Muscat, Oman, City of the Sultan Qaboos Ruler of Oman
Frankincense statue from afar.
After the Glitz of Dubai this country is a welcome site. We love Muscat, Oman! This city was rated the #2 cleanest cities in the world behind Singapore. To drive a dirty car will get you pulled over and fined. A mountainous area is a backdrop for the sea. The Oman style is purposely low rise and traditional by choice and its a relief to us after the rich cities trying to out do each other in glitz and glamour. Unlike the last four stops the Omani people actually work for a living. Every car and van driver, shop owner, etc. is a resident. This is not the case in the UAE where every worker is imported and only stays if they are useful. At the Universities all lectures are held in English for the students. This former backwards country is now open and welcome. Sultan Qaboos (means confident) has done much for his people although he does spend a lot of money on his palaces and yachts. He is the current longest ruler of a middle eastern country but he is 76 years old and has cancer. He does not have children nor is he married so the heir apparent is one of three male cousins. Sultan Qaboos wrote a name on a secret piece of paper for his choice of cousins but the three are to work it out between themselves and only if they cannot is the paper to be opened.
We ran into the Sultan himself during our travels in Muscat!
Dolphins by the hundreds found at sea outside of the city.
Our day started out at 9:00 am with a trip billed as a dolphin watch and snorkel trip. Our boat was about 35' with twin 300 HP outboards with lots of seats but only eight of us from the ship. A few miles out to sea we spotted the dolphins and they were everywhere. Trying to get a picture of a dolphin jumping in front of you is like trying to catch a fly out of the air, not likely but we all tried. The ocean waters off of Oman were cool at 79 degrees but quite nice and refreshing as the air temps are hot. Only about 92 degrees today but in the summer our guide says it gets up to 52 degrees, Celsius and that is 125 degrees F. And its very humid. All men and women wear the traditional full skirt robes so I'm sure they get warm. The snorkel was not much but the swim was nice. After the snorkel we took a wonderful cruise down the coast and saw all sorts of sights like the Royal Palace from both sides, hotels, rock features, very nice. After back on the ship for lunch then shuttle to the Souk (market) where we stocked up on some traditional clothing for Paul & Bill for Arab night on the ship. Won't that be fun? Oliver at the bar on five served a few to many drinks to some of us. On to Salalah, Oman after a day at sea tomorrow and then the Pirate thing gets more serious after Salalah.
Rock opening that our tour boat went right through
The Royal Palace
Fort next to the Palace
Back of the Palace
Parliament Building although it's only advisory and the Sultan makes ALL the decisions.
The huge yacht on the left is the Royal Yacht so what's the big one on the right? When Sultan Qaboos travels on his yacht the other one follows behind to house his staff and supplies. Sultan's Go In Style!