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Sunday, JANUARY 20, 2005

The Sultan of Swing



Oman is only an hour flight from Dubai and we made the trek on a little twenty seat twin engine plane. We left Dubai early on Thursday morning where it had been cold and raining and it was expected to rain for the whole weekend. Apparently Dubai has had a record amount of rain over the last month or two.

Oman was nice, very quiet though. It felt at times like Donna and I were the only tourists in the whole place, and even then it felt like a ghost town.

We arrived at about 9 in the morning in Oman, checked into the hotel then around midday went for a walk through the old part of Oman which was interesting. The houses are built around the mountains which are basically rock. We walked for about 4 hours and managed to see plenty
of old forts, the old back alleys of Oman, the entrance to a royal palace and the corniche. It seems these little lookouts/forts are all over the place and there are quite a few of the larger main forts. I am led to believe Oman has quite a bit of history.

During this walk, We were walking along a back road, I was searching for a museum that was supposed to be in the area, we saw a sign that indicated there was a museum up this path, not the one I was looking for but we thought we would have a look anyway. Half way up the path
was a guy standing overlooking the road and he was carrying an assault rifle. He was probably military police but its still a bit of a shock to see this sort of stuff.

Later on when we were near the palace and an old fort there were more soldiers standing around and they were quite friendly when we asked directions, even if they could not understand what we were saying.

We spent the next day down near the beach, we had a long lunch overlooking the water, really just relaxing and enjoying the break. Then that evening we went to an old souk that was crammed into the tiny alleyways in the old part of town.

We spent another day around the pool and just relaxing around the hotel.

On the last day we were flying out at 5:30, we needed to be at the airport by 3:30 and the hotel was about half an hour from the airport so ideally we should have left at around 3ish. I managed to book us onto a fishing charter that should have returned to the harbour around 2.

The day was a little choppy but we (there was Donna and myself, as well as a father and son from Turkey, and the boat captain and his manager) went out and fished amongst the Omani fishermen who just use hand lines. we took turns on the game rods at the back of the boat trawling for tuna. When it was my turn I managed to bring in two fish about 25kgs each. Donna did not get a chance to fish but enjoyed the day out on the water.

The fish are brought to the side of the boat and the guy whacks the fish with a stick and then instead of gaffing it they just crack it over the head two or three times with a lump of wood to kill it.

Because it was choppy they canceled the afternoon trip but because we were having a good time they were happy to just let us go for longer . We were among the tuna fishing with live bait and were hesitant to leave while they were still striking. Overall we caught 4 and had three or four misses.

We only got back to the harbour at 3:15 and had to run back to the hotel, grab the bags and head straight to the airport smelling of fish. We went through customs then got changed in the duty free area, a successfull holiday all round.

Beer of choice: Stella Artois

     
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