9/11 have put everyone on alert and I think we are all a little more suspicious than we use to be. I was also told that it’s the law of the sea to stop and help and that sounds quite logical to me.
Retrieved from http://www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations/middle_east/oman/
Salalah is about the only corner of Arabia
that catches the Indian summer monsoon, and it's also the best base for
exploring the villages and archaeological sites of southern
Full country name: Sultanate of
Area: 212,500 sq km
Population: 2.8 million
People: Arab, Asian, African, Baluchi
Language: Arabic, English, Persian
Religion: Ibadi Muslim (75%), Sunni Muslim, Shiite Muslim, Hindu
Head of State: Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said
GDP: US$18.6 billion
GDP per capita: US$7,900
Annual Growth: 1%
Major Industries: Oil, natural gas, agriculture, fishing
Major Trading Partners: